The chamfron is possibly the most sculptural of all pieces of armour. While the basic need to protect the horse's head remains the same, the way of dividing the space allows for huge variety. Widely varying forms were used from the 15th century through to the 17th, where, particularly in Ottoman tombak versions, a great virtue was made of the play on different shapes (Fulya Bodur, Türk Maden Sanati, the Art of Turkish Metalworking, Istanbul, 1987 nos.A179, A180, A184, A185 and A186 for example). The earliest steel chamfrons tend to be relatively plain and strong in form. One, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, that is decorated in gold with the name and blazon of Muqbil al-Rumi, the dawadar of Sultan Mu'ayyad Sheikh (1412-21 AD) exemplifies this (David Alexander (gen. ed.), Furusiyya, vol.I, Riyadh, 1996, no.III.III, p.153). Exactly one hundred years later a chamfron engraved with the name of the Ottoman Sultan Selim which is dateable to 1517-20 is of virtually identical form (Bashir Mohamed, The Arts of the Muslim Knight, Milan, 2007, no.325, p.339). The decoration however is completely different, with the earlier gold overlay replaced by deep engraving forming panels of dense floral designs around inscription and arabesque cartouches. Variations on this latter engraving formed the typical decoration on steel chamfrons through from the mid-fifteenth century to the end of the sixteenth.
During the fifteenth century various different variations on the basic form were produced in the Ottoman, Turkman and Mamluk empires. There is frequently more variety to be found within the forms made for each of these armies than there is between them. Distinguishing therefore between the products of each empire can be difficult, unless there is either the name of a historical person, or, as here, a Mamluk blazon. And while the form of modelling, with the parallel fluting rising up the nose to form an upper lozenge panel, can be paralleled in chamfrons attributed to West Iran (Lionello G. Boccia and José A Godoy, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Armeria II, pl.1381 and 1382, p.765), the closest of all in form is a Mamluk example in the name of the amir Qansuh al-Yahyawi in the Armoury Museum, Istanbul (David Alexander, Furusiyya II, Catalogue, Riyadh, 1996, no.87.i, pp.104-5). Even in this instance, although the overall form and fluting are very comparable, there is a major difference, with the Istanbul example having a central ridge where ours has the two pronounced domes, each bearing the blazon. The form is however sufficiently close that we can be confident in a date of the second half of the fifteenth century for our example.