A GERMAN MORION C.1570
About the piece
The morion was the helmet of choice in Italy while the military in Germany wore burgonets almost exclusively. Special guard units who protected royalty, the nobility and elite clergy wore morions in Germany for their exotic form as well as for protection. This example is decorated on one side with a pair of military musicians flanked by mystical beasts which evolve into foliage. The opposite side is decorated with a bearded warrior in puffed and slashed costume, probably an officer, with hand to his sword and holding a halberd in the other, suggesting that the helmet was worn by an officer of the guard. The crest is decorated with scrolling strap work matching the brim. The brim terminals are decorated with a pair of portrait heads, one a European wearing a helmet of this type and the other a Turk in turban, a reminder of the constant threat of the mighty Ottomans who, at this time were virtually at the peak of their power. All the decoration is on a pelleted ground known as goldschmelts and the entire helmet would have been blued and gilt originally. The helmet is of one piece, finely formed, with the junction of the crest and the skull emphasized by a step or valley. The back is mounted with its original plume holder from which a splay of brightly colored feathers would have risen over the crest.Height: 10 1/2"