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Helmet (Sallet)

Date:
late 15th–early 16th century
Geography:
possibly Granada
Culture:
Spanish, possibly Granada
Medium:
Steel, gold, silver, enamel
Dimensions:
H. 7 7/8 in. (20 cm); W. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm); D. 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 12 oz. (1701 g)
Classification:
Helmets
Credit Line:
From the Lord Astor of Hever Collection, Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 1983
Accession Number:
1983.413
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 379
This helmet is the only known example of armor to survive from the entire Nasrid period in Spain (1230–1492). Traditionally, it is said it belonged to Abd 'Abd Allāh Muhammad, known in the West as Boabdil, the last Nasrid king of Granada (reigned 1482–83 and 1487–92) before it was reconquered by the Spanish.

The helmet has the form of a typical Spanish sallet of the late fifteenth century, with cutouts over the eyes inspired by Islamic examples. The decoration, however, is extraordinarily rich and distinctive. The steel is covered entirely in a layer of gold leaf that is finely engraved with geometric and foliate designs; the edges are trimmed with silver. Delicate cloisonné enamels, evocative of Nasrid jewelry, are inset overall, further distinguishing this helmet as one of great rarity, quality, and beauty.
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