Advanced Search

Peto, Breastplate; breast plate

Peto, Breastplate; breast plate

Artist: unidentified

Origin: Europe

Department: History
Date: 1580
Medium: Steel
Dimensions:
13 × 12 3/4 × 10 1/2 in. (33 × 32.4 × 26.7 cm)
Classification: Tools & Equipment for Science & Technology
Credit Line: Albuquerque Museum, museum purchase, 1979 General Obligation Bonds
Object number: PC1981.229.1.A
DescriptionA Spanish, Italian or German steel peto, breastplate or breast plate.

The bacinete helmet is a common variety used by European foot soldiers and cavalrymen between 1530 and 1700.

The coraza, or cuirass, was chest armor consisting of a peto [breastplate] and espaldar [backplate]. This example is marked with an ""M" indicating that it was made or housed in the royal armory at Madrid. A large dent in the breastplate of the coraza is a proof mark indicating that it is musket-proof. Armorers assured customers that each set of armor was resistant to firearms by firing a musket or pistol at each breastplate. The resulting dent was regarded as evidence of its resistance to firearms. Musket-proof armor was considerably heavier than normal armor.

The Greeks were the first to provide horses with protective armor consisting of a chanfron [testera in Spanish] or head-piece and a chest-piece now called a peytral [pechera] The Romans used both these pieces of horse armor and added pieces of chain mail over the rest of their animals. Between A.D. 500 and 1100 no horse armor is known; in the 1100s mail armor for horses was reintroduced, and by the 1300s plate armor had returned.

The saddle used with horse armor [silla bridona] has a high pommel in front and a high cantle in back to prevent the armored rider from falling if struck.

Horse armor is exceptionally rare in museum collections, and unfortunately no examples of the leather armor used by the conquistadores is known to exist. The leather strap work attaching this armor is a modern replacement.
Not on view
Label Text:The bacinete helmet is a common variety used by European foot soldiers and cavalrymen between 1530 and 1700.

The coraza, or cuirass, was chest armor consisting of a peto [breastplate] and espaldar [backplate]. This example is marked with an ""M" indicating that it was made or housed in the royal armory at Madrid. A large dent in the breastplate of the coraza is a proof mark indicating that it is musket-proof. Armorers assured customers that each set of armor was resistant to firearms by firing a musket or pistol at each breastplate. The resulting dent was regarded as evidence of its resistance to firearms. Musket-proof armor was considerably heavier than normal armor.