Sallet in the Shape of a Lion's Head

Date: ca. 1475–80

Culture: Italian

Medium: Steel, copper, gold, glass, pigment, textile

Dimensions: H. 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm); W. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); D. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm); Wt. 7 lb. 14 oz. (3574 g)

Classification: Helmets

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1923

Accession Number: 23.141

Description

This helmet is the earliest surviving example of Renaissance armor all'antica (in the antique style). The helmet represents the head of the Nemean Lion, whose pelt was worn as a headdress and cloak by the mythological hero Hercules. He was frequently portrayed in Renaissance art as a symbol of indomitable strength, courage, and perserverance. The gilt copper lion's head is mounted over a steel sallet made specifically for this purpose. The helmet retains its original padded canvas lining.

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