Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Helmet with Aventail

late 15th–16th century
Turkish, in the style of Turkman armor
Steel, iron, silver, copper alloy
H. including mail 22 in. (55.9 cm); H. excluding mail 13 5/8 in. (34.6 cm); Diam. 10 in. (25.4 cm); Wt. including mail 7 lb. 6.2 oz. (3350.9 g); Wt. excluding mail 3 lb. 9 oz. (1616 g)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, 1950
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 380
This especially attractive and well preserved turban helmet retains the mail aventail that protected the lower half of the face and neck. The aventail is fixed with a lead seal stamped with the mark used in the Ottoman arsenals, an indication that this example, like the other turban helmets also in the Museum's collection (acc. nos. 04.3.209, .210, .214, .457, .462; 36.25.109), passed into Turkish possession as booty with the Ottoman conquest of Iran and the Caucasus.

At least one turban helmet decorated in a style comparable to this example bears the name of Farruhk-Siar (reigned 1464–1501), ruler of Shirvan in the Caucasus. Such evidence suggests that this helmet is also of Shirvan manufacture.
Inscription: The bottom band of the inscription is the 'Throne' or 'chair' verse from the Koran.

Marking: Stamped on a lead button on the front of the camail: the mark of the Ottoman arsenal at Constantinople.
Baron Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild, Theresianumsgasse, Vienna (until d. 1905; by inheritance to his nephew, Baron Alphonse Mayer Rothschild); Baron Alphonse Mayer Rothschild, Theresianumsgasse, Vienna (1905–1938; seized by the Nazis, March 1938 and restituted by Austria to his widow, Baroness Clarice Rothschild, April 1949); Baroness Clarice Rothschild, Vienna (from 1949); [Ruth and Leopold Blumka, New York, until 1950; sold to MMA].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of Imperial Turkey and its European Echoes," November 17, 1973–March 3, 1974.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arms and Armor from the Islamic World," February 10, 2016–January 2, 2017, no. 30.

Sarre, Friedrich, Sammlung F. Sarre, and Eugen Mittwoch. "Sammlung F. Barre." In Erzeugnisse Islamischer Kunst. Vol. 1. Berlin: Kommissionsverlag von Karl W. Hiersemann, 1906. similar helmet discussed, pp. 57–58, no. 171, pl. x.

Kühnel, Ernst. Islamische Kleinkunst. Bibliothek für Kunst- und Antiquitätensammler. 1st ed. ed. Berlin: R.C. Schmidt & Co., 1925. similar helmet discussed, pp. 167–168, fig. 134.

Grancsay, Stephen V. "The New Galleries of Oriental Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16, no. 9 (May 1958). pp. 243–245, ill. p. 243.

Grube, Ernst J. "The Ottoman Empire." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, N.S., vol. 26, no. 5 (January 1968). pp. 201–24, ill. p. 219.

Nickel, Helmut. Ullstein-Waffenbuch: Eine Kulturhistorische Waffenkunde Mit Markenverzeichnis. Berlin: Ullstein, 1974. p. 83, ill. p. 83.

Alexander, David G. "Two Aspects of Islamic Arms and Armor: I. The Turban Helmet and II. Watered Steel and the Waters of Paradise." Metropolitan Museum Journal 18 (1983). pp. 97–109, fig. 5.

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49, no. 1 (Summer 1991). pp. 1–64, ill. p. 50.

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. pp. 193–194, no. 131 (color).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Thomas P. Campbell. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 161, ill.

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