The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Zischägge
  • Attributed to Hans Michel (1539 - 1599) , Armourer
  • Workshop of Anton Peffenhauser (c. 1525 - 1603), Etcher
  • Nuremberg and Augsburg, Germany
  • 2nd half of 16th century
  • Iron or steel, gold and leather
  • Weight: 1.99 kg
  • Stamp: Nuremburg town-mark
    Maker's mark: A shield containing a cherub beneath the letters H.M.
  • A103
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Zischägge, or burgonet in the Hungarian or Turkish style. Comprised of a pointed conical skull with an acorn at the apex; the surface is embossed with vertical flutes, or ribs, and around the lower part is a band of arabesque strapwork etched and gilt; pointed peak (attached by brass-headed rivets) through which passes an adjustable nasal of triangular section, trident-shaped at the top, secured by a staple and spring-catch; at the side are hinged ear-guards, the centres are each embossed with a kite-shaped panel, and decorated at the borders with sunken bands of small arabesque scrollwork, etched and gilt. They are each prolonged by a small triangular plate for the chin-strap; curved and pointed neck-guard riveted to the back of the skull, etched with a spray of conventional foliage, gilt on a granulated ground (this decoration is repeated at the apex of the skull); sunken band of gilt arabesque at the border, the edge turned under and roped. The ear-guards are lined with leather; the straps for sewing in the lining remain.

    Although this helmet is of the Eastern European or Ottoman Turkish style, the precise interpretation, with the deep flutes of an angular cross-section precisely similar to those found on German armours of the 'Maximilian' style, is European in origin. The decoration, especially the spray of conventional foliage on the neck-guard, is of the style closely associated with the workshop of Anton Peffenhauser of Augsburg (see also inv. no. A39), and can be compared to the South German helmets in the Turkish style at Vienna (Boeheim, Album I, Pl. XVIII, Fig. 1; and II, Pl. XXVI), one of which belonged to Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol. There is a helmet of this type in the Army Museum at Warsaw. See also the open helmet in the Wallace Collection (inv. no. A104). The adjustable nasal is probably of nineteenth-century manufacture.

    This helmet belongs to a specific weapons configuration used by Hungarian light cavalry consisting of a shield of special form (Flugelschild), a lance, sabre, and mace. On the point of the brim over the face-opening is stamped the Nuremberg town-mark and a maker's mark identical to that on Wallace Collection A114; a shield containing a cherub beneath the letters H.M. Reitzenstein has suggested that this might be the mark of the Nuremberg armourer Hans Michel, whose dates he gave as 1539-99 (Beitrage zur Wirtschaftsgeschichte Nurnbergs, II, p. 709).
    The markn Royal Armouries inv. no. II.33 occurs on the associated left gauntlet only, the other being lost. This gauntlet is now on loan to Canterbury Museum, New Zealand. The pieces bearing this mark in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, are a gorget of a seventeenth-century armour (inv. no. 14.25.702); a left pauldron of about 1570 (inv. no. 29.158.315); and a
    mi sixteenth-century gorget (inv. no. 29.158.361). A deep zischägge and an armour are in the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad (Lenz, 1908, p. 276, No. 1.136, and p. 243, No. 1.14, respectively). A morion of the Saxon Trabantenleibgarde by this maker is no. A114 in the Wallace Collection. Other examples are in the Kienbusch collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Cat., No. 102, PI. LIII), the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh (inv. no. 1966.254; Norman, 1972, No. 11, illus.); London art market, 1967; Harding collection, Art Institute of Chicago (inv. no. 1914); and Musée de l'Armée, Paris (inv. nos. H.I 90 and H.05037). J. Schobell (letter of 16th December 1963) stated that no Guard morion bearing this mark still survived in the Electoral Armoury and that the inventories do not make clear when they were bought. This armourer also worked for the Bavarian court (R. H. Wackernagel, Das milnchner zeughaus, 1983, p. 160).

    Almost identical decoration occurs on a garniture at Dresden (inv. no.M29), bearing the Augsburg mark, which is thought to have been made in 1588 by Anton Peffenhauser, and it is possible that the present helmet once formed part of the same garniture, providing a matching piece for use in the hussar tournament. A bridle-gauntlet of the Dresden garniture is in the Musée de l'Armée, Paris (inv. no. G.543), where there is also a similar one with the same decoration on the bands but with elaborate scrolls flowing over the plain areas, presumably from a second garniture (inv. no. G.PO. 733).

    Recent research has shown that Anton Peffenhauser sometimes bought individual elements from other armourers, specifically in Nuremberg, for inclusion into larger garnitures or series of garnitures commissioned from his workshop (forthcoming, Holger Schuckelt, Dresden). This zischägge, made in Nuremberg, where certain craftsmen specialised in such helmets, could therefore have been acquired by Peffenhauser and later decorated in his workshop, to match into a larger garniture for the field and tournament.