The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Mail cape
  • Mail cape
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • 16th century
  • Iron and copper alloy
  • Depth: 68.5 cm, front
    Diameter: 0.75 cm, links
    Weight: 4.426 kg
  • A16
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The bishop’s mantle was a descendant of the medieval mail standard or neck defence(see A9). Like its older relatives, a bishop’s mantle generally was composed of a stiff collar of very small, densely-woven links and a lighter, more flexible main body or mantle.

    This example may come from a Bavarian civic arsenal, or Zeughaus. Such buildings housed enough weapons and armour to outfit the entire fighting force of a major town or city, issued in time of need but otherwise kept under lock and key.

    Bishop’s mantles were worn by infantry and light cavalry, and also sometimes under plate body armour by captains and commanders.