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Buff Jerkin of Hendrik Casimir I


Buff Jerkin of Hendrik Casimir I



Casimir was wearing this buff jerkin when he was shot from his horse in 1640. The thick leather could repel blows from a sword or dagger, but not bullets. This is why soldiers often wore an iron cuirass over it – if only Hendrik had! He died from his injury one week later. The bullet hole and the cuts to free him from the jerkin are still clear to see.

The buff coat was worn as European military attire from around 1600 through to the 1680s. The origin of the term 'buff' in relation to the coat refers to leather obtained from the "European buffalo" (available sources do not specify what species this term means, but it most probably refers to the wisent), which also gave rise to the term buff for its light tan colour. The only source of buffalo leather in the early 17th century was Germany. Most buff coats, however, were made from thick cowhide. While mainly worn for military use, its design reflects civilian styles fashionable during the early 17th century, with a high waist and flared skirts extending to the thighs. It is related to the earlier sleeveless doublet or jerkin, likewise made of thick leather.



1630 - 1640



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Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication ("CCO 1.0 Dedication")

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