Today I had the pleasure of getting a quick look at an exciting object in the collections at Livrustkammaren. Here are therefore a few short observations that I noted and you must be forgiving since it’s far from a complete article. It is an object that is entered in the database as brigandine or as it is called in Swedish “liv-jacka” where liv means upper body. In short, this is a protective garment to wear on the upper body. The brigandine is constructed in one piece and buttoned at the side and over the shoulders.
The outer layer is a grass green silk velvet. Under this velvet fabric is a thin layer of goat or sheep skin and on the back of this, a large number of steel plates. These are overlapping and the entire inside of the brigandine is covered.
The edges are covered with strips of linen. The strips are cut at an angle, there may also be some straight cuts of the linen strips. The rivets are beaten through both the fabric and the leather and there appear to be leather washers under the rivet head on the front. However, these are today very small, either they have been damaged and fallen off or they have always been small, it is not possible to determine.
The tablet woven belt in silk is unusual for it’s time and has had patterned borders. 23 tablets are required to weave this.
The bottom part is incomplete and it’s difficult to know the original shape. According to the database the brigandine seems to be produced in Arboga, Sweden in the 1560-ies.
The brigandine is a fantastic object and I hope we have the opportunity to return to it and analyze it more carefully in the future.
It is also available to read about here:
Please cred us if sharing the pictures.
2 thoughts on “A green velvet brigandine from the 16th century”
Most likely goatskin backing, sheep leather is not as strong, and years easily. Not as practical for a tough garment.