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(Italian, active 1572-93)
Steel, etched and gilded; brass rivets; leather and velvet fittings
Overall: 22.9 cm (9 in.)
Weight: 440 g (15.52 oz.)
John L. Severance Fund 1996.299.i
Pompeo della Cesa was the Armani or Gucci of the 1500s; everyone wanted to wear him.
This armor was designed for the foot tournament, an event that was separate from the equestrian jousts popularized during the Middle Ages and still favored among Renaissance aristocracies throughout Europe. Foot tournaments were commonly fought over a barrier that separated the combatants and gave protection to their legs, so a half-armor such as this one provided sufficient protection. The original owner of this suit would have worn it with colorful puffed and slashed britches and hose. The use of outlandish accessories, such as a large ostrich feather plume (a brass plume holder may be seen on the back of the helmet) and red velvet pickadils between the steel plates, provided additional splendor.
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