Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Helmet (Spangenhelm)

Date:
6th–7th century
Culture:
Byzantine or Germanic
Medium:
Iron, copper alloy, gold
Dimensions:
H. 8 9/16 in. (21.8 cm); Diam. 7 13/16 in. (19.9 cm); Wt. 2 lb. (907 g)
Classification:
Helmets
Credit Line:
Gift of Stephen V. Grancsay, 1942
Accession Number:
42.50.1
Not on view
This helmet comes from a small group of closely related Spangenhelme (strap helmets). The sites where they have been found are widely scattered, ranging from Sweden to Germany, the Balkans and Libya. The Metropolitan Museum’s helmet was found in the Saône River near Trévoux, France. The quality of the helmets and their diverse find sites suggest that they were made as diplomatic gifts to foreign rulers, perhaps sent from the Byzantine court or from the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy.

All the helmets originally had metal cheek pieces, a mail neck defense, and often an integral nasal. As on this helmet, the decoration typically consists of patterns punched into the radiating straps and birds amid an undulating grapevine embossed on the brow band. Some examples include crosses and other Christian symbols.
Ex coll.: Georges Pauilhac, Paris; Sumner Healey; Clarence H. Mackay, Roslyn, New York; Stephen V. Grancsay, New York.
Grobbels, I.W. Der Reihengräberfund von Gammertingen. Munich, Germany, 1905. for discussion of various Spangenhelms.

Arendt, Wsewolod. "Beiträge zur entstehung des Spangenharnisches. Ein alttürkischer Waffenfund ans Kertsch." Zeitschrift für Historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde 13, n.s.v.4, Heft 3 (1932). pp. 49–55 .

Grancsay, Stephen V. "A Barbarian Chieftain's Helmet." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 7 (1949). pp. 272-281 (photographs of helmet and drawings of headband included).

Granscay, S. V., A. Hyatt Mayor, James J. Rorimer, William Holmes Forsyth, Bruno Thomas, Sir Richard C. Jebb, Randolph Bullock, Stephen V. Grancsay, and Helmut Nickel. "The New Galleries of Oriental Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (May 1958). 207 (mentioned), p. 206 (ill.).; p. 253-254 (compared and discussed), p. 253, right (ill.); p. 272-281 (photographs of helmet and drawings of headband included).

Grancsay, Stephen V. "The New Galleries of Oriental Arms and Armor." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16, no. 9 (May 1958). p. 253, ill. and compared to early Japanese helmet.

Grancsay, Stephen V. "The New Galleries of Oriental Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (May 1958). pp. 253-254 compared and discussed (p. 253 ill.).

Granscay, S. V. "The Japanese armor gallery in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Connoisseur 148 (1961). p. 12 (ill.).

Grancsay, Stephen V. "A Sasanian Chieftain's Helmet." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (April 1963). pp. 252-262 (discusses Sasanian armor-making techniques and styles, with special attention to the helmets; their eclecticism and their influences on later civilizations of the East and West). p. 262, fig. 16 (ill., Spangenhelm, Frankish or Burgundian).

Pirling, R. "Ein Spangenhelm des Typs Baldenheim aus Leptis Magna in Libyen." In Studien zur vor- und frühgeschichtlichen Archäologie Festschrift f. Joachim Werner z. 65. Geburtstag. Vol. zum 65. Munich, Germany, 1974. Xerox copy in Special Files under Spangenhelm.

James, S. "Evidence from Dura Europas for the origins of late Roman helmets." Syria. Revue d'Art et d'Archeologie 63 (1986). pp. 107-134.

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor From the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49, no. 1 (Summer 1991). pp. 9, 10, 64, ill. p. 9.

I Goti, Exhibition Catalog. Milan, Italy, 1994. p. 192, nos. III. 24-25, figs. III. 67-68 "Spangenhelme" in Chieti and Berlin.

Brown, Katharine R., Dafydd Kidd, and Charles T. Little, ed. From Attila to Charlemagne: Arts of the Early Medieval Period in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. pp. 125, 357; fig. no. 11.8.



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