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Jonathan Hodge




Location: East Tennessee
Joined: 18 Sep 2015

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 4:33 am    Post subject: Early Splinted Vambrace...Or Is It A Gambeson?         Reply with quote

Hello Folks,

I've run across an illumination in Manuscript Miniatures that is very intriguing. The attached image of the knight on the right shows what appears to be either a padded gambeson, or a very early splinted vambrace. The work itself is a Gospel lectionary from 1275-1300. The rest of the images in the lectionary (presumably by the same artist) show gambeson (with mittens) as bright colors (yellow and red to my eye). It appears that all of the illustrations who have mail have full sleeves and mittens
of mail (minus a few of the aforementioned gambesons) and one illumination features full sleeves with bare hands. In summary, nothing else within the illuminations approximate that forearm...and what appear to be gambesons with mittens are depicted in different colors. You can see the attached picture in question, and follow the link below to the rest of the manuscripts - 19 in total, most without mail. I have some of my own thoughts and interpretation on this, but would love to hear what others think.

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/search/?manuscript=5803



 Attachment: 143.09 KB
Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 7.38.22 AM.png

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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As it appears to be worn above a mail mitten, I will have to presume it is meant to represent some sort of Romano-Byzantine splinted vambrace. The King of Sodom statue at Rheims Cathedral shows similar defenses over the shin and upper arm.


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Rheims Abraham King Sodom (2).jpg


ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another possibility would be some sort of gamboissed or baleen reinforced cuff of the mitten.
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/5803/22428/

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Jonathan Hodge




Location: East Tennessee
Joined: 18 Sep 2015

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 5:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Mart,

It would appear that the spaulders-of-some-kind on the middle figure share some similarities with the King of Sodom statue as well. Im also wondering if the Phrygian helmet on the vambraced-character might also indicate some sort of foreign representation. It would seem that they were aware of splints, even before there use became more widespread 50 years or so later. The text is difficult to read, Id try to translate if I could make more sense of the script.
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