Gilt copper; H. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 8 oz. (1.139 g)
From the Collection of Nina and Gordon Bunshaft, Bequest of Nina Bunshaft, 1994 (1995.68)
In the sixteenth century, a new type of armor was created in the Ottoman empire, consisting of helmets, shields, and chanfrons (horse's head defenses) made entirely of gilt copper, known as tombak in Turkish. Because of the softness of copper, the armor must have been intended only for ceremonial use, possibly for the sultan's bodyguard. On this tombak helmet, the lower edge has a punched inscription in Arabic that reads, "What was made for His Excellency the emir cUthman, the banner-bearer, son of the emir cAli." Despite its now rough condition, this helmet evidently belonged to a high-ranking Ottoman officer, one whose exact identity and dates of service remain to be discovered.