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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 487

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 7:35 pm    Post subject: On tassets on English Civil War Breastplates.         Reply with quote

https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/chiswick-auctions/catalogue-id-srchis10137/lot-dab3b9a9-0d28-48ba-8d4d-a4b500b57849?epik=0HZwREfIWH51y Did English Civil War era Pickman's tassets consists of large, non articulated tassets and if so... why? What would be of making so you have harder time bending or jogging and make look like something that allows you to bend or jog? I just find this a bit perplexing.
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Kevin TS




Location: Virginia
Joined: 01 Oct 2017

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 8:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi, I'm the guy you were talking to in youtube comments. I tracked down several museum examples, plus some Dutch drawings, so I think we can state with certainty that this is an authentic construction method:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/22730
https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-19414.html
https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-23256.html
https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-2603.html

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/544091198726897928/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/544091198726897912/

There are three reasons I can think of to have giant unarticulated tassets. The first is that armor in this period was intended to be bullet proof, and small articulated plates are both more likely to let a bullet through, and less effective at distributing the force of the shot. The second is that these tassets are worn much higher on the body than the tassets of previous centuries(Which usually hung from faulds, not directly attached to the breastplate), and so don't need as much flexibilty as tassets worn over the hip joints. Additionally, unlike knights, pikemen didn't need to ride in armor, further lessening the need for flexibilty in the abdomen. The third is cost. Pikemen were not high class soldiers, and the armor in question would have often been "munition" grade, so keeping costs down was a priority

As to why they decorated them to look articulated, it was probably just because that was the "look" expected of armor. Elements of design can often remain as aesthetic features after they lose their practicality.
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Geoffroy Gautier





Joined: 18 Nov 2009

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2018 3:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't own any, but this kind of pikeman armour is really my favorite. It's actually an excellent design: it's very easy to put on (and you don't need a squire), it provides excellent mobility, and very good protection. It's also relatively cheap to produce. Of course, these "tassets" don't hang from hip level, but from about waist level, and you still have all the upper body mobility you would have in more refined sorts of armour.

These large tassets are really designed to fit the protection a pikeman needs: they don't impede walking by weighting the legs, as they basically free float from the waist (so from the center of gravity), which is extremely important in a sort of warfare that starts to involve more and more large movements of troops over long distances (early modern era), they cover the front when the pikeman is square (while cavalry armour of the time often had a "groin cutout") , and they still cover the top of the thigh even when the pikeman is in a more turned position, with legs spread apart at a 90-120 angle, as they are when holding the pike to have a stronger anchorage. So this kind of armour and tasset really embodies the need and constraints of what pikeman/infantry duty implies during this era and for this type of warfare, including cost.

The japanese went a bit on the same road. Most their armour had two thigh "plates" (haidate) hanging from the waiste, but they were shorter and hanging lower, and the lower belly was covered (in the front) by a a sort of three "plate" fauld (kusazuri), attached to the breastplate (do), and also hanging from the waiste. If you fusion these thigh and fold plates, you get the pikeman's armour tassets, and it's not that much of a stretch, at least on foot. Samurai armour was also well adapted to horse riding, while pikeman armour is really a specialised, shieldless, walking infantry armour.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,247

PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2018 5:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, there are probably thousands of surviving examples of these, and many illustrations as well. They were common as dirt.

I've seen any number of repros, too, and own a set myself. Never heard of anyone having any mobility problems with them. I mean, they're not like wearing blue jeans, obviously! But they don't seem to be any significant problem.

Matthew
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 487

PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2018 7:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kevin TS wrote:
Hi, I'm the guy you were talking to in youtube comments. I tracked down several museum examples, plus some Dutch drawings, so I think we can state with certainty that this is an authentic construction method:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/22730
https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-19414.html
https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-23256.html
https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-2603.html

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/544091198726897928/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/544091198726897912/

There are three reasons I can think of to have giant unarticulated tassets. The first is that armor in this period was intended to be bullet proof, and small articulated plates are both more likely to let a bullet through, and less effective at distributing the force of the shot. The second is that these tassets are worn much higher on the body than the tassets of previous centuries(Which usually hung from faulds, not directly attached to the breastplate), and so don't need as much flexibilty as tassets worn over the hip joints. Additionally, unlike knights, pikemen didn't need to ride in armor, further lessening the need for flexibilty in the abdomen. The third is cost. Pikemen were not high class soldiers, and the armor in question would have often been "munition" grade, so keeping costs down was a priority

As to why they decorated them to look articulated, it was probably just because that was the "look" expected of armor. Elements of design can often remain as aesthetic features after they lose their practicality.

Thank you for the schooling. Happy Also, little ashamed of myself that I failed to think of those reasons for the tasset designs. They are so basic! I'm sorry for wasting ya'll s time, I found museum examples online about as soon as after posting that comment.
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