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Demi-Chanfron

Demi-Chanfron

c. 1550

Steel, etched and gilded; leather

Overall: 6.8 x 24.5 cm (2 11/16 x 9 5/8 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1526

Description

The chanfron, head defense for a horse, was introduced in the 1300s. It included two side pieces to protect the cheeks. In the 16th and 17th centuries, when armor failed to protect against firearms, it assumed greater importance as ornament. For this reason the demi (or half) chanfron covered the forehead of the horse but extended, like this one, only halfway down the nose. The Hapsburg Spanish Court was served by the armorers of Augsburg in the 16th century. This impressively decorated piece, by tradition, is said to have once belonged to Philip II of Spain (1527–1598).

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