Place of Origin: Northern India
Date: 18th Century
Overall Diameter: 200mm (8 Inches)
The watered steel dome of this Indian helmet is overlaid in gold with intricate panels of Islamic calligraphy. A tall, faceted spike is attached with a plaque-base to the helmet’s apex and decorated throughout with scrolling vine tendrils in gold. The lower edge of the helmet is decorated with a sequence of finely formed seven-petalled flowerheads between closely packed trefoils. Two plume holders and a nasal bar are secured to the bowl’s front.
The reverse of the helmet has been repaired using steel plaques which have been formed to convey a pair of curious birds atop curving stems. The birds’ plumage is picked out with neatly incised lines and cross-hatching, the stems’ leafy texture suggested by the repeating chevrons that line them. The repair is graceful and of exceptional quality, and brings to mind Kintsugi, the Japanese art of reassembling broken pottery pieces with gold, so that in embracing flaws and imperfections, the artist can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. A camail of riveted iron links with four tails is suspended from the helmet’s brim.