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Rare 16-17th C. Tibetan Helmet with original Chinese silk brocade textile

( ID: ca1000 )

A wonderful 16-17th C. or earlier Tibetan helmet of known form that has retained its original brocade silk ear and neck coverings which have remained in vivid and beautiful condition, with few losses or tears.

The helmet is composed of eight plates that would have originally been wound with leather thongs, however in the working life of the helmet the plates have been secured with iron to prevent shifting and movement, and likely after the leather straps would have worn away.  The helmet retains its internal sackcloth padded interior.

The brocade flaps are made of silk as an external design and have a lightly padded interior.  The designs are beautiful and indicate Chinese workmanship of an early period, likely late Ming or early Qing period.  Chinese textiles were highly prized in Tibet (as chiseled Tibetan ironwork was prized in China) and some of the finer examples of Tibetan armor are mounted with Chinese textiles as embellishment, such as this example.  The brocade is decorated with blue and yellow cloud scrolls on the outside and with dragon designs viewed on the inside, with a multi-colored cloud designs

See LaRocca "Arms and Armor of Tibet" for similar examples and Metropolitan Museum Collection Accession Numbers 36.25.86 and 2008.354 for two examples that are of direct similar construction but not complete with textile.

 

Photo #1 of Rare 16-17th C. Tibetan Helmet with original Chinese silk brocade textile
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Photo #10 of Rare 16-17th C. Tibetan Helmet with original Chinese silk brocade textile
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Photo #16 of Rare 16-17th C. Tibetan Helmet with original Chinese silk brocade textile