Helmet

Greek, South Italian

525-500 BC

This helmet is unique in that it was hammered from a single piece of bronze. Its decoration includes intricate designs made by repoussé, punching, tracing, and engraving. The top of the helmet is surmounted by a ram’s head whose horns, ears, and eyes have been restored. On the helmet proper, cheekpieces decorated with bronze appliqués of rams’ heads mirror the ram’s head above. Over the forehead, an elaborate series of engraved curls falls in a precise row to form the hairline. Below the curls is a curvilinear repoussé line that forms the eyebrows and terminates in bearded snakes’ heads with forked tongues. Images of warriors wearing helmets such as this one were depicted on Greek metalwork and ceramics of the sixth century B.C., but this is the only three-dimensional example that has survived from that early period. Its elaborate form and light weight suggest that it was a parade helmet rather than one actually worn in battle.

Source: Saint Louis Art Museum

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