Object Title

Helmet (top)

Helmet (top)

Date

1771-1799

Object Number

XXVIA.12

Provenance

Acquired before 1859.

Physical Description

The helmet is of a low hemispherical form surmounted by a four sided spike and with plume tubes to the right and left of the nasal attachments. The nasal is missing. The lower edge of the skull is recessed slightly for the links holding the aventail. Above this the skull is bordered by a narrow band of scrolling foliage in koftgari above that is a wide band with bold scroll foliage and strapwork, chiselled in low relief and gilded on a gold spotted ground. On each side, front and back is a scrolled frame covered with intertwining foliage containing a skull and crossed bones, The base of each frame can be interpreted as the letter omega. The chiselled decoration is partially picked out with gold.
The aventail of the helmet is made of fine butted mail of alternate iron and brass zig-zags horizontal bands each about eight rings in width.

Dimensions

Dimensions: The skull measures 210 mm front to back, 177 mm from side to side and 90 cm high. Weight: The weight of the helmet is 1.3 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

None

Associations

Bibliographic References

J. Hewitt, Official catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859, no. xv.341-8, p.108.

Viscount Dillon, Illustrated guide to the Armouries, London, 1910, no. xv.290-7, p.2.

Thom Richardson, An introduction to Indian arms and armour, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2007: 23

Notes

The foliage and strapwork as well as the skull and crossed bones motif are rather European in concept. Combined with the possible omega symbol at the base of each frame, the skulls and bones may have a masonic connection. A pair of dastana with the same skull and crossed bones motif was found by Jonathan Barrett in the Hermitage, St Petersburg, no. 5061, see inventory folder.