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 lion's head is an outer shell made of embossed and gilt copper that is fitted over an underlying plain steel helmet. It 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 perseverance.