This helmet was forged from watered steel and decorated in gold with arabesques and Koranic inscriptions. It is very similar to one now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, made about 1560 for a grand vizier of the Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (reigned 1520–66). Both helmets presumably were made in one of the imperial workshops, possibly in Istanbul. Although this helmet is a practical military object, judging from its fine materials and ornamentation, it must have been created primarily as part of a parade armor and as a symbol of rank.
Inscription: Inscribed on top of the nasal: "There is no God but God", "Mohammad is the Messenger of God"; below the nasal: "Victory from God", "By order of Safi ad-Din Ahmad Ibn (al-Hasan?)"; at the base of the nasal: "and close (imminent) conquest"; on the band at the base of bowl: a Koranic inscription; on the peak or visor, pious inscriptions which includes the 99 names of Allah, among them: "the hearing, the wise"; on the right cheek piece, front plate: "God"; on the right cheek piece, bottom most plate: "Oh living", "Oh everlasting."
Ex. coll.: Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Duc de Dino, Paris.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arms and Armor from the Islamic World," February 10, 2016–January 2, 2017.
Nickel, Helmut. Ullstein-Waffenbuch: Eine Kulturhistorische Waffenkunde mit Markenverzeichnis. Berlin: Ullstein, 1974. p. 83, ill.
Artist: Workshop of Ahmed Tekelü (possibly Iranian, active Istanbul, ca. 1520–30)Date: ca. 1525–30Medium: Steel, gold, ivory (walrus), silver, turquoise, pearls, rubiesAccession: 1993.14On view in:Gallery 380