Western Europe, probably England or The Netherlands, ca. second half of the 17th century CE. A beautiful and finely preserved carbon-steel cuirass used by pikemen on the field of battle. The peascod-style breastplate is crested down the center and tapers to a blunted point, with a form-fitting back plate held on by leather straps on the shoulders and waist, and a pair of one-piece tassets attached to the upper thighs with swivel hooks. Cuirass pieces like this example were some of the most well-known and reputed armor pieces throughout Europe due to its ample protection, interchangeable components, and lightweight design. Many infantry units used cuirasses like this one; however, pikemen were some to use it to its fullest potential. A unit composed of multiple, well-armored men with long-reaching weapons was one of the most intimidating sights a soldier could hope to never witness. Size: 19" W x 24.7" H (48.3 cm x 62.7 cm)
A stylistically similar example of a pikeman's cuirass along with a helmet hammered for $9,945 at Bonhams, San Francisco "Antique Arms & Armour and Modern Sporting Guns" auction (November 18, 2013, lot 4020).
Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA, acquired in September 2014; ex-private Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA collection
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Back plate and tassets are not original to the breast plate but are of the same time period. Leather straps are likely modern replacements for original leather straps. Minor abrasions and slight bending to areas of breast plate, back plate, and tassets, and light encrustations along versos. Nice patina throughout. Upper left area of breastplate has bullet indentation from durability testing shortly after its creation.