Artifact of the Day


Arm defense (left)

Europe (1800s)

The vambrace consists of an upper cannon of two rotating halves riveted up the inner face overlapping toward the elbow, and twice laminated at the arched outer face. The opening for the arm is inwardly turned and roped, and fitted with a riveted modern leather tab for points. The opening at the bend of the arm below is deeply arched on both cannons. The edge of the cannon above is outwardly turned and plain; below is inwardly turned and roped. Both edges are bordered with a row of rivets on their mounts, perhaps for a group of overlapping laminations to defend the joint. Both cannons are linked through a cowter of three riveted lames. The mainlame of this is of the one-piece, "closed-bracelet" type, riveted on the inner face, and with asymetrical lobes, those of the outer face being larger. The plate arches slightly above and below the elbow, which is bossed out as a rounded point. The lamminations themselves deepen slightly towards mid-length. Riveted to the lower lame is the outer half of the lower cannon. Working on a single, protected hinge on the outer face, the cannon secures closed by a hole overlapping over a peg on the inner face. The slightly angled wrist-opening is finished with a roped, inward turn.

Extending down both faces of the cannons, and bordering the arm and cuff openings, the lobated periphery of the couter outer face are slightly embossed, gilded, and blackened etched bands. The primary motif is of overlapping trilobate scales which are alternately blackened on a stippled ground or gilded on a plain one. Both are filled with a mannerist treatment of foliate tendrils and topped by a flower on the gilded, and a cross-hatched ellipse on the blackened scales. The bands are formed by shallow recessed gilded bands filled with either candelabrum or undulating vine tendrils. On the outside of these bands is an edging of blackened and stippled trilobates. The inner face of the couter mainlame is decorated with shallow sunken stippled and gilded bands filled by an undulating foliate vine, and edged by a narrow plain blackened band. Centered on this face is a gilded triple-leaved motif emanating from a leaved swollen stalk on the elbow point. At the base of this stalk is a pair of addorsed leaved stalks with voluted terminals; the same decoration is found on the outer face of the point. The cannon openings at the bead of the arm are edged with the blackened lobates.