Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Turban Helmet

Date:
late 15th century–1st quarter 16th century
Geography:
possibly Istanbul
Culture:
Turkey, possibly Istanbul, in the style of Turkman armor
Medium:
Steel, iron, gold, silver, copper alloy
Dimensions:
H. 11 3/16 in. (28.5 cm); W. 8 7/8 in. (22.53 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 6 oz. (1092 g)
Classification:
Helmets
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1904
Accession Number:
04.3.460
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
Helmets of this type are usually called turban helmets because of their large bulbous shape and the flutings that imitate the folds of a turban. Because certain dervish groups wore turbans wound with a prescribed number of folds to represent an important mystical number, it is likely that turban helmets were regarded not merely as armor but also a kind of religious insignia, their very shape marking the wearer as a fighter in the Holy War. Turban helmets, together with mail-and-plate armor of matching decoration, were intended for the heavy cavalry and are recorded as early as the fourteenth century. This example appears to have belonged to the dynasty of the Ak-Koyunlu (White Sheep Turkoman) that ruled northwestern Iran and Anatolia in the fifteenth century. The inscriptions, damascened with gold and silver, glorify temporal rulers, wish the owner well, or give advice on how to attain virtue.
Marking: Stamped with the Constantinople armory mark.
Ex coll.: Duc de Dino, Paris.
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