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Latest Articles - Luxury

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Armour, History of Metal

Thursday, 31 December 2009

armor historyArmour collecting is something too different from the trivial activity that is affordable to very wealthy people or the amateur enthusiasts who put their lives to study the history of armament the Middle Ages. During the old times the defensive weapons meant the armament. We never neglect the fact that in the current times anyone who wants to «collect» modern replicas styled as the ancient rarity, though we admit that this is done exclusively by those who want to make their interior look more elegant and pretentious demonstrating the decorative armour on the special platform.

When surfing the shops and flee markets for the rarity stuff to decorate the interior, you'd better consider that the armour would look applicable and unique in the interior of a villa in the suburbs rather that in the old Scottish or German castle where it looks weird and ridiculous.

Today more and more prosperous people tend to pay a fortune to get some weapons for their villas.

We should not think of the armour solely off the history of the human society development. The armour picked the technological progress on the particular stage of history. The armours were designed to protect the life - the most vital for the humans, and they have been sophisticated since the ancient times up to XVII century. To manufacture the armours, the weapon makers incurred enormous expenses including material and masters' work payment, and hence, the cuirasses were too costly and affordable to the individual of high income. Moreover, the armours would be decorated to demonstrate the status, merits and regalia of the owner, and therefore the coat of arms and battles with fighting knights or the ancestors were embossed on the armours.

Hence, the armours may be thought as decorative and applied art works and here they seem unique to appear in the collection of any medievalist. Historical evens are easy to carve or emboss onto the armours thanks the scenes are easy to imagine, as well as the life and morals of the society of that time.

The first armours used by people were the roughly-processed pelts that had their defensive function, though they protected from the cold rather than from the primitive stone-made weapon. Further, as the metal production developed, people invented other means to protect themselves. In the early Middle Ages one of the well-accepted armours was the laminar ones; they were special in construction when metal plates were tied one to another with straps. The specialists suppose that Old Russian warriors used the shell within IХ-X centuries. The most successful kind of the «heavy» protection is the laminar armours that gave relatively good mobility.

This kind of armour has been made of several hundred of plates of random shape tied with one another with laces by artful overlapping, and the most popular armour was brigandine.

Brigandine was made in the manner when metal plates were fixed onto the leather base from inner part to allow the mobility, and the armour was lined from the outer side with rich fabric.

In the late Middle Ages single metal armour appeared which are more familiar to the wide population and which are the nice bit for the collector with perfect features to keep and due to esthetic look.

The ones who are interested in the cost of such armours will be surprised to know that in summer Sotheby's auctioned unusual and unique lots, in particular the English sword of XIV century (with the start price of 3-4 thousand pounds sterling), the Gothic styled Dutch armour dated back to the end of XV century (20-30 thousand pounds sterling) and, the most interesting, the three-quarter armour from 1580 belonging to the knight of the town watch in Munich. The auction facilitators estimated the armours for 8 to 10 thousand pounds.  

The Japanese samurai armour had a great vogue with collectors no less than European items. The Japanese armour is known for little metal but more luxury in weapon. The Japanese armourers were assigned to make their armour easily recognizable in battles. Thus, all protective parts, including neck, chest and rib elements, armlets and shoulder straps were made raised with individual peculiarities, while helmets were decorated with attires and whimsical curves of edges. The outcome was impressive and majestic, and due to the well designed construction the armour never hobbled during dismounted either mounted action.

Recently it is believed to be good manners to keep the collection of original samurai armour in the Japanese villas.

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