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Zischägge (Helmet) and Cuirass of Emperor Ferdinand II

A work made of steel, gilding, brass, and leather.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of steel, gilding, brass, and leather.


c. 1620


South German

About this artwork

The design of this armor follows an eastern European fashion for lighter-equipped cavalry. Its considerable thickness and weight (about 25 pounds) were meant to protect the wearer’s vitals from the deadly threat of firearms.

This armor, however, did not belong to any ordinary cavalryman, but to Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. Ferdinand ruled during the turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), which devastated much of central Europe. Asserting the authority of the Habsburg dynasty, the etched and gilt decoration on the breastplate depicts two of the emperor’s great forebears, Maximilian I on the right and Charles V on the left.


On View, Gallery 239


Applied Arts of Europe


Zischägge (Helmet) and Cuirass of Emperor Ferdinand II


Southern Germany (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



steel, gilding, brass, and leather


Helmet H: H.: 41.7 cm (16 3/8 in.); Cuirass H: H.: 43.8 cm (17 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

George F. Harding Collection

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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