Austria, early 17th century
steel (originally blued, now black, leather straps
Lent by David Norton Yerkes and Sarah Hitchcock Yerkes
The cuirassier was the heavy cavalryman of the late 1500s and early 1600s. Carrying pistols and a sword, he was clad in full armor, like this suit, with the exception of his lower legs, which were protected by heavy riding boots. Shortly after 1650, such heavy cavalry armor disappeared from use. By then, European cavalries had abandoned full armor as impractical against the increased sophistication of firearms. Similar armors survive in the Armory of Graz, Austria.