|15c Milanese arm harnesss (museum replica quality)|
Around the start of the second quarter of the 15c arm took drastic steps forward in protection and in looks.
Two schools of style evolved the German Gothic with multiple smaller plates and myriads of fluting, and the Italian (Milanese) with larger plates and flowing curves with a natural organic feel to them. Subtle curvatures such as those in the forearm are replicated in the armour, while protective outcroppings like the couter (Elbow) fans became larger and wrapped more and more around the inside of the joints for further protection. Very unique to the Italian armours was the additions of reinforce plates and "Stop ribs" (heavy strips added to keep lance and sword points from sliding into unprotected joints or articulations). Stop ribs are most commonly correlated with the "V" shaped ones on near the top of breastplates that help deflect any point away from the neck. The Italians in the first half of the 15c expanded the use of such added defenses to the vambrace (Forearm), pauldron (Shoulder) and cuisse (thigh protection). The use of these addition stop ribs faded out suddenly near the middle of the 15c.
The piece I have here is meant not only to capture the intricate details that define the Milanese style but to replicate a restored original down to the pitting and patina on the steel. The fan on the couter wraps over half way through the inside of the elbow joint while its design does little to interfere with mobility. The shallower elbow couter denotes this as an earlier piece of the style, as does the stop rib on the bottom of the Vambrace. The vambraces is split 70/30 with the wrap plate under lapping the main vambraces. This common Italian design aspect makes for a stronger piece opening just enough for the thumb side of the hand to fit through while putting the armour on. The under lap allows for the arm harness to stay closed even if the closing strap is damaged. Also of note is the vambrace is attached to the couter lames via slots and rivets allowing a small amount of rotational movement that greatly improves the comfort and mobility of the arm harness. The rerebrace (upper arm protection) wraps further around the bicep reducing the amount of the arm that isn't covered by rigid steel. The arm harness is laced to the wearers arming cotte (snug fitting shirt worn under armour) through the holes in the leather at the top of the rerebrace.
Every detail has been painstakingly recreated from the lack of gapping in the articulations down to the hand made buckle and hinges. Even most of the rivets are hand crafted (To mimic the look common of restored pieces a couple of the rivets are modern commercially available much like used in the restoration of museum pieces). The surface pitting and even file marks are all based of photos of existing pieces in museums around the world.
The display stand allows the arm to be a prominent piece on ones desk or mantle. The base is fire darkened and then polished myrtle wood with the rest built from 3/16in acrylic. The joints allow the arm to be displayed in multiple different positions.