I know you’re thinking it’s not possible for me to talk about Nashville any more than I have. Wrong. With the exception of three trips to St. Louis to see Nonny (two of them medical issues), I haven’t traveled anywhere since before pandemic. For someone who worked in the travel industry for 30+ years, 3 years is a long time between trips so Nashville was actually pretty special. And have I mentioned that I had a great time with my friend Pat?
On my first morning in the city, we went downtown to see the Frist Museum; there was a display for Japanese textiles that we wanted to see. It’s not a large museum and all they do is special shows – no permanent galleries. The day we were there just happened to be the very last day of a special display of armor from the middle ages – so lucky!
I’m not a fan of military strategy or warfare in general but the lengths that we humans will go to is just amazing. Having never seen any kind of armor up close, I was amazed that so much of it was covered in remarkable artistry, carvings in silver and gold adorning a lot of pieces. Trying to figure out how a knight would be able to see took quite a bit of doing and I don’t even want to think about what happens when you’re all suited up and nature comes a’ calling!
Despite having seen Camelot several times as well as Ivanhoe and Robin Hood, I hadn’t really paid much attention to the armor that horses wore. A full suit of armor for a horse is called a bard or barding but the piece that amazes me the most is the chanfron – the face mask. I’m thinking that there was probably an industry for training horses to wear face masks. I doubt you could just stroll into the stall and have a horse accept this easily.
The other amazing thing to me is the naming of armor pieces. Every single little piece has a name, even the part that covers the armpit – the besagew. Many of the names come from the French – guessing that armor trends started in that part of Europe and spread? Here’s another suit that I found interesting – not sure why we needed to be reminded of the anatomical features of the wearer.
Another friend of mind who lives in St. Paul knows an enormous amount about medieval warfare and I can’t wait to see her next and show her my pictures. I’m guessing she already knows all the names of the pieces. Maybe I’ll quiz her.
Did you ever want to be a knight in shining armor when you were a kid?