Tristan fights Morhaut, Breton?, 1150-70AD, Cathedral Treasury, Vannes


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'Tristan fights Morhaut': a painted marriage chest, probably Breton, of 1150-70. (Cathedral Treasury, Vannes)
Source: p.10, The Normans by David Nicolle


Referenced on p.26, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle
19A-E 'Story of Tristan', painted wooden marriage chest, Duchy of Brittany, 1150-70
(Cathedral Treasury, Vannes, France)

The painted chest from Vannes portrays normal as well as unusual arms and armour. The former are seen where two horsemen (A and B) attack a third (C), who is caught while in the act of mounting his horse. A fourth figure hands the startled knight his shield. The helmets are conical, two with nasals and one without. One has a straight front profile, another a forward-angled crown. Mail hauberks still lack mittens but include the usual coifs. It is interesting to see how far forward the horsemen thrust their shields. The combat between Tristan (D) and Morhaut (E) portrays much the same sorts of helmet and sword, but it is the shields which demand attention. These are very large and must be designed for infantry combat. They might be termed mantlets or pavises, or could be talevas shields specifically designed to protect foot-soldiers from arrows.




Other 12th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers