Object Title

Cuirass and helmet (peti)

Cuirass and helmet (peti)

Date

1771-1799

Object Number

XXVIA.139

Provenance

Acquired from the collection of the Duke of York before 1859.

Physical Description

The cuirass is formed of a quilted fabric belt, covered in red velvet and embroidered with a repeating pattern of flowers in gold thread. It is lined with blue and white cotton, and fastened through five pairs of brass loops at the front, by the original gold covered cord; two of the loops at the left are missing.

The helmet has a low skull divided into six segments, a peak, side defences of double U-shape, and a deep, trapezoid neck defence. It is covered in red velvet embroidered with panels of gold flowers, and bound around the base of the skull with a five-banded turban of dark green silk. The helmet cord is formed of two broad lengths of black silk. The inside of the neck defence is lined in blue silk brocade, worked with a diaper of flowers in gold. Conservation work has revealed an embedded loop of red velvet centrally positioned at the front of the helmet beneath the securing band, which gives clear evidence that a nasal guard was once in place, although this is now lost. See XXVIA.57 as an example of a helmet with a nasal defence in the style typically associated with South India.

Dimensions

HelmetDepth290 mm
HelmetHeight495 mm
HelmetWeight1.303 kg
HelmetWidth370 mm
CuirassHeight230 mm
CuirassLength935 mm
CuirassWeight1.403 kg

Inscriptions and Marks

None.

Bibliographic References

J. Hewitt, Official catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859, no. xv.406-7, p. 111.

W. Egerton, An illustrated handbook of Indian arms, London, 1880, no. 587T, p. 124.

Viscount Dillon, Illustrated guide to the Armouries, London, 1910, no. xv.477-8, p. 14.

H.R. Robinson, Oriental armour, London, 1968.

C.A. Bayly, The Raj, India and the British 1600-1947, London, National Portrait Gallery, 1990, no. 162, p. 157.

S. Z. Haider, Islamic arms and armour of Muslim India, Lahore, 1991, pl. 36.

Thom Richardson, An introduction to Indian arms and armour, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2007: 36

Notes

Another helmet of this group was sold at Sotheby's, New York, 13 January 1995, lot 1341. It was first noticed by Z Zygulski at a dealer's in New York in 1994.