Place of Origin: Eastern Tibet
Date: 16th Century
Overall Height: 195mm
Bowl Diameter: 230mm
The two-piece bowl is fitted with heavy iron mounts which are pierced and chiselled with pairs of dragons entwined with scrollwork, floral motifs, and auspicious emblems. These are decorated with thick gold and silver damascene, subsequently engraved.
A pair of teardrop shaped devices at the centre of the vertical bands both contain freely moving dragons, which are ingeniously retained within a cage-work of scrolls. Each side of the skull if fitted with a raised iron disc which has been gold-damascened with scrolling foliage; one side of the brim is fitted with five ornamental raised rivet heads deeply chiselled and gold-damascened with scrolling foliage.
The two-piece bowl is secured by means of an internal iron strip underlying each seam, similarities can been found in another two piece helmet in the Metropolitan Museum, described as Mongolian or Chinese (1350-1450) illustrated LaRocca 2006, no.18, P.83.
The applied decorative ironwork also provide us with important clues in order to date this helmet and relate it to known examples of Tibetan ironwork; the two side discs and five rivet heads are comparable to four harness fittings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, see LaRocca (2006), no.133, p.247, dated 15th-17th century. The teardrop devices can be compared to two similar plaques found on horse bridles (IBIN) no’s. 134 and 135, p.248-251, both plaques shown are undeniably beautiful, but understood not to be free moving.