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A North European Zischagge of the mid 17th century. The helmet is a robust example of its type with an aged russet patination all over.
Headgear of this type was manufactured in large quantities in the northern German states and in the Low countries towards the middle of the 17th century. Amongst other weapons and items of armour, Zischagges were imported into England during the Civil War period when domestic armourers could not keep up with demand, particularly on the Royalist side. For this reason many traditional English Civil War period collections, such as that at Littlecote House, have Zischagges in their armouries alongside more usual types of English armour.
This example is typically formed with a one-piece hemispherical skull embossed with six radiating ribs in raised relief and fitted at its apex with a pierced finial on top of a circular washer. The brow has a flat obtusely pointed peak with a folded edge, with a hole at the point, and is attached to the skull by dome-headed rivets. The peak is pierced at its rear, near the middle of its attachment to the skull, with a rectangular hole to accommodate a sliding nasal-bar secured by a locking screw which passes through a riveted staple. The bar has an outward facing stopper at the base and the club shaped flange at the opposite end which is stamped a letter “L” and a smaller similar shaped punch above.
A flaring neck-guard consists of four separately made articulated lames folded at the edges, attached together and to the skull by further rivets at the nape. Each side of the skull is attached with one of a pair of pendent scutiform cheek-pieces each pierced with seven circular auditory holes. Further rivets are applied around the base of the skull and on the cheek pieces to secure an inner liner which is now absent. Inside, the skull retains most of its leather liner straps attached with rivets and washers.
The helmet is a nice example of its type. The skull width ear to ear is 8 inches (just over 20 cm).