The Cuisses

The cuisses are the equivalent of the gambeson for the legs. A gambeson normally only reaches about to the crotch, in order not to be too cumbersome while riding a horse. The maille hauberk however is longer and will almost touch the knees. It needs some support on the legs, and that's provided by the cuisses. In the mean time they provide sufficient protection for the legs when seated in a saddle of that time, which was composed for the major part out of a wooden frame.


Cuisses This picture shows how cuisses are put on. They are worn over the normal hose and just reach beneath the knee. As with the hose, they are tied onto the belt of the braies. When worn, they do not hinder in any way. Every leg has its own cuisse, and the crotch remains free.

The complete upper leg is enclosed by a padded cilinder. The outside acts a support for the maille hauberk, and the inside forms a cushen when riding in a saddle on horseback.

Just like a gambeson, the cuisses are made out of thick linen or canvas, and they are padded, stuffed with for instance wool, cotton, horse hair,.... Hence the vertical lines runing along its body serving to hold the padding at its place.





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Copyright on text, images and photos by Joris de Sutter, unless noted otherwise.
This information is provided by De Liebaart and was last updated on October 30th 2001.