Body Guard (Brigandine)

c. 1500–1525. Italy (?), early 16th Century. Linen; gold velvet; steel; brass ; overall: 56.5 x 47.6 cm (22 1/4 x 18 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1921.1250

The brigandine is a light, vest-like body defense popular with both knights and infantry from the 1400s through about 1550. It is constructed of multiple small plates attached to a cloth covering. Finer examples, like this one, are faced in velvet or fabric made of gold thread. The lightweight brigandine provided protection from the weather, and was extremely flexible.