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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 16 Mar, 2008 9:38 am    Post subject: Date of the Churburg 13 harness?         Reply with quote

The Churburg #13 harness fascinates me. I know people consider it an odd duck and over-reproduced, but it's a beautiful example of late 14th century armour. I was curious about its date, though. Most sources list it as circa 1390 and ascribe it simply to one of the Vogts of Matsch. This is published in the 1929 Trapp/Mann catalogue and seems to have been followed in basically every publication I've seen since, including the most recent Churburg-themed book, Carlo Paggiarino's very recent photo documentary.

But, the Mario Scalini Churburg catalogue of the 1990s attributes this composite harness to Ulrich IV von Matsch and dates it (and by association the bascinet in the Royal Armouries which may have originally gone with some of the pieces now collectively called Churburg 13) to 1361-1370.

The 1390s dating is certainly more widespread, but is there any credence to the earlier date given by Scalini?

For reference, here's the harness:


Happy

ChadA

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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Sun 16 Mar, 2008 7:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Chad!

I'm a little skeptical on the 1370 date.

I also have some evidence to suggest that this particular type of segmented breastplate is not the outlier others have said it is.

The Vienna and Yale copies of the so-called 'Gladiatoria' fechtbuch illustrate a number of them, and this is c. 1430 (another reason I'd be leery of the 1370 dating). I was just talking to Wade Allen at the Baltimore show about the appearance of the those (and other interesting combinations of) armours.

All the best,

Christian

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Mar, 2008 11:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is dated earlier by medieval records of the counts picking up bits of armour.... the problem is they probably just list bascinet with visor or breastplate with little more detail as medieval accounts more often than not do. This appears to be why Scalini dated them so early, the helmet in particular. The artwork to me would indicate that 1380s-1390s would be closer to an early date and I am sure such armour was in use up till agincourt and beyond this by lesser men at arms. Armour can have a very long life span. Just look at the wisby COP's. Those could be from the early 14th possibly, especially the ones with heraldic emblems on them that were in the hands of commoners.

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Russ Thomas
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PostPosted: Mon 17 Mar, 2008 7:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

Personally, I cannot see that anything is any earlier than 1380. The whole harness is of course composite, so different dates apply. But 1380-90 would seem to be about right. The one item that I am unsure of is the legs . I wonder if they might be the earliest piece ? I know that some sources list them as late as 1420, but I would be inclined to think of them as a little earlier on account of their simplicity and relative crudeness.
I think that the dates that Mr. Scallini cites can be discounted..... just my own opinion ! But I have never heard of any other authority placing them any earlier than 1380. Maybe it was just a clerical error.......?

Regards,

Russ

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 17 Mar, 2008 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Thomas wrote:
I think that the dates that Mr. Scallini cites can be discounted..... just my own opinion ! But I have never heard of any other authority placing them any earlier than 1380. Maybe it was just a clerical error.......?

Regards,

Russ


Russ,
Thanks! I doubt it's a clerical error, as it's consistent throughout all the text and photo captions that discuss this harness. He even went so far as to attribute it to Ulrich IV and speculate that the 2 or more original harnesses whose components now make up #13 were made for certain events/honors in Ulrich's life (events that occurred in the 1360s).

What do we know about Scalini as an armour cataloguer?

Happy

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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Mon 17 Mar, 2008 7:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Having talked to a number of heavy hitters in the armour field over the years about the #13, it's clear that Scalini is pretty much off on his own when it comes to his conclusions about this harness. No one else I know agrees with him. Better to stick to Boccia's dating.
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Doug Strong




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Mar, 2008 8:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a general rule, Scalini dates everything earlier than anyone else does. This is most evident with his dating of the Churburg pieces.

Scalini says "more probably a suit of armour bordered in brass was commissioned in 1361 when Ulrich IV von Matsch was nominated Governor and Burgrave of the Tyrol, and a second around 1366, when he obtained by marriage the title of Count of Kirchberg, Later changed to Count of Matsch in definitive acknowledgement of his new social standing." (p.45) He goes on to suggest that these two purchases make up S13 and that the arms and gauntlets are from the 1366 (wedding) purchase and that the hearts on the arms (often described as "wolf's teeth") are an amatory connection.

He offers no hard evidence other than the fact that he was able to find a record of a purchase of armour with brass in 1361.

I've read the Italian (and German) versions of Scalini's text. He does not elaboarate in his native tongue.

Dr. Douglas W. Strong
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Mar, 2008 8:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Doug and James,
Thanks for the info. I didn't think the early date was the best one, but the idea was intriguing. Happy

Happy

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