Monday, December 22, 2014

Royal Armouries, Leeds, England--Part the Blades and Armor

The Royal Armouries in Leeds, England, has an impressive display of weapons of all sorts from all over the world from most periods in time.  In this post, we'll concentrate on a sampling of the blades and armor in the museum. The next post will have the guns and cannons.

Entering the Royal Armouries in Leeds

The first thing we saw was a cutout of the famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.
L in the cutout

J in the cutout

We came upon a tower filled with suits of armor, swords, pikes, spears, and myriad other weapons. The tower went up three or four stories, making it quite impressive on its own.

Tower of weapons (click to enlarge)

A display that was a little disappointing to us parents but fascinating to the children was this set of arcade games.

Kids, there's more interesting stuff to see elsewhere!

On the first floor, we looked down at a mounted knight who himself was looking down on the cafe. Maybe we were on the second floor (or third floor, depending on how you are counting).

Knight from above

We enjoyed the exhibits on Japanese weapons, which shows various suits of armor for both rider and horse from the 18th century, as well as a sample warrior's home.

Japanese mounted warriors

Various swords and spears

18th century armor modeled on Japanese medieval armor

18th century armory in the 18th century style

A warrior's home

The exhibit has examples of Japanese firearms and helmets. As I said, there will be a separate post on firearms and cannons, but since this fits in with the other Japanese items, I post the picture here.

Japanese rifles and other firearms

1700s helmets

1700s armor

Another horse features less defensive gear for riding.

A more casual horse

Traditional Japanese swords are on display in a variety of sizes.

Japanese swords

On another floor we discovered dueling weapons, including swords and knives that look perfect for swashbuckling.

Dueling weapons

Nearby we found modern dueling equipment, including the padded armor used by fencers.

Fencer with foil

The European medieval section has a good variety of items. This German helmet from the 1500s is unusual in its detail with a nose and mustache on the visor. Even more impressive, the nose and mustache are one piece of metal with the visor, not later additions.

Helmet with mustache

Plenty of suits of armor are on display from different ages and different armies.

Various suits of armor

Mobile home for knights

Suits of armor are fairly nondescript, so knights who wanted to get credit for their feats in battle (or who didn't want to be killed accidentally by their own forces during battle) had shields, helmets, and surcoats with heraldic imagery identifying themselves. Coats-of-arms grew out of this tradition.
Heraldic shield of Charles Brandon, First Duke of Suffolk

Some of the armor is arranged whimsically, which we all appreciated.
Arguing armor?

In the gift shop, L tried out her dual-wielding feat with some axes.

L ready for battle

Another display shows the tools of 18th and 19th century whaling, including harpoons.

Whaling equipment

The display also has more modern equipment, like this harpoon gun.

J with a modern harpoon

The harpoon gun is a good lead in to the next post on guns and cannons at the armory.

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