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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 8:22 pm    Post subject: Bargello Gauntlet         Reply with quote

Hey folks,
I've long been fascinated by this gauntlet in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence.

The contrast between the gilding/brass and blackened surface is quite striking. Does anyone know how the blackening was achieved and whether it is original?

Also, is there a mate to this gauntlet (ie is this one of a pair)? It's fingerless now; was it made to be fingerless?



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Bargello Gaunt.jpg
Milan, circa 1370

Happy

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 8:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, what's that design around the cuff? Is it lettering?
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 8:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Bargello Gauntlet         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Hey folks,
I've long been fascinated by this gauntlet in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence.

The contrast between the gilding/brass and blackened surface is quite striking. Does anyone know how the blackening was achieved and whether it is original?

Also, is there a mate to this gauntlet (ie is this one of a pair)? It's fingerless now; was it made to be fingerless?


Hi Chad,

I don't know about the blackening, but I do know that they were not made to be fingerless. My gauntlets, seen here:

http://www.lightlink.com/armory/gauntlet.html

were designed after (but not a perfect copy of) this gauntlet. The small rivet hole you can just see on the upper corner of the original gauntlet is a rivet hole, and there's a matching one on the side you can't see in that photograph. This was used to rivet a thin strip of metal to the metacarpal plate (you can just barely see this strip on the gauntlet on the left in the photograph of my gauntlets), and the fingers were, in turn, riveted to this strip of metal.

This is a common, I'm tempted to say normal, procedure in this period. Some gauntlets, in fact, still have the strip but the fingers themselves (which are on leathers that easily rot or tear) fall off. Either way, there's no evidence for fingerless gauntlets.

Regards,
Hugh
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Also, what's that design around the cuff? Is it lettering?


Yes, it is, it's a biblical quote--from Luke, if I remember correctly.

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Hugh
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Bargello Gauntlet         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:
My gauntlets, seen here:

http://www.lightlink.com/armory/gauntlet.html


Hugh, those are beautiful.

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 10:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Hugh basically has said it all. Cannot really think of anything to add except I wanted to say those are some nice gauntlets Hugh.

I do have the cuff verse written down somewhere but could sadly not find it nor can I remember who told me what it said. Rob's website states it a verse from Luke which sounds right to me.

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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 11:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Bargello Gauntlet         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Hugh Knight wrote:
My gauntlets, seen here:

http://www.lightlink.com/armory/gauntlet.html


Hugh, those are beautiful.


Thanks, Nathan, I am quite in love with them myself. I have pretty much a full harness from Mac, and I love it all, but somehow these are just special.

Regards,
Hugh
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Sep, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
I think Hugh basically has said it all. Cannot really think of anything to add except I wanted to say those are some nice gauntlets Hugh.

I do have the cuff verse written down somewhere but could sadly not find it nor can I remember who told me what it said. Rob's website states it a verse from Luke which sounds right to me.

RPM


Hi Randall,

As I remember it, the quote is not just about religious connection, it's has "practical" intent; the quote, as I remember it, was something about "and passing through them without being hurt he went on his way" -- not a bad thought for armor, eh? I wanted something more amatory, so Marianne (Mac's wife) put "amor vincit omnia" on them for me.

Which reminds me of a joke: A friend of mine made a bascinet some years ago, and put brass all around the visor. He then etched it with the words "Close cover before striking" in Latin. Funniest damn thing I'd ever seen.

Regards,
Hugh
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Nathan Keysor




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Sep, 2008 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting pics of the original and the excellent reproductions. I'm particularly interested in the metacarpal plate as this seems to be left out of a lot of reproductions (including my attempts). The practical purpose is clear in that it protects the gap between the finger lames and the edge of the gauntlet. I'm curious if this is a regional variation. Perhaps some makers dealt with it a different way by curving the upper edge of the gauntlet in toward the fingers...? I suppose there are not enough surviving examples intact to accurately gauge some of these details. As mentioned above the fingers are usually missing and all that's left is the "bell" unfortunately for us.
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Sep, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Keysor wrote:
Very interesting pics of the original and the excellent reproductions. I'm particularly interested in the metacarpal plate as this seems to be left out of a lot of reproductions (including my attempts). The practical purpose is clear in that it protects the gap between the finger lames and the edge of the gauntlet. I'm curious if this is a regional variation. Perhaps some makers dealt with it a different way by curving the upper edge of the gauntlet in toward the fingers...? I suppose there are not enough surviving examples intact to accurately gauge some of these details. As mentioned above the fingers are usually missing and all that's left is the "bell" unfortunately for us.


Hi Nathan,

I'm no armorer, but as the maker, Robert MacPherson, explained it to me, that plate was almost always present in finger gauntlets of this type. You can tell this because even when the fingers don't survive the holes for the extra plate are still there.

The purpose of the plate isn't to protect a gap as you suggest: After all, even if the fingers connect directly to the gauntlet without the extra plate there won't be a gap. That plate is really about an interesting bit of human physiology: Mac pointed out to me that when you close your hand into a fist the radius of your fist is larger than the flat measurement of your hand. Thus, if you attached your fingers directly to the main part of the gauntlet and put it on the fingers wouldn't be long enough when you gripped a weapon, which will cause the leathers by which you attached the fingers to stretch out. When you add the extra plate it allows the fingers to move naturally.

Regards,
Hugh
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Sep, 2008 9:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh,

That sounds like the right verse. I remember it being something of a dual physical and spiritual meaning.

Funny idea and quote. I guess it is better than etching that says insert here next to the visor's eye slit. Why you do not want to upset the armourer.

Nathan,

I have gotten to look at about 3 hourglass gauntlets in the last few years in person and it seems that at least 1 did not have evidence of the holes that would accomidate that plate, I think the others did though. As Hugh said it is to keep the fingers moving properly and not put too much pressure on the leather finger tabs. One I looked at was fairly decomposed but the part at the bottom of the hand was in good enough condition to see it lacked any holes but a row of what i think were lining rivets. I have never thought about how common or uncommon it is before but one would have to look over more than three to know. Sorry I could not be of more help. I will have to look over the loads of pictures I have now and see interesting idea.

RPM
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Sep, 2008 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi all,

The quote, "Jesus autem transiens per medium illorum ibat", is from Luke IV: 30. It means "But Jesus, passing through the midst of them, went his way."

I like Hugh's idea that there's a double meaning here - not just the devotional one, but also the idea of the armour allowing one to pass unharmed. The only problem I'd see is that the phrase appears on some English coinage as well, a fact I just came upon today.

It apparently was a popular biblical quote in the late Middle Ages.

All the best,

Christian

PS. Yes Hugh, your gauntlets are righteous! Did you show those to me at Pennsic years ago?

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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Sep, 2008 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
Hi all,

The quote, "Jesus autem transiens per medium illorum ibat", is from Luke IV: 30. It means "But Jesus, passing through the midst of them, went his way."

I like Hugh's idea that there's a double meaning here - not just the devotional one, but also the idea of the armour allowing one to pass unharmed. The only problem I'd see is that the phrase appears on some English coinage as well, a fact I just came upon today.


You'd know more about this sort of thing than I, but I know many biblical excerpts were used as "incantations" (if that's the right word) in the middle ages; this seems particularly apropos even if the maker wasn't thinking of it that way (as I strongly suspect he was). I don't think the popularity of this passage on other items necessarily obviates that funtion, however.

Quote:
PS. Yes Hugh, your gauntlets are righteous! Did you show those to me at Pennsic years ago?


Thanks! Probably, I've been fighting hard in these gauntlets for the best part of 15 years (Mac has had to re-build them twice now) with everything from spear to sword to pollaxe, and I'm awfully proud of them so they get shown around a bit.

Truth to tell, I've wanted to sell them for years now so I could have Mac make me a spring steel pair (these were made before anyone was working in spring steel) to match the rest of the pieces he made me but somehow I've just never managed to get around to doing so...

Regards,
Hugh
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Sep, 2008 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Hugh,

Don't get me wrong - I think your theory makes sense. I just added in a proviso for the sake of playing devil's (or scholar's) advocate.

My next pair of hourglass is going to have to be spring too. Jeff Wasson's at work on legs for me right now, to match the arms and cuirass of his I bought this Pennsic. I imagine gauntlets from him will be next.

I probably shouldn't even ask this, first because because I can't afford them right now, and secondly, because our fingers are likely considerably different in length, but...how much would you sell your Mac gauntlets for, assuming you can bring yourself to part with them?

Back to the Bargello...I've heard it postulated that these actually belong with the #13 in Churburg. I'd think the blackening, not present on the #13, plus the commonness of the phrase, would argue against that.

All the best,

Christian

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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Sep, 2008 11:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
Don't get me wrong - I think your theory makes sense. I just added in a proviso for the sake of playing devil's (or scholar's) advocate.


And quite rightly, too.

Quote:
My next pair of hourglass is going to have to be spring too. Jeff Wasson's at work on legs for me right now, to match the arms and cuirass of his I bought this Pennsic. I imagine gauntlets from him will be next.

I probably shouldn't even ask this, first because because I can't afford them right now, and secondly, because our fingers are likely considerably different in length, but...how much would you sell your Mac gauntlets for, assuming you can bring yourself to part with them?


I think Jeff's work is coming along amazingly well. He's made some great pieces for friends of mine, and the stuff he made for his recent jousting event in San Diego was superb. I think it's great to have an armorer who actually fights in highly authentic reenactment combat as Jeff does (he's a member of the Company of St. Michael in addition to his jousting activities) will usually have a better idea of not just the form of the pieces but of their correct function as well--something that, in my experience, 99% of armorers just don't get. Jeff has a really amazing talent.

As for selling the gauntlets... Well, as I said, I just can't seem to get around to doing it, if you see what I'm saying. I really love them so much that I honestly think my plans to sell them are just pipe dreams. But you're right, having seen your hands, I don't think these would fit; my hands are extremely short and wide with short fingers. I've often joked that the only reason I'm still alive is that my gauntlets wouldn't fit most of my associates--and I've heard them say the same thing, except I'm not sure they're joking.

One neat thing I forgot to mention about them is that the cast brass pieces on the backs of the hands--not the borders, but the gadlings and strips from them ending in the acorn finials--are made of latten (a medieval alloy of brass). Mac actually smelt the latten himself according to some medieval recipe he found. He truly is a god.

Quote:
Back to the Bargello...I've heard it postulated that these actually belong with the #13 in Churburg. I'd think the blackening, not present on the #13, plus the commonness of the phrase, would argue against that.


I do know that Mac pretty firmly believes they go with Ch. 13.

Regards,
Hugh
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Sep, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Hugh,

The latten doesn't surprise me, given it's Mac. Wink

I agree on Jeff's work, which has steadily improved over the time his website has been active. I fought my first tournament in the cuirass and arms last Saturday and the arms are so lightweight that you're barely aware you're wearing them.

The lightness of the spring steel is of particular importance to me, given the seminars I travel for. Once I get the legs from him, I'll be able to travel with a full harness much better.

All the best,

Christian

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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2008 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Regarding the blackened surface, see my Pembridge helm post.
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