Helmet, Iron, gold, Mongolian or Chinese


Mongolian or Chinese
Iron, gold
H. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm); Diam. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 2.4 oz. (969.6 g)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Gift, 2005
Accession Number:
Not on view
Based on its decoration and construction, this helmet appears to date from the late Yuan (1279–1368) to the early Ming dynasty (1368–1644), a period from which surviving armor is very rare. The style of decoration exhibits Tibetan and Mongolian influence. The technique of damascening with flat strips of gold instead of gold wire is found on only a few other pieces. The design centers around a flaming mandorla engraved with the image of a seated Buddha, flanked on each side by a lotus on a leafy stalk and a large four-clawed dragon. Other small motifs are interspersed throughout, including flames, clouds, and auspicious symbols from the set known as the Seven Jewels.
[Art dealer, London, until 2005; sold to MMA].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet," April 5–July 4, 2006, no. 18.

London. British Museum. "Ming: Courts and Contacts 1400–1450," September 18, 2014–January 4, 2015.

La Rocca, Donald J. Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. pp. 8, 83–84, no. 18, ill.