Austria or South Germany, 1st half 17th century
Forged iron, riveted, cast brass, gilt
height 110 cm
From the many pieces of armour that the Basle armoury donated to the Historisches Museum in the C19, three half suits of armour in all can be assembled. This small number reflects not only the sometimes rather fortuitous way in which items were preserved at the Zeughaus, but also Basle's political fortunes in the C19. When Basle was divided into the two cantons of Basle-Stadt and Basle Landschaft in 1833, the armoury was also divided. It should be borne in mind that many suits of armour were not even originally made as a unity, and armour had to be individually fitted to the wearer. Existing pieces were combined - not least for reasons of cost - with new ones. The finest piece in the collection is the so called Russinger armour. It is a horseman's armour consisting of a battle helm with barred visor with neck protector, collar, arm plates, gauntlets, breastplate, backplate and tassets. As a special decorative element, two gilt brass lions' heads with a ring in their jaws secure the pallettes on the arms. The initials T.R. in a heart shaped frame on the breastplate gave rise to the suggestion that the armour belonged to the Basle councillor Theodor Russinger (died 1610).