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Costume armor of German mercenary infantry troops. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain.

The Armor That Broke Away from All Established Standards (Video)

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This exceptional piece of armor at the New York Met defies conventional expectations. Rather than a tool for battle, it takes on the role of ceremonial attire, drawing inspiration from the fashion trends of the early sixteenth century. The distinctive feature of this armor lies in its puffed sleeves, which were delicately pierced to reveal the shirt underneath. This design, popular for only a limited time, encapsulates the essence of Augsburg in 1525. Gilded elements are meticulously etched beneath, creating an intriguing illusion. The brighter components appear to hover over a textured background, reminiscent of moiré fabric. When the light dances across its polished surface, it convincingly mimics actual textile.

Viewing this suit of armor is akin to observing moving sculptures. Its sleeves were engineered for rotation, allowing the wearer's arms to move gracefully within. Each section possesses its own unique movement and gravity, giving it a surprisingly naturalistic quality. This remarkable armor piece is on display at the renowned New York Metropolitan Museum, where it continues to captivate visitors with its fusion of enduring craftsmanship and the fleeting nature of fashion trends.

Top image: Costume armor of German mercenary infantry troops. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain. 

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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