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


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.