Composite armor, Spain, 15th century Front view

Musée de l'Armée - Hôtel des Invalides

Musée de l'Armée - Hôtel des Invalides
Paris, France

Composite suit of armor from the last quarter of the 15th century, with most of its pieces originating in Spain. A worn-down hallmark on the head protection is similar to those struck by the Calatayud workshops in the Aragon region—the most prestigious in all of Spain. This typically Iberian head protection is a sallet forged from one single piece of metal. With a spherical head and topped with a median crest along the length, it has a rare feature: an opening on the front that connects to the upper contour of the brow bone and protects the forehead. Its upturned edge also covers a large proportion of the cheeks and the nape of the neck, while an articulated bevor completes the protection for the head.
The armor is formed around a chest plate and a backplate, which were not designed to be worn together. In this way, the convex breastplate was made using one single sheet of metal, while the backplate is made up of three riveted plates. Another odd detail is found in the codpiece with three mobile strips, which wasn't originally designed for tassets. The pair of tassets that can be seen on the photo were added at some point during the 19th century. It was created to suit Spanish tastes using old sheet metal, and then attached to the codpiece using a connector system made of leather and buckles. The red and yellow fabric elements were also added to the armor at this time.
It should be noted that the leg protections are made up of one single piece, each composed of articulated elements. Half-armor—poleyns with ailettes that are turned upwards to protect the channel and short leg plates—were attached using leather strips that did not require assistance from a squire or another servant.


  • Title: Composite armor, Spain, 15th century Front view
  • Date Created: 4th quarter of the 15th century
  • Location Created: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: Without support: 0,80 (w) x 1,65 (h) m / With support: 1,83 (h) x 0,60 (l) m
  • Provenance: acquisition date: November 1964 (purchase); previous collection: José Estruch y Cumella
  • Subject Keywords: Protection, Infantry
  • Type: Salade
  • Rights: Photo (C) Paris - Musée de l'Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Fuzeau
  • Medium: Fer, Cuir, Laiton, Velours, Fil de coton, Brodé
  • Inventory: 571 PO

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