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.
Ex. coll.: Pierre-François Percy, Paris; Durand, Paris; Counts de Pérignon, château near Montbartier, Languedoc; Louis Bachereau, Paris; the Lords Astor of Hever, Hever Castle, Kent.
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Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado. "The Art of Power: Royal Armor & Portraits from Imperial Spain," March 8–May 16, 2010.
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Dodds, Jerrilynn D., Dr., Oleg Grabar, Antonio Vallejo Triano, Daniel S. Walker, Renata Holod, Cynthia Robinson, Juan Zozaya, Manuel Casamar Pérez, Christian Ewert, Guillermo Rossello Bordoy, Cristina Partearroyo, Sabiha Al Khemir, Dario Cabanelas Rodriguez, James Dickie, Jesus Bermudez Lopez, D. Fairchild Ruggles, and Juan Vernet. Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain, edited by Dr. Jerrilynn D. Dodds. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992. pp. 294–95, no. 65.
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Smith, Robert Douglas, and Stuart W. Pyhrr, ed. ICOMAM 50: Papers on Arms and Military History, 1957–2007. Leeds: Basiliscoe Press in association with ICOMAM, 2007. p. 116, fig. 9.
Pyhrr, Stuart W. "From Revolution to Romanticism: France and the Collecting of Arms and Armour in the Early 19th Century." In ICOMAM 50: Papers on Arms and Military History, 1957–2007, edited by Robert Douglas Smith. Leeds: Basiliscoe Press in association with ICOMAM, 2007. p. 116, fig. 9.
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