Renaissance Dissident

15th Century Besagews

Using original pieces, this free PDF article by Chris Dobson explains how 15th century Italian and German besagews were mounted on shoulder defences

Two Besagews

A Comparison of Some Surviving 15th Century Shoulder Defences

A4 Format PDF, 11 pages,
8 colour illustrations and 2 patterns

Free download
Click on the cover image to download your copy

© Copyright Chris Dobson 2012
Published under the Creative Commons 4.0 Non-Commercial, Non-Derivative Licence:
(CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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This article was inspired by the appearance in quick succession of a pair of 15th century Milanese pauldrons ‘alla tedesca’, the only known pair to survive complete with their besagews, and a detached late 15th century German besagew. Because of the way besagews were mounted on armour, most have become lost from the surviving armours that originally had them, and many examples now on armours are 19th century reproductions, so original besagews are very rare, and their mounting misunderstood. This article describes how they were originally mounted on shoulder defences.

Medieval hardened-leather vambrace
An original besagew from a 15th century gothic armour
An early 16th century German spaulder which was originally fitted with a besagew.
Photos from the article, left to right/top to bottom: a recosntruction of an Italian hardened-leather vambrace c.1300-10 by Chris Dobson, photo © Copyright Chris Dobson; German besagew, late 15th century, photo © Copyright Chris Dobson; anonymous, early 16th century German spaulder originally fitted with a besagew, photo: © Copyright Chris Dobson.

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