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Cuirass (Torso Defense)

Artist/maker unknown, German. Made for Prince Nikolaus Christoph Radziwill, 1548 - 1616, or made for his cousin Prince Christoph Nikolaus Radziwill I, 1543 - 1603.

Made in Germany, Europe
or Poland, Europe

c. 1580

Etched and partially blackened and gilded steel; brass; leather (replaced)

Height (down the center at the front): 27 11/16 inches (70.3 cm) Height (down the center at the back): 17 15/16 inches (45.6 cm) Circumference (beneath the armholes): 61 9/16 inches (156.3 cm) Waist (breatsplate): 29 13/16 inches (75.8 cm) Weight (Breastplate): 10.5 lb. (4.78 kg) Weight (Backplate): 5.4 lb. (2.43 kg) Weight (Backplate and breastplate together): 15.9 lb. (7.21 kg)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 347, Arms and Armor, third floor (Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Galleries)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch, 1977

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This cuirass was originally part of an armor tailored for a very large nobleman who belonged to the prominent Radziwill family of Lithuania and Poland. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, it remained in its original armory in a castle owned by a branch of the family in Lithuania. The hole visible in the breastplate is probably the result of rust from poor maintenance rather than combat-inflicted damage.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.