Artifact of the Day


Close helmet for the foot-tourney

Southern Germany (Augsburg) (about 1590)

One-piece SKULL with moderate-height comb, the sides of which are etched and gilded with foliation. On either side of the skull is an etched and gilded scrolling tendril. Embossed (or etched?) and gilded brass plume pipe riveted to the base of the comb. The plume holder looks good, but has arabesque rather than foliate decoration, which suggest the possibility that it is associated—potentially a working-life replacement.

There are 2 pairs of lacing holes on each side of the skull to secure a lining; these are fitted with gilt brass grommets cast in the form of rosettes (1 is missing on the left side). There is a hole for a crest at the apex.

VISOR with divided sights, and a deep UPPER BEVOR pierced on the right right with three rows of rectangular breaths. The visor is locked to the upper bevor with a spring catch fitted for a spring release. The upper bevor secures to the LOWER BEVOR with a sliding catch, released by a hatched, almond-shaped button. A spring catch secures the lower bevor to the skull, but this could be a modern alteration (there is some deformation in this area). Holes just above suggest a now-lost hook-and-eye closure. There are holes at the upper and lower R edges of the upper bevor aligning with holes on the lower bevor and visor, perhaps once used for securing screws.

There is a lost support for the upper bevor on the R side of the lower bevor; there is a brass-headed rivet here and the broken collar of the former support, with toothing on the upper bevor adjacent. The upper bevor has an empty hole for a similar support for the visor, again with adjacent toothing on the visor.

Riveted to the lower edge of the neck opening is a set of three COLLAR LAMES front and rear, locking together at the side edges via keyhole slots and turning pins. The bottom edges of the lowest lames are roped and gilded. The lames articulate on 3 leathers in front, in back with leathers at the sides and sliding rivets in the center. The collar lames look to be old and of good quality (the lower interior edges are admirably file-beveled), but could be associated. The lower flange of the skull and lower bevor show signs of having been turned downward to accommodate the collar lames.

There are possible traces of tournament damage to the crest of the skull and visor, and some denting of the skull at the forward L edge. There are possible traces of sword marks here, which would be the right target for a forehand blow from a right-handed opponent. There are traces of an erased double-line decoration on the upper and lower bevor. This could have been obliterated in cleaning up the surface from other similar marks, which are strikingly lacking on this surface.

The brass-headed rivets are modern.