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Medieval armored gauntlets. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tracing the Evolution of Armored Gauntlets (Video)


The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Armor Conservation Lab houses an intriguing collection of armored gauntlets. Among them is an early 16th-century German mitten-style gauntlet, impressively weighty and featuring intricate hammer work. Its riveted straps indicate provisions for repair and replacement. Another noteworthy piece is an Italian dueling gauntlet from the mid to late 16th century. This gauntlet incorporates tiny chainmail sewn to the glove, allowing fighters to grip their opponent's blade. The construction, with its numerous finger plates, showcases meticulous craftsmanship. A delicately crafted German gauntlet from the early 1530s highlights raised knuckle bumps, acid-etched patterns, and gilding. The intricate acid etching and the application of mercury and gold for gilding reveal the artistry involved in its creation.

Lastly, an early 16th-century German locking gauntlet stands out for its ingenious design. It features a spring catch to secure the grip on the sword, preventing accidental drops. This gauntlet exemplifies the inventiveness of armorers in safeguarding weapons. These gauntlets, ranging from the German mitten-style to the Italian dueling variant, and the intricately crafted German and locking gauntlets, exemplify the evolution of armor design and functionality. They serve as testaments to the craftsmanship and skill of their creators, offering a glimpse into the rich history of armor.

Top image: Medieval armored gauntlets. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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