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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
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373
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.
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