Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1609 Ital.-Span. coracero
Subjectcoracero cuirassier
Culture: Spanish, Italo-Spanish
Setting: Spanish Habsburg empire late 16th-17thc

Metropolitan Museum of Art > Stone Gallery of Arms and Armor *
"Armor for a Member of the Barberini Family  Steel, engraved, gilt, and encrusted with silver   Italian (Milan), about 1610-20
Bees within a crowned oval appear throughout the decoration of this armor. This symbol was the badge of the Barberini, one of Rome's most powerful families. The quality of the work and the use of a crown in the decoration indicate that the armor was made for the ranking secular member of the family. This was probably either Carlo Barberini (1562-1630), the general of the papal army and the brother of Pope Urban VIII, or his son Taddeo (1603-1647), who succeeded to his father's titles and offices.
  "The armor is a deluxe version of a typical cuirassier's armor, worn by heavy cavalry armed with sword nad pistols." ...

* Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology > Translating Encounters: Travel and Transformations in the Early 17th Century
"ENGRAVED CUIRASS AND HELMET  ...  Iron  15th-17th century
Many Spanish conquistadors who took part in the conquest of Mexico wore suits of armor similar to these pieces.  [CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION: How similar could early 16thc Spanish armor have been to 17thc cuirassier armor, when cuirassiers didn't exist at that time?]  The engraved floral embellishment and Latin inscriptions on the cuirass signify that it was owned by a wealthy gentleman.  The Spaniards' metal armor served as effective protection against many Aztec weapons, which were designed to pierce Mesoamerican cotton armor."   

* Metropolitan Museum of Art > Stone Gallery of Arms and Armor
"Cuirassier Armor  Italian (Milan or Brescia), ca. 1610-20  Steel, gold, leather, and textile ...
The construction and build of this armor are typical of a cuirassier's harness, a type developed toward the end of the sixteenth century in response to the increasing use and efficiency of firearms.  The advent of firearms caused armorers to increase the thickness and weight of plates and to supplement them with separate reinforcing plates.  Before an armor of this type was finished, it was fired at to test its effectiveness against bullets, and the bullet dents were left as a guarantee of the strength and quality of the armor.  Our armor retains two reinforces with such dents, a rarely encountered plate for the back of the helmet bowl, and a plackard for the breastplate; it formerly possessed a third plate for the front of the visor.  Weighing more than eighty-six pounds, it is one of the heaviest field armors known.
    "Although generally conforming to the construction of cuirassier harnesses worn in Europe about 1600 to 1640, this example is typical of northern Italian (Milan or Brescia) workmanship.  The armor's weight, its reinforcing plates, and the deep 'proof marks' provide a vivid reminder of the constant struggle to adapt armor to changes in tactics and weaponry as well as fashion."