“Mezza testa” (skull-cap)



Light steel cap of 1 piece, shaped as smooth, bowl-like defense which reaches to top of ears. Shaped with slightly more gentle shope on anterior half to brow. Basal edge is level & unturned, pierced over its length with close-set pairs of punched holes at spaced intervals in order to attach lining &/or cloth covering. At 1 end, skull is pierced with larger hole, apparently later, serving no functional purpose. Traces of dark red paint survives locally & seems to indicate that exterior was so covered at some point in past.

Curator's Comments

Rhodes archaeological find (WJK) This skull-cap is of general form found in Carpaccio's "Life of St. Ursula" cycle, painted 1490-1493. The defense is probably the type referred to as a 'mezza testa' ("half head") in a 1492 inventory preserved in Florence, now part of the Archivo mediceo avanti il Principato, file no. 165 in the State Archives of Florence. Compare to a deeper, marked example in the Armory, HAM 2590.


Walter J. Karcheski, Jr. and Thom Richardson, "The medieval armour from Rhodes" (Leeds and Worcester: The Royal Armouries Museum and Higgins Armory Museum, 2000), cat. no. 1.23.
Lionelle G. Boccia, Armi e Amature Lombarde (Milan: Electa Editrice, 1980?), fig. 79.
Mario Scallini, "The Weapons of Lorenzo de' Mediciā€¦, " Art, Arms and Armour, an International Anthology. Edited by Robert Held (Chiasso: Acquafesea(?) Edition, 1997), I: 18, 19, 22; fig. 10.


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