The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Kulah Khud
  • Kulah Khud
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Persia
  • 17th century
    18th century (altered)
  • Steel, gold, copper alloy
  • Diameter: 20.6 cm
  • OA1441
  • Oriental Armoury
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Helmet or kulah khud, composed of an unusually heavy watered steel skull divided into sixteen segments each filled with foliage, flowers, cats, birds and arabesques, all inlaid in gold. Around the base of the skull small cartouches containing gold flower blossoms, again worked in true inlay, are interspersed between the main decorative segments. The sharp cut-off at the brim indicates that it is unfinished. The interior of the bowl shows evidence of having been heated and hammered in the area where an applied brim should be. The four-sided finial spike, a nineteenth-century replacement, has been false-damascened in gold with foliate arabesques. The base of the spike is decorated with sixteen cartouches executed in gold false-damascening.

    Two plume-holders are riveted to the front of the skull, flanking a central nasal. Their bases are trefoil-shaped and decorated with arabesques overlaid in gold. The plume holders also display small tulip-like flowers in gold overlay. The nasal is secured to the skull by means of a screw and bracket, and consists of a bar extending down below the lower edge of the skull and terminating at both ends, in trefoil-shaped plates. The nasal bar is decorated with small cartouches while the terminals are decorated with arabesques overlaid in gold.

    An aventail comprised of butted steel links is connected to the helmet by means of larger mail links. A design of diamonds and horizontal lines has been interwoven into the body of the aventail using yellow copper alloy links. The aventail terminates into dags of varying sizes. Some sections have been made longer and wider than others so that they drape down over the shoulders. A ‘swallow’s tail’ is found at the rear to drape over and protect the back of the neck.

    This helmet probably once had a applied brow band around the base of the skull. Similar helmets are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. nos. 02.5.5 and 02.5.7).