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Old 18th September 2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default Red paint on iron parts of weapons

Hi Jim,

In trying to understand the meaning of color paints on arms (mainly red) I have experienced it to be very helpful to study contemporary paintings in churches and museums, but also illuminations in books. Thus, you will much better grasp the common 'fashionable' attitude of the Gothic an Renaissance periods.

Looking at such historic illustrations will make it obvious that especially red and green, but also, to a certain amount, blue seem to have been the prevailing colors some 500 to 600 years ago, not only in garments but in wood and iron hands and crafts alike. Wooden chests were painted in red and green, with red lead (minium) to their iron bands and locks. The interiors of churches were red, green and blue.

So I should say that minium paint on iron parts of arms mainly served as an anti-rust protective, but at the same time reflected the fashionable 'trends' of the respective period.

The attachments comprise 500 year-old pieces such as

- a haquebut with its stock painted red and green and with the Nuremberg coat-of-arms
- details from two 15h century cupboards
- and details from the interior of the Gothic cathedral in Brixen/South Tyrol

Try and enjoy them just for their beautiful colors and you will get the idea!

Attached Images
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