By Helmet Nickel
Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 26 (1991)
Introduction: Among the sculptures in the Gothic Chapel at The Cloisters, the armored gisant of Jean d’Alluye from the Abbey of La Clarte-Dieu, which he founded in 1239 and where he was entombed about 1248, could well serve as the almost perfect illustration of a knight’s equipment in the classical age of chivalry. Jean d’Alluye wears a long-sleeved mail shirt with hood and mittens in one piece; the hood, or coif, has been let down to rest on his shoulders. His hands, devoutly joined in prayer, emerge through slits at the wrists of the sleeves, leaving the mittens dangling. Spurs, the distinguishing mark of the knight, are buckled over the mail chausses covering his legs. Over his mail shirt he wears a surcoat, split open in front for an easier seat in the saddle, and belted at the waist with a narrow girdle. A matching wide sword belt is pulled aslant by the weight of the sword and hangs lower at the hips. His triangular shield, large enough to cover a man’s entire left side from eyes to knee, rests against his left leg.