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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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. (1702 g)
Credit Line:From the Lord Astor of Hever Collection, Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 1983
Pierre-François Percy, Baron de l’Empire, Paris (until d. 1825; sold with the Percy collection of 529 arms and armors, for Fr. 60,000, to Durand); Edmé-Antoine Durand, Paris (1825–30; Armures et Armes diverses composant la collection formée originairement par feu M. le Baron Percy et complétée par M. D.***, Lebrun, Paris, January 18, 1830, no. 62); Comtes de Pérignon, Finhan, Tarn-et-Garonne, France (until about 1900); [Bachereau, Paris, about 1900–until 1903; sold to Astor]; William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount of Hever, Hever Castle, Kent, England (1903–d. 1919; by descent through his heirs to William Waldorf III, 4th Viscount Astor); Gavin Astor, 2nd Baron Astor of Hever, Hever Castle, Kent, England (1971–1983; The Hever Castle Collection, Sotheby Parke Bernet & Co., London, May 5, 1983, no. 34, sold to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Bright Side of the Battle: Symbol and Ceremony in Islamic Arms and Armor," January 17 1985–January 11, 1987.
Granada. Alhambra. "Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain," March 18–June 7, 1992, no. 65.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain," July 1–September 27, 1992, no. 65.
Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Art of Power: Royal Armor & Portraits from Imperial Spain," June 28–November 29, 2009.
Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado. "The Art of Power: Royal Armor & Portraits from Imperial Spain," March 8–May 16, 2010.
Boucher and J. J. Dubois. Catalogue Des Antiquités, Armures, Armes, Etc. ... Par L. J. J. Dubois. Paris: Boucher, June 15, 1825. no. 53.
Salle Lebrun. Catalogue Des Armures Et Armes Diverses, Composant La Collection Formée Originairement Par Feu M. Le Baron Percy Et Completée Par M. Durand. Paris: Salle Lebrun, January 18, 1830. no. 62.
Laking, Guy Francis, and Charles Alexander Cosson. A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries, edited by Francis Henry Cripps-Day. Vol. II. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920. pp. 15–18, fig. 356.
Mann, James G. "Notes on the Armour Worn in Spain from the Tenth to the Fifteenth Century." Archaeologia (1933), p. 301, pl. 90.
Nickel, Helmut, Stuart W. Pyhrr, Leonid Tarassuk, and David G. Alexander. "Arms and Armor." Notable Acquisitions (1983–1984), pp. 21–22, ill.
Hayward, John F., and Sotheby Parke Bernet & Co. The Hever Castle Collection: The Property of The Lord Astor of Hever. Vol. I. London: Sotheby Parke Bernet & Co., May 5, 1983. pp. 28–29, no. 34, ill.
Nickel, Helmut, Stuart W. Pyhrr, Leonid Tarassuk, and David G. Alexander. "Arms and Armor." Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art) (1984), pp. 21–22, ill.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Stuart Cary Welch. The Islamic World. Metropolitan Museum of Art series; 11. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. pp. 66–67, no. 48, ill.
Nicolle, David, and Angus McBride. El Cid and the Reconquista: Warfare in Medieval Spain, 1050–1492. Men-at-Arms. London: Osprey Publishing, 1988. p. 33, fig. E.
Gonzalez, Valerie. "Les Collections d'Oeuvres d'Art du Métal Émaillé Hispano-Musulman dans les Musées Mondiaux hors d'Espagne." Sharq al-Andalus (1990), pp. 198–99.
Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer 1991), pp. 54–55, 64, ill.
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.
Gonzalez, Valerie. Emaux D'al-Andalus Et Du Maghreb. Aix-en-Provence: Édisud, 1994. pp. 134, 140, 146–47, figs. 96, 101, dust-jacket.
Laking, Guy Francis, Charles Alexander Cosson, Francis Henry Cripps-Day, and Claude Blair. A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries. Vol. II. Cambridge: Ken Trotman Ltd., 2000. pp. 15–18, fig. 356.
Pyhrr, Stuart W. "De La Révolution Au Romantisme: Les Origines Des Collections Modernes D'armes Et D'armures." Les Vies de Dominique-Vivant Denon (2001), pp. 626, 639, fig. 9.
Smith, Robert Douglas, and Stuart W. Pyhrr, eds. 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.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Stuart Cary Welch. The Islamic World. 3rd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008. pp. 66–67, no. 48, ill.
Soler Del Campo, Álvaro. The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain. Madrid: Sociedad Estatal para la Accion Cultural Exterior, 2009. pp. 56–57, no. 5, ill.
Alexander, David, Stuart W. Pyhrr, and Will Kwiatkowski. Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. pp. 119–21, no. 43, ill.
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