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Mittelalterliche Reiterschild, Der
by Jan Kohlmorgen

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This work is an outstanding book on two levels. It is divided into three parts: the first is a history of the shield, the second is a catalogue of the surviving medieval heater ("knightly") shields, and the third is a manual for building your own shield.

The first section is fairly straightforward. It is illustrated with numerous line drawings, and while it does not go into deep detail, it does have the important virtue of trying to cover the whole Western history of the shield. As for the drawings, do not worry - many of the images can be found in photographs on the Internet.

The second section is invaluable. It shows the gamut of designs for the medieval heater shield, in particular the strapping options (and a few enigmas in that category), with full color photos of the shields and statistics.

The third part is very valuable also. It is the longest and most detailed treatise I have seen on the subject of building shields; talking about forming the wood, covering the shield with parchment or cloth, making and applying gesso, and making and applying paint (egg tempera). It is well illustrated with photos of works in progress. The major subject he doesn't address is metalwork for bosses and the like, since the existing medieval heaters didn't have any.

Yes, this is in German. I thought it worthwhile to translate the whole thing myself, using schoolboy German and Babelfish and online German dictionaries. I still think it was a good investment of time. I strongly recommend anyone interested in shields to invest in this work.
—Updated Oct 18, 2006

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