Ceremonial And Protective

Throughout time humanity has always known conflict and ceremony. These conflict and ceremonial paths have led humanity to create (and destroy) many magnificent wonders throughout our short existence on this planet. This exhibition investigates some of the helmets that humanity has created for both military and ceremonial purposes, and explores how they have changed over time. From early Vikings, to explorers in the 17th Century, both the purpose and practicality of these headpieces have changed. Some cultures and time periods chose to focus strictly on creating protective headwear to ensure soldier survival, while others created beautifully painted and crested ceremonial pieces. This selection of helmets demonstrates the diversity of cultures in these different time periods, with examples of both military style helmets and purely ceremonial headwear. 

Named after the town they were discovered in, the Vikso helmets are some of the earliest examples of bronzed horned helmets. Dating back to the early part of the first millennium BC, these helmets are believed to have been part of religious ceremonies.
This Bronze Samno-Attic helmet was one preferred by higher ranking Roman military leaders. Notice the hinged cheek pieces and wave line on the forehead. These were meant to represent hair. Some of these helmets were even decorated with gold and jewels to display wealth and power.
The Corinthian helmet is one that is highly recognizable. Dating back to 550 BC these helmets were constructed on a purely military basis. They had extended neck guards for better protection from swords and arrows, and were created more spherical to better fit the head.
An earlier look at a Corinthian helmet. (500-400 BC) Very simple in design this helmet lacks the extended neck, nose and cheek guards commonly found on later Corinthian helmets.
Not all helmets were made for military purposes, this Austrian helmet was strictly ceremonial and was worn at funerals. Notice the steel construction and gold crested horns.
Not as aesthetically pleasing as some other helmets, the Sallet style of helmet was popular among light infantry. Additions could be added such as a bevor to protect the neck, or a visor made of steel to protect the face.
This strange onion like shaped helmet is commonly referred to as a "Turban Helmet". Popular in the Ottoman Empire, these helmets functioned not only as armor but also held some religious qualities to the wearer. Notice the Islamic inscriptions covering the helmet. These are prayers wishing the owner well and were usually inscribed in gold or silver. This example combines both protective qualities and ceremonial purposes.
Behold the wonder of the Ottoman Empire. This helmet is not only crested in gold and silver but is also beautifully engraved. Worn by Turkish religious or military leaders at the height of the Ottoman Empire, this helmet is truly something to behold.
Another beautifully engraved helmet. This helmet not only offered full face protection, but was also decorated with engraved brands and was gilded and etched with emblems of the Borromeo family. Probably belonging to Renato I Borromeo who was a military captain and eventually the ambassador to King Philip III of Spain.
Gilded and engraved beautifully, the motifs of flowers and leaves truly make this helmet stand out. A crescent moon crest with the motto "So I Will Grow Nobler" appear on the helmet, which was the motto of Vincenzo I Gonzaga who was the duke of Mantua and Monferrato. This was not only a status symbol but would also be worn into battle.
This full face helmet offered incredible protection. Or did it? Notice the hole in the back of the helmet, most likely caused by a spear or halberd. This helmet was strictly military in nature, and was likely worn by heavy infantry.
Worn by soldiers in New France in the early 17th century these helmets were somewhat modeled after the Morion helmet which was popular with the Spanish conquistadors. This helmet could be produced very cheaply and could be embellished with decorations further increasing it's popularity. Quite a change from the full face masks from earlier times.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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