A Helmet, c. 17th century

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Item ref: 4203

  • Tibet or Bhutan
  • Iron, silver, gold, textile
  • 24 x 22 cm (diameter) x 24.5 cm


Private collection, UK

This helmet has a one-piece hemispherical skull of russet iron, fitted with a browband at the base, decorated with cloud scrolls in gold koftgari with silver borders, and a separate lobed peak with finer cloud scrolls. Under the brow band is a series of holes for the attachment of a mail or textile aventail. At the top a tall plume tube is attached by three rivets, decorated in bold foliate scrolls in gold koftgari on a silver ground.

This type of helmet it traditionally regarded as Bhutanese, though they probably became the most popular type throughout Tibet from the seventeenth century. They evolved from Mongol prototypes, like their lamellar predecessors. The Bhutanese connection is later, when they continued to be worn by the Royal Bodyguard into the 1950s.