Churburg Breastplate


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Description of the Product

Churburg Castle, built in 1253, is one of South Tyrol’s best-preserved castles, and particularly well known for its armoury, which contains 50 fully preserved suits of armour, all made for members of the Matsch family (from 1541 to the Trapp family). This dynastic collection is of incomparable artistic and historic value and the biggest private collection in the world. The collection is famous, among other treasures, for one of the oldest surviving transitional plate armours, the #13, as well as other gems of Milanese origin.

Transitional armour is somewhere between mail and full plate, where vulnerable areas are reinforced with plate pieces. Learning the skills and processes of heat-treating iron, which was in plentiful and cheap supply (at least when compared to copper of antiquity), was a long process. But plate was the way forward, as mail alone did not protect from powerful crossbows or maces. Mail was also getting very expensive, as making it was very labour intensive and the Black Death had wiped away a large part of the workforce, thus raising the cost of labour.

Plate making required capital, for mining as well as for the furnaces and the workshops. An industry was born. Milan led the way in both quality and quantity of armour produced and Missiglia was the greatest name in 15th C Milan, who had the whole armour making process covered: they had rights to mines and furnaces, they subcontracted work to specialists, and had their masters in charge of the heat treatment and assembly of the pieces.

The Churburg #13 is believed to have been made by Missiglia around 1360-1390, and is the oldest in the Churburg collection. The original piece has a brass border with a biblical quote “Iesus autem transiens per medium illorum ibat”. “But Jesus passing through their midst went His way". During the middle ages this was a popular text worn as a charm against danger, especially war. Our reproduction is a simplification of the original, and the decorative brass charms have been omitted. As such it is perfect for possible customisation, so if you need a little super-natural help in addition to your armour and fighting skills, you can add your own charms and spells.

The breastplate is fairly small compared to later full breastplates, and does not cover the entire torso, as it would have been worn as a reinforcement over mail. The central plate and the four side plates are riveted together with leather straps. The plates are articulated, so the chestplate will fit most. The plates wrap around the sides to the back, and the three leather backstraps guarantee a good fit. The front has a V-shaped throat protection, which guides any thrusts away from the vulnerable throat area. The chestplate weighs 3,7 kg. It measures approximately 35 cm in height.

Made of 1.6 mm steel. Steel thickness may vary due to the handcrafted methods used in manufacturing. Made by Marshall Historical.

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