Burgonet (Zischägge)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373

Made in Germany at a time of ongoing struggle with, and yet widespread fascination for, the Ottoman Empire, this horseman’s helmet is a singularly well-preserved example of a distinctive style of central European armor that was directly inspired by Islamic prototypes. Known as a Zischägge, it is formed and constructed in the Ottoman fashion and as such stands as a splendid counterpart to a fine Turkish-made example in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection (acc. no. 04.3.456a). Probably intended for export to Hungary, or an adjacent territory similarly in direct contact with the Ottomans, it is sturdily constructed of steel plates that have been skillfully etched and gilded overall with Moresque designs and scrolling foliage.

The helmet is remarkable for the quality of the etched ornamentation and the condition of its gilding, which is preserved on all of its elements. It also is one of the few surviving Zischägge that are nearly complete, as it only lacks the sliding nasal defense that would have guarded the face.

Burgonet (<i>Zischägge</i>), Steel, gold, copper alloy, leather, German

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