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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Cuirasse breastplate for coments Reply to topic
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Fernando Viana




Location: PORTUGAL
Joined: 13 Aug 2007

Posts: 62

PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2009 7:50 am    Post subject: Cuirasse breastplate for coments         Reply with quote

Could you Gentlemen help me to identify what i have got here?
Seller dated it 16th century; wouldn't it be later?
It was tagged as European. I believe so; anyway, i have acquired it from a Spanish selling site.
Height: 35 cms.
Thickness: varying from 2 to 4 mm.
It appears to be a cavalry specimen, judging by that litte recess i the bottom, to fit the saddle ... is this a correct inferrement?
Comparing to the general specs. that i have observed in the Wallace collection catalogue, this is a rather heavy example, with its 4,4 Kgs (nearly 10 pounds).
I am a bit lost with the (missing rivets) holes. Could some be for the usual strapping to the backplate and (maybe) to the tassets ? But the holes i find more intriguing are a set of smaller ones on the left chest, however too low for holding a tilt shoulder (pauldron), i would say.
Could they be for some kind of decoration or indeed for some armour device?
One thing i have just read is that, apparently, Portuguese didn't make armour, instead imported it from Italy and Germany.
However Spaniards did. But if the seller tags this example as being European, could be because he has reasons to beleive this is not Spanish.
Amazing thing: While i was searching for info on these items, i have read that they used to be tested with a musket shot from a regulation distance, resulting that many surviving specimens still keep the mark of such shot.
I wonder if the dimple that is visible on the center of this example was a result of such test .
Your kind coments will be much welcome ... as also your tolerance for the ignorant way i am asking the questions; i know nothing about armour.

Fernando

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James Arlen Gillaspie
Industry Professional



Location: upstate NY
Joined: 10 Nov 2005

Posts: 527

PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2009 5:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The 17th century is not my period, but it looks pretty typical of the mid 17th century, roughly 1650, give or take a decade or so. I would think from the thicknesses and overall weight that it would have been proofed with a pistol, not a musket. As for its country of origin, I don't know enough to say for sure.
jamesarlen.com
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Reading list: 46 books

Posts: 936

PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2009 6:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

looks like strapping holes


here are some other examples.

http://www.3rdcuirassiers.org/uniform/images/...20XIII.jpg

http://www.geocities.com/ageraluon/breastplate/home.htm

http://www.clash-of-steel.org/gallery/pages/v..._number=19
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Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2009 6:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From the peascoding ( while it is diminished from say the 1570's it is not as totally residual as it would be by say 1640-50) i'd say it is from the earlier 17th century. We have one with very similar lines http://www.merctailor.com/originals.php?original_pk=82 , http://www.merctailor.com/originals.php?original_pk=81 . The post rivet on the right breast ( when looking at the pic ) and the empty matching rivet hole on the left breat which would also have had a post rivet were meant to engage with keyhole plates attached to the shoulder straps comming off the back plate to join the set over the shoulders. The single hole at the top of each shoulder is something our also has and given the presence of post rivets for attachement these upper holes were most likely added later to hold a wire to hang the piece on a wall for display in the 18th or 19th century. My breast plate did have tassets as evidenced by the four rivets with the remains of leather on the flange, the sets of holes on the either side of the lower abdomen of your breast plate remind me of a method of attaching tassets using large usually hinges, but i'm used to seeing this on later pikemens B&B plates, post 1650 so i'm not sure what to make of them.
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Fernando Viana




Location: PORTUGAL
Joined: 13 Aug 2007

Posts: 62

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jun, 2009 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all so much for your input.
Beautiful specimen you got there, Allan. I see your point about the upper holes having been made for its hanging on the wall; eventually i have used the same method myself. .
If i well iunderstand what a peascode is, i notice that, the one in my example is not so volumous, but not so residual either; only that such area has been damaged and the protuberance is not so visible.
So James, the country of origin is hard to establish, and yet this is one of the points i am more interest in finding. Further you say that due to its thickness and weight, this breastplate must have been tested with a pistol shot and not a musket one. Curiously, i have read somewhere that pistol shots were used for helmets, instead. Also i thought that this example's weight and thickness wss rather considerable, but i see that things are not as i first realized.
Thanks for the pictures, Chuck; nice examples of strapping applications.
Could we speculate on what forces this model was used ... Cavalry or Infantry (pikemen) ? no logic in the bottom center cavity being for matching with the saddle?
Concerning the holes in the left center ... no idea at all? Being only in one (left) side, and in such close to central position, i keep thinking these were for holding some part or insignia. Note that these holes did not penetrate the whole cuirass, but only the outer layer.
I would love to hear your further impressions.
Thanks.
Fernando

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Daniel Sullivan




Location: California
Joined: 02 Apr 2004
Likes: 9 pages

Posts: 204

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jun, 2009 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fernando,

Found your post interesting as I have a similar breastplate.

The holes above the flange are fastening holes for the tasset hinges (see Wallace A63 and A65). These and the weight are indications it was probably used for heavy cavalry.

Allan is correct about the holes at the shoulder locations, fastening straps would likely have two holes for rivets. Mine has very similar holes and obviously not original, they are a bit crude with a burrs and are too small in diameter to accomodate a rivet. As already pointed out the studs on the front are for the shoulder straps. The studs on mine are pierced which indicates that hooks were on the strap. If hooks are used; they are sometimes fastened to the plate itself.

Concerning the holes in the left breast area; just don't know. Maybe a fastening point for something when used as a display during 19th century. As you are aware a good many of breastplates were used this way. Good thing too, otherwise many of these pieces may not have survived.

Hard to speculate on the origion or the time of use, but given the means of strapping, shortened peascod, incised lines, and proof dent I would estimate about 1620-30.

Regards,
Dan
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Reading list: 46 books

Posts: 936

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jun, 2009 2:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

your welcome.

now I saw a painting yesterday showing a very low placed lance rest. I am currently trying to find the picture agian to show you. if I'm not mistaken it could fit the bill for a lefty.
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Fernando Viana




Location: PORTUGAL
Joined: 13 Aug 2007

Posts: 62

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jun, 2009 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Dan,
I duly noted your observations. Good thing to hear your guessing on its possible use. I will tag it as a cavalry piece.
Good sugestion, Chuck.
We never mind about lefties. Actualy i am, better say, i became a lefty myself, due to an ugly accident, but i keep only thinking about right handers.
It would be most interesting to watch that picture.
Fernando
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