Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense) of Henry II of France, When Dauphin
Attributed to Romain des Ursins (Italian, Milan, recorded in Lyon 1493–95)
ca. 1490–1500, redecorated 1539
Steel, gold, brass
H. 27 1/2 in. (69.8 cm); W. 15 in. (38.1 cm); Wt. 5 lb. 3 oz. (2350 g)
Rogers Fund, 1904
Not on view
In the Renaissance, elaborate parade armor of fanciful design was often employed in tournaments, ceremonial entries, and court pageants. This shaffron, shaped as a fierce dragon's head, was made at the end of the fifteenth century, perhaps for the French court, by a Milanese armorer working in Lyon. It is among the earliest surviving examples of parade armor in the "heroic" style, which alluded to the heroes of literature and legend. The shaffron was redecorated in 1539 with gold-damascened motifs including a fleur-de-lis, the letter H, and dolphins, indicating that it was refurbished for use by the French dauphin Henry (1519–1559), who assumed the throne as Henry II in 1547. The shaffron can probably be associated with the ceremonies connected with the tour of France made by Emperor Charles V in 1539, during which the dauphin was in constant attendance. The reuse of an older piece of armor, redecorated for this occasion, suggests that there was considerable haste in assembling the necessary equipment for the ceremonies.
Ex. Coll.: Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Duc de Dino, Paris
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department," October 2, 2012–October 13, 2014.
Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Dirk H. Breiding. The Armored Horse in Europe, 1480–1620. New York; New Haven, 2005. pp. 35–38, no. 7.
Artist: Attributed to Romain des Ursins (Italian, Milan, recorded in Lyon 1493–95)Date: ca. 1480–95; ear guards, eye guards, and plume holder, 19th century restorationsMedium: Steel, textileAccession: 14.25.1661aOn view in:Not on view
Artist: Attributed to Romain des Ursins (Italian, Milan, recorded in Lyon 1493–95)Date: ca. 1480–95; bottom lame and mail fringe, restored ca. 1863–1900Medium: SteelAccession: 14.25.1662On view in:Not on view
Artist: Attributed to Romain des Ursins (Italian, Milan, recorded in Lyon 1493–95)Date: ca. 1480–95, with 19th century restorationsMedium: Steel, textileAccession: 14.25.1661a, .1662On view in:Not on view