German Armor in the State Saint Petersburg Museum (Russia)

The State Hermitage Museum (Saint Petersburg, Russian federation) has one of the most beautiful collections of German armor in the world.  Many of these pieces carry their maker's mark such as 1) Jorg Siegman (Augsburg, Germany, 1556), 2) L. Helmschmidt (Augsburg, Germany, the end of 15th century), 3) Valentin Siebenbürger (Nuremberg, Germany, 1532), 4) Hans Tabeiler (Inssbruck, Austria, 1510-1515), 5) Matthäus Frauenpreiss Jr. (Augsburg, Germany, the second half of the 16th century), 6) Wilhelm Worms Jr. (Nuremberg, Germany, 1550-1560), 7) Martin Rotschmidt (Augsburg, Germany, 1560-1590), and 8) Anton Peffenhauser (Augsburg, Germany 1591). Some of these will be presented in the following:

GERMANY

A gilded shield with engraved surface made by Jorg Siegman in Augsburg (Germany) in 1556.

A German Gothic armor made in Augsburg by L. Helmschmidt by the end of the 15th century.

For a similar German Gothic armor from the latter part of the 15th century from the Metropolitan Museum of Art see Stone (1999, p. 27, figure 37.2), A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armour in all Countries and in all Times. Mineola: Dover Publications.

A Gothic armour made at the second half of the 15th century.  Stone (1999, p. 30) describes the Gothic armor in his book A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armour in all Countries and in all Times as:

"Complete armor of plate was in use at the beginning of the 15th century, and during the next hundred years reached its greatest perfection. This was the period of Gothic armor. . . .  Every detail was carefully studied and any change that increased efficiency was worked out with painstaking care.  It was for this purpose that the two sides were made quite unlike each other to adapt them to the different functions of the right, or sword arm, and those of the left, or bridle, arm.  The breastplate was made in two or more pieces overlapping in a long point and connected by straps or sliding rivets, thus giving a certain amount of flexibility.  The feet were covered with laminated solderets with long, pointed toes which could be removed when the wearer was on foot.  The shoulder and elbow cops were very large in order to guard the openings at the joints and the hands were covered by mitten gauntlets.  The thickness of the plates was regulated for th strains they would have to bear; not only did the different pieces vary but different parts of the same plate differed considerably in thickness".  

Armour made by Valentin Siebenbürger in Nuremberg (Germany) in 1532.

The works of the armorer Valentin Siebenbürger were recorded from the 1530s to the 1550s with commissions for the city of Nuremberg and several noble clients, including Emperor Charles V. A breastplate with lively and inventive etched decoration made by him is kept in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. The breastplate is the single best item from the Ellis Collection, which was donated to the Metropolitan Museum in 1896.

A full plate armor made probably by Valentin Siebenbürger or by Friedrich Schmidt in Nuremberg by mid 16th century.

A full suit of plate armor would have consisted of a helmet, a gorget (or bevor), pauldrons , besagews, rondels,couters, vambraces, gauntlets, a cuirass (back and breastplate) with a fauld, tassets and aculet, a mail skirt, cuisses, poleyns, greaves, and sabatons.

Puffed and slashed armour made by Hans Tabeiler, Innsbruck (Austria) in 1510-1515.

For a similar German armor from 1520 from the Metropolitan Museum of Art see Stone (1999, p. 31, figure 41), A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armour in all Countries and in all Times. Mineola: Dover Publications. Srone describes the armor as:

"Parade armor, German, about 1520. It is a marvelous example of forging and is probably the finest suit of its kind in existence. Metropolitan Museum".

But the example kept in the Stat Hermitage museum is not only as nice as the armor kept in the Metropolitcan Museum of Art but is also attributed to Hans Tabeiler.

A closed helmet made of steel from Nuremberg made between 1520-1525.

The close helmet, which was also known as the close helm was a military helmet worn by knights and other soldiers in the Late Medieval and Renaissance eras. The helmet was a fully enclosing helmet type with a pivoting visor and integral bevor. the close helmet was used both on the battlefields as well as tournaments. For more information see:

Oakeshott, Ewart (2000). European Weapons and Armour. From Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution. The Boydell Press, Woolbridge.

A burgonet helmet made in Augsburg between 1530-1535.

The burgonet helmet (at times also called a burgundian sallet helmet) was a Renaissance-era combat helmet which was the successor of the sallet helmet.  The characteristics of this type of helmet are a) a skull with a large fixed or hinged peak projecting above the face-opening, b) usually an integral, keel-like, crest or comb running from front to rear, c) substantial hinged cheekpieces which usually do not meet at the chin or throat and d) a flange projecting from the lower parts of the skull and cheekpieces for the pretoection of the back and sides of the neck. This was typically a light helmet and was open-faced.  But sometimes a falling buffe, a sort of visor that was closed by being drawn up rather than down, was used as well. Another type existed as well known as "close burgonets" with elements, such as the peak, crest and falling buffe and combined them with the hinged bevor of the close helmet (see Oakshott, 1980, European Weapons and Armour: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution).  Stone (1999, p. 156) describes burgonet in his book A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armour in all Countries and in all Times as: 

"The burgonet or burginet is an open helmet, the salient parts of which are the umbril, or brim, projecting oveer the eyes and the neck. As the name implies it is of Burgundian origin and was used in the 16th century. Many are elaborately decorated."

Full plate steel armor from Nuremberg made in 1550.

A closed helmet made in Augsburg in 1550-1560.

A closed helmet by Matthäus Frauenpreiss, JR. made in Augsburg in the second half of the 16th century.

A full-plate steel armor from Saxony (Germany) made in 1550-1560.

Chanfron probably made by Wilhelm Worms Jr. in Nuremberg in 1550-1560.

Full plate steel armor made in Augsburg Germany in 1560-1570.

For a similar German Gothic armor from the 16th century from the Metropolitan Museum of Art see Stone (1999, p. 29, figure 39.2), A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armour in all Countries and in all Times. Mineola: Dover Publications.

Full plate steel armor made in Augsburg Germany in 1560-1570.

A German combed morion made by Martin Rotschmidt, Nuremberg 1560-1570.

Stone (1999, p. 457) describes morion in his book A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armour in all Countries and in all Times as: 

"MORIAN; MORION. A light, open headpiece with a high comb and a brim forming high peaks front and back, and turned down at the sides. The finer ones are marvelous forgings. The best are made of a single piece of steel with a hollow comb as much as four inches high.  Many are made of two pieces joined on the center line of the top.  It was very popular from the middle of the 16th century until the abandonment of armor. At first it was worn mainly by pikemen, later it was used by the guards of princes".

A half-armor made by Anton Peffenhauser in Augsburg in 1591.

For an absolutely similar armor made by the same maker which is kept in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Dresden see Schöbel, Johannes (1975, p.45), Prunkwaffen: Waffen und Rüstungen aus dem historischen Museum Dresden. Leipzig: Militärverlag. Schöbel (1975, p. 45) describes the armor kept in Dresden as:

"Blued full-plate armor for fighting tournaments on foot decorated with gilded etchings made by Anton Peffenhauser, Augsburg after 1591".

A full-plate steel armor probably made by Anton Peffenhauser in Augsburg in 1560-1590.

A tilting shield probably made by Anton Peffenhauser in Augsburg in 1560-1587.

A half-armor made in Augsburg in 1590.

For a similar armor which is kept in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Dresden see Schöbel, Johannes (1975, p.46), Prunkwaffen: Waffen und Rüstungen aus dem historischen Museum Dresden. Leipzig: Militärverlag. Schöbel (1975, p. 49) describes the armor kept in Dresden as:

"Blackened and gilded Parade armor decorated by Eliseus Libaerts, Antwerpen, 1560-1565"

 

Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani