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Rennzeug of Emperor Maximilian I (1490-1519)

Rennzeug of Emperor Maximilian I (1490-1519)

c. 1493

Steel, leather and wood

Lent by the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna 8.2017

Did you know?

Notice there are no eye holes on the horse's armor; in this competition they ran blind.


This highly specialized armor, known as a rennzeug, was intended for use in a friendly combat between two riders, normally held in an open field without a barrier. The contestants were armed with sharp lances known as the rennen. The saddle was without a rear cantle since the aim was to unhorse one’s opponent. The helmet, called a sallet, is pierced with a narrow sight for the rider’s vision. The armor is strikingly asymmetrical. Its breastplate is heavily extended at the lower right to support the lance-rest, while the rider’s left thigh would have been protected by a large leather shield that hung loosely over the saddle. The rennen was a popular, but very dangerous form of the joust.

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