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Old 31st March 2021, 10:38 AM   #1
AHorsa
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Default Half of a Morion

Dear all,

I got this half of a Morion together with the Cabasset from my other thread. My expectations are low, especially as it weights just 495g... But you might know better if this is a copy or a real piece.

Any opinion apreciated.

Thanks and kind regards
Andreas
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Old 31st March 2021, 10:41 AM   #2
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more images...
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Old 31st March 2021, 12:23 PM   #3
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Having some more looks at it I just found a small area of delamination (attached image) and that the thickness of the material varies at the edges. A cause to be a bit more optimistic?
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Old 31st March 2021, 12:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHorsa
Dear all,

I got this half of a Morion together with the Cabasset from my other thread. My expectations are low, especially as it weights just 495g... But you might know better if this is a copy or a real piece.

Any opinion apreciated.

Thanks and kind regards
Andreas
Looks like the real thing ... or 'half' of it .
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Old 31st March 2021, 01:48 PM   #5
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Looks good to me.
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Old 31st March 2021, 04:01 PM   #6
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I agree with Fernando and Casey , its an original no doubth !
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Old 31st March 2021, 06:15 PM   #7
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Yes original, just have found the other half ...
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Old 31st March 2021, 06:25 PM   #8
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Rigoleur .
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Old 31st March 2021, 09:31 PM   #9
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Gentlemen, thank you so much for your comments. I am really happy to hear that. The helmet was covert with some varnish when I got it, looking quite artificial. And then the light weight.
I just cleaned the surface rust from the "white" parts. By the way: does anyone know the meaning of the fleur de lis on those "black and white" morions?

Kind regards
Andreas
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Old 31st March 2021, 10:17 PM   #10
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good afternoon, probably Germany late 16th century.
with respect..
(as an example, photo from 1stdibs.com)
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Old 31st March 2021, 10:20 PM   #11
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and they were most likely painted with black paint in later times
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Old 1st April 2021, 12:07 AM   #12
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Munich town Guard c. 1600
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Old 1st April 2021, 07:27 AM   #13
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Thank you for the further replies. Yes, this type is described as German about 1580. I doubt that all of this helmets can be attributed to the Munich town guard, as they appear pretty often. But it could be an interesting hint that they are meybe of south German origin.
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Old 1st April 2021, 02:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHorsa
Thank you for the further replies. Yes, this type is described as German about 1580. I doubt that all of this helmets can be attributed to the Munich town guard, as they appear pretty often. But it could be an interesting hint that they are meybe of south German origin.
I've often wondered their true source. Seems every auction has a few of them. There must have been a huge number of them made.
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Old 1st April 2021, 02:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHorsa
Thank you for the further replies. Yes, this type is described as German about 1580. I doubt that all of this helmets can be attributed to the Munich town guard, as they appear pretty often. But it could be an interesting hint that they are meybe of south German origin.
As noted, these seem to be pretty much a constant in auctions as far as these combed morions go, and have been for some time. Often they appear as an example in discussions of the use of the fluer de lis to indicate that this symbol was far from exclusively French. As a well known center for arms and armor, I wonder if these became a noted style which supplied other units in other 'town guard' activity, thus the apparent volume of these helmets.
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Old 1st April 2021, 04:00 PM   #16
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It would be interesting to see some contemporary images/engravings of that time showing a soldier or a guard wearing such a black and whtie morion or at least a plane morion. As they survived in such high numbers, there must be some. But I´ve never seen one. Does anyone of you? The only image I know is this one from 1572 showing some soldier wearing helmets that could be (abstracted) morions (next to the trunks and in the background).

Kind regards
Andreas
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Old 1st April 2021, 04:02 PM   #17
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I have checked a few (auction) sources and in one of them a half dozen comb morrions with different embossed patterns were labeled Munich Town Guard; this speaks for itself.
There must be out there some honest reference to the appearing of the "black & white' + 'fleur de lis" craze. In fact they are "more than their mothers"; i even saw one in a local auctioner; one i feared for its authenticity.
But one thing we know; the comb morrion originates from Spain and, in context, was extended to the Portuguese.
Here are two nice XVII century Benin bronzes depicting armoured Portuguese soldiers wearing morrions. Apparently without a comb, though.

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Old 1st April 2021, 04:23 PM   #18
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What a great find, Fernando! Those figures really depict history

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Old 1st April 2021, 04:50 PM   #19
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Cristovão Colombo arriving in the New World, an engraving from the XVI century.


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Old 1st April 2021, 04:58 PM   #20
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Francisco Coronado in his expedition from what is now Mexico to present-day Kansas, in 1540-1542.


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Old 1st April 2021, 06:37 PM   #21
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Thanks for posting the images. Is the second one old or modern?
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Old 1st April 2021, 07:46 PM   #22
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That one i woldn't know; certainly not from thr period.
(Courtesy The New York Pubic Library)
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Old 2nd April 2021, 01:34 AM   #23
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The 'conquistadors' have been a topic that have intrigued me forever it seems, and some of my favorite art has been with these figures in subject.

Years ago of course my impression was that ALL the Spanish in the New World were conquistadors, and of course they all wore morions and steel cuirasses.
In recent years I was surprised that that was not the case, and that the familiar 'combed' morions were not worn in the early conquests of Mexico and Peru by Cortez and Pizarro (first quarter 16th c). In a reference by Walter Karcheski ("Arms and Armor of the Conquistadors", 1990) he notes these were not worn until later in the century and that many of those worn by the conquistadors were actually produced in Italy. Actually many of the Spanish arms and armor had Italian origin due to the provincial connections.
Also, the members of these expeditions were not not necessarily soldiers, but adventurers, ex soldiers and individuals seeking fortunes. As such, many, if not most were self equipped, using all manner of arms and armor, often obsolete and hastily obtained from many sources. There was little uniformity and the armor breast plates were likely minimally present, with mail more common. The helmets were of all manner, mostly cabassets with the morions more known among officers and well heeled members.

It seems that the North Italian arms producing centers had significant influence and contact with not only Spain, but German armourers to the North, notably Munich as one. While the morion did evolve in Spain earlier with the combed peak added to the plainer 'cabasset', the style did catch on in Italy (the Swiss guards at the Vatican) it does seem that the 'Munich' examples would follow suit.

As Fernando has noted, these morions with the fluer de lys which are typically designated 'Munich town guard' are but one of numerous motif and decorations on these helmets .
* the fluer de lys is said to represent the Virgin Mary, who whom the Munich Town Guard were dedicated.

I believe that numbers of these were perhaps among the holdings in the Bavarian National Museum which were de-accessed early in the century and Dr. Hans Stocklein was somehow involved in cataloging. From there it seems there were examples of the helmets in the John Severence collection that went to the Cleveland museum of art.
These may be possible sources for the Munich Town Guard attribution.
It seems there is a type of sword with rapier style hilt also specified to Munich town guard, so this appellation may have been similarly applied, as other swords of the type are known without the connection.

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Old 2nd April 2021, 10:03 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
the fluer de lys is said to represent the Virgin Mary, who whom the Munich Town Guard were dedicated.

I believe that numbers of these were perhaps among the holdings in the Bavarian National Museum which were de-accessed early in the century and Dr. Hans Stocklein was somehow involved in cataloging. From there it seems there were examples of the helmets in the John Severence collection that went to the Cleveland museum of art.
These may be possible sources for the Munich Town Guard attribution.
It seems there is a type of sword with rapier style hilt also specified to Munich town guard, so this appellation may have been similarly applied, as other swords of the type are known without the connection.
Great remarks, Jim! Thanks for this! This may explain the appearance of the fleur de lis on those helmets - seeking for the protection of the Virgin Mary. I think I´ve also seen praises of Virgin Mary on sword blades.

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Old 2nd April 2021, 10:37 AM   #25
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[QUOTE=Jim McDougall]The 'conquistadors' have been a topic that have intrigued me forever it seems, and some of my favorite art has been with these figures in subject.

Years ago of course my impression was that ALL the Spanish in the New World were conquistadors, and of course they all wore morions and steel cuirasses.
In recent years I was surprised that that was not the case, and that the familiar 'combed' morions were not worn in the early conquests of Mexico and Peru by Cortez and Pizarro (first quarter 16th c). In a reference by Walter Karcheski ("Arms and Armor of the Conquistadors", 1990) he notes these were not worn until later in the century and that many of those worn by the conquistadors were actually produced in Italy. Actually many of the Spanish arms and armor had Italian origin due to the provincial connections.
Also, the members of these expeditions were not not necessarily soldiers, but adventurers, ex soldiers and individuals seeking fortunes. As such, many, if not most were self equipped, using all manner of arms and armor, often obsolete and hastily obtained from many sources. There was little uniformity and the armor breast plates were likely minimally present, with mail more common. The helmets were of all manner, mostly cabassets with the morions more known among officers and well heeled members.

Hi Jim, you have just inspired me to see " conquest of paradise " again !
kind regards
Ulfberth
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Old 2nd April 2021, 12:26 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHorsa
Great remarks, Jim! Thanks for this! This may explain the appearance of the fleur de lis on those helmets - seeking for the protection of the Virgin Mary. I think I´ve also seen praises of Virgin Mary on sword blades.
You bet! glad I could help.
It has often been held that the fluer de lys was a French device, however, with its religious and other connotations it has been known in numerous other contexts.
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Old 2nd April 2021, 12:30 PM   #27
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[QUOTE=ulfberth]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
The 'conquistadors' have been a topic that have intrigued me forever it seems, and some of my favorite art has been with these figures in subject.

Years ago of course my impression was that ALL the Spanish in the New World were conquistadors, and of course they all wore morions and steel cuirasses.
In recent years I was surprised that that was not the case, and that the familiar 'combed' morions were not worn in the early conquests of Mexico and Peru by Cortez and Pizarro (first quarter 16th c). In a reference by Walter Karcheski ("Arms and Armor of the Conquistadors", 1990) he notes these were not worn until later in the century and that many of those worn by the conquistadors were actually produced in Italy. Actually many of the Spanish arms and armor had Italian origin due to the provincial connections.
Also, the members of these expeditions were not not necessarily soldiers, but adventurers, ex soldiers and individuals seeking fortunes. As such, many, if not most were self equipped, using all manner of arms and armor, often obsolete and hastily obtained from many sources. There was little uniformity and the armor breast plates were likely minimally present, with mail more common. The helmets were of all manner, mostly cabassets with the morions more known among officers and well heeled members.

Hi Jim, you have just inspired me to see " conquest of paradise " again !
kind regards
Ulfberth

It is the 'romantic' historian in us!!! The arms and armor we study are the forces that take us back into these amazing times! Bon voyage!!!!
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Old 2nd April 2021, 02:47 PM   #28
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Red face Going semantics ?...

Conquistador (conqueror) would be the term used to refer to Spanish and Portuguese soldiers, explorers and adventurers who ventured through the Americas and the Pacific Ocean, on the shores of Asia, in regions controlled by the Portuguese and Spanish between the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. We know of a Portuguese adventurer, Salvador Ribeiro de Sousa, who managed to be the King of Pegu (Suthern Birmania = Myanmar) in the XVI century. On the other hand, it is rather acceptable that contemporay civilan adventurers (often mercenaries) would wear whatever armout they got hold of.
As for the date Karcheski says that morrions showed up by later in the century, within my illiteracy, i dare say he commits an imprecision. The morrion was born in Castille by early XVI century. Hernando de Soto and Coronado (1540's) are admitted to have supplied them to their infants; as we can also see in a Pizarros's depiction, kept in la Universidad de Chile. Also it would be hard to believe that, a painting by Juan Lepiani, kept in Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú, would have Pizarro and the boys wearing the wrong head protection.
Also in a work by Lyliane and Fred Funcken we may see comb (crest) morrions dated 1530 whereas the half comb style would date beg. XVII century.
It is no wonder that these helmets, bearing an appealing look, soon spread all over Europe, becoming a fashionable item for Munich guards, Landsknechts and even the Vatican ... this one even up to nowadays. I wouldn't be surprised that this helmet comb (crest) was thought by many to be an embelishment detail and not conceived to reinforce it.

A random note:
Afonso de Albuquerque (1453-1515) one of he greatest Portuguese (as called) conquistadores, a noble of pure Portuguese lineage, had as his family coat of arms, a shield with four fleures de lys.



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Old 2nd April 2021, 10:13 PM   #29
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As always, Fernando I look forward to your well placed and referenced responses to my ramblings. The heading semantics is of course right in line here, as terms and perceptions are key in what we know of the conquistadors and their appearance and equipment.

Interestingly, the term 'conquistador' was not used to describe these forces of exploration and conquest until the 19th century. Still it describes them resoundingly as we constantly learn more of them and their 'adventures'.

Regarding semantics, I think the terms cabasset (cabacete) and morion are at times interchanged, and these helmets are of often remarkably subtle comparison. ...the 'comb' being the primary feature of attention.

It would be difficult to determine exactly what year the peak of the cabasset was reduced slightly, and the height achieved with the 'comb' along the center of the helmet. I would not dispute Castilian origin, and the burgonet versions of the armet closed helmets also had combs on many versions.

The question is just when did the combed morion with boat shell brim become well known, used, by the conquistadors. ...the term morion is typically used for this form. However, there are cabacete also noted as 'morion', so here is the semantics issue.

In "The Conquistadors" (Terence Wise, Osprey, 1980, p.36, B2) a Spanish arquebusier c. 1520-40 is shown wearing a comb morion with boat shell, with comment this was the TYPICAL Spanish helmet.
However, it is noted , the COMB became more PROMINENT after 1530.

In the same plate, a swordsman of this period is wearing a burgonet, a type of more enclosed helmet but without visor etc. with notes these and light cavalrymen wore these and NOT the morion as often supposed.
The pikemen in the plate wear a 'pear stalk' cabasset with the boat shell c. 1540.

In this reference it is noted (p.35) that with an illustration of a Spanish knight c. 1500-40, he is wearing blackened armor to protect from weather, "...MOST of the captains and gentlemen amongst the conquistadors wore such armor, although some later abandoned all except the helmet in favor of the lighter Indian armor".
Here I would note, the helmet they wore was closed, with armet, vizor and bevor.



In other references, and "European Arms & Armor" (C.H.Ashdown, 1995), p.265, in the transition period (1500-52) one of the salient features of armor was the general use of a close helmet. As noted, ranking figures in the early 16th c. favored the closed helmet, and scholars I have spoken with have noted the favor of variations of these helmets with bevor etc. in the early period of colonization.

While I would dread contesting the veracity of a painting depicting these larger than life figures of history wearing incorrect armor or costume, it seems such license is well known in historically themed art. Here in the US, the topic of Custer and his 'last stand' is terribly misrepresented in many art pieces. Many, possibly even most, events such as cavalry charges etc. are little like the actual event, and often painted many years after the fact.

Looking through "Spanish Arms & Armor" (Calvert, 1908) there are many variations of burgonet, 'morion' and cabacete from late 15th into 16th c. which illustrate the scope of styles in use in these times. I believe what Mr. Karcheski was referring to was that the 'combed morion' did not come into popular use until after c. 1530s, and then in the rather inconsistent use prevalent in these assembled forces in Spain's New World.
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Old 3rd April 2021, 05:56 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando

A random note:
Afonso de Albuquerque (1453-1515) one of he greatest Portuguese (as called) conquistadores, a noble of pure Portuguese lineage, had as his family coat of arms, a shield with four fleures de lys.

.
And doesn't the cross of the Order of Aviz have a fleur-de-lys at the end of each arm?
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