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Jascha G.





Joined: 26 Dec 2012

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 26 Dec, 2012 2:15 pm    Post subject: Asymmetrical armour?         Reply with quote

Hello.
I am an art student and currently learning the structure of different types of armour.
Whereas most armour is symmetrical it recently caught my eye that there are in fact some types, which are slightly asymmetrical. WTF?!
I think this might be due to the different use of each body side (e.g. one defensive side with a shield and one aggressive with a weapon). Another possibility, however, could be that each side shows various "layers" of armor or potential alternatives of the respective armour parts.

I attached two pictures. In the first one elbow and shoulder guards differ and in the second one only the shoulder guards do (plus this weird spike on the left side).

Could someone please point out the reason for this?

Sorry for my poor English Worried

Greets, Jascha



 Attachment: 228.56 KB
Differences:
- Elbow-guards
- Spike on the left
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 233.85 KB
Differences:
- Elbow-guards
- Shoulder-guards
[ Download ]
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F Hynd




Location: Bristol
Joined: 08 Oct 2011

Posts: 24

PostPosted: Wed 26 Dec, 2012 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jascha.

The asymmetry that you point out stems mainly from the use of a lance which would be tucked or couched into the armpit of the right arm and certainly in tournament jousts would strike the left hand side of your opponent. hence the smaller right hand pauldron and greater coverage on the left.

In your first reference pic I think the spike you refer to is a small peg used to lift the visor.

In your second reference you are correct in your conclusion about layers and alternative parts. This is referred to historically as a Garniture. In this case one of the armors of Henry VIII. Part 6 for example would be bolted onto the breastplate to provide considerably greater protection in the joust.

Hope that helps answer your question

Fraser
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Frode H




Location: Norway
Joined: 15 Jan 2012

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 26 Dec, 2012 3:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think perhaps the spike you are mentioning, are the spike on the breastplate in the first picture? Thats there to help hold the lance in place, sort of a peg. The jousting lances could be quite heavy.
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Jascha G.





Joined: 26 Dec 2012

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 26 Dec, 2012 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow thank you for the fast reply! Surprised

Was this kind of construction also used outside of the tournaments?
Maybe, for example, a warrior in combat holding a shield in his left hand wouldn't need as heavy arm protection as on the right since he is already protected by a shield?
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F Hynd




Location: Bristol
Joined: 08 Oct 2011

Posts: 24

PostPosted: Wed 26 Dec, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Where tournament armour tended to be heavier and more restrictive for jousting and to a lesser extent for the foot tourney. This was because the emphasis was on protection over comfort as the armour would only be worn for relatively short periods.

Field armour used in battle would tend to be lighter and more akin to the armour used in foot tournament. And where a tournament armour might only be worn for a couple of hours at a time a field harness might be worn for 6 or more hours so needed to be more comfortable over longer periods.

As far as armour and shields are concerned as plate armour develops more the shield drops out of use as the extra weight and encumberment is unnecessary. Certainly by the time of the armors you have attached shields would have been quite an uncommon sight as the armour its self and be used to block and deflect blows.

Hopefully thats clear but im shure other mebers will correct or fill in any holes in my knowedge.
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 26 Dec, 2012 4:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jascha G. wrote:
Maybe, for example, a warrior in combat holding a shield in his left hand wouldn't need as heavy arm protection as on the right since he is already protected by a shield?


during the period the armor you are looking at was used in, a shield would be both redundant (due to full plate armor) and encumbering (due to fighting style) The asymmetrical nature of cavalry armor is to facilitate using a lance and to reinforce the off hand side in lieu of a shield.

Your offhand side is also more likely to be struck in foot combat, so the left side of armor may also be thicker or more encompassing than the right, but not to the level of a harness set up for cavalry use
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James Anderson III




Location: Charles Town, WV
Joined: 23 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Dec, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The 'spike' on the left side you refer to is the lance rest. It would appear along with the asymmetrical armor for jousting with lances, and possibly for field combat while on horseback. They would have a pin that goes in them from the top to allow them to be removed for fighting on foot.

The Italian style armor in your second picture has reinforcing plates that can be attached to the left side of the body. As mentioned, generally speaking, right-handed people will prefer to strike to your left side. The Germans did not often style their armor the same way, and did not have separate reinforcing pieces for field armor (from what I have seen).

You can also see on the Italian armor (it is small) that the faulds (the strips below the breast plate) have hinges on the left side. The right side would have straps. This has been consistent on all of the Italian armor I have seen.

In the other picture you posted, the pieces in the top right are called 'garniture' pieces. These would sometimes be worn instead of other pieces - smaller pieces for fighting on foot / in battle, and large more protective pieces for jousting. They would allow the owner of the armor to "reuse" his armor for 2 different purposes without buying 2 whole sets of armor (which was very expensive). The artist has done a good job on the picture; if you look at his left elbow (his left, not left of the picture) you can see a small "hook", called a "sneck hook", that would open and attach the very large elbow plate from the top-right of the picture. The "bump" in the middle of the breastplate would fit right into the slot on the extra plate above too. The pictures on the left and bottom right show how the armor is assembled and what it looks like inside, but are not actually extra pieces.

Hope that helps!

Sable, a chevron between three lions statant Argent
Knight, Order of the Marshal
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Raman A




Location: United States
Joined: 25 Aug 2011

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu 27 Dec, 2012 10:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well your question has already been very adequately answered by the knowledgeable folks here, but I just wanted to clarify that the "lance rest" isn't for resting the lance on as the term would imply, its actually a "lance arrest" for "arresting" the movement of the lance. At impact the lance could be blown out of the persons hand, the lance rest was for transferring the energy of impact onto the whole of the knight's body rather than just his grip.

source:
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/aams/hd_aams.htm#details_b

I'd also like to point out that if you look closely almost every armor is slightly asymmetrical, even if its just the fact that the armor is hinged on the left and strapped on the right.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 27 Dec, 2012 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Raman A wrote:
Well your question has already been very adequately answered by the knowledgeable folks here, but I just wanted to clarify that the "lance rest" isn't for resting the lance on as the term would imply, its actually a "lance arrest" for "arresting" the movement of the lance.

Yep. The actual French term is arrêt, which means to "stop" or "arrest". If we called it a "lance stop", it would cause less confusion.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Mar, 2013 3:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:

The actual French term is arrêt, which means to "stop" or "arrest".


Hear hear! It is not a shelf for laying a lance on, it is a very important part of the shock absorbtion system. I recently heard a re-enactor say words to the effect that 'as armour got thicker and heavier due to the increasing use of guns then lances got heavier to compensate, hence the lance rests got bigger and stronger. All part of the arms race'.

Errr....

The ability to balance, perch, lock or rest your lance on the arret is secondary.

Quote:
If we called it a "lance stop", it would cause less confusion.


Or just call it an arret. After all we don't say 'thigh armour' when describing cuisses.
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David Gaál




Location: Hungary
Joined: 26 Mar 2011

Posts: 104

PostPosted: Thu 21 Mar, 2013 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As I can see the folks here have described the answer to your question very well. What I want to add about a-symmetry is the a-symmetry of fluting of some Maximilian style plate armour. The picture is from the book "Das Münchner Zeughaus". Before seeing this picture I have never thought that fluting has ever been made a-symmetric.


 Attachment: 61.92 KB
Symmetric and a-symmetric fluting 2.jpg


Dávid

http://energie-fenster.at/
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