Tournaments and Jousts
If youre going to fight on horseback, you need to be armed with good and sure armor, for a lance is very sharp, and if it finds even the smallest opening, it will penetrate — wherever it touches, it is without mercy.
Sir Jean de Beuil, mid-1400s
Tournaments and jousts were not just celebrations of chivalry, they were the extreme sport of their day, where knights proved their skill and courage before excited crowds from all walks of life. The jousting knight wore the latest in protective gear, but each pass with lances hit with the force of a sledgehammer, and fans knew that these superstars were never far from possible injury or even death.
In this gallery you will find rare surviving examples of armor made for these sports, as well as arms and armor made for other peacetime uses. See a jousting armor rented by the townsmen of Nuremberg for the city jousts; a helmet and pistol carried by the bodyguard of the Prince of Saxony; and a full-size pair of mounted jousters about to make contact.