Southwestern Iran / Helmet with divine figures beneath a bird with outstretched wings / 14th century B.C.Southwestern Iran
Helmet with divine figures beneath a bird with outstretched wings
14th century B.C.

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Middle Eastern; Persian; Southwest Iranian
Creator Name-CRT: Southwestern Iran
Title: Helmet with divine figures beneath a bird with outstretched wings
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: -139
Creation End Date: -130
Creation Date: 14th century B.C.
Creation Place: Southwestern Iran
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Bronze; gold foil over bitumen
Dimensions: H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)

This example of military headgear is elaborately decorated with three figures on the front. The central one is a male water deity who holds a flowing vase at his chest. He has a multiple horned crown, a beard, curled hair, and a mountainlike or scale pattern on the lower body like the one on the background. The top of the garment crisscrosses his chest. He is flanked by two female deities with horned crowns who hold their hands up in supplication. Their robes are flounced and they wear necklaces and bracelets . Hovering over the figures is a raptor-like bird with carefully delineated feathers. At the back is a decorated tube that may have held an actual feather plume. All of these elements were carved from bitumen and overlaid with silver and then gold foil with incised decoration, a technique that, along with the style and types of the figures, point to Elam as the source. The water god might be either the Elamite Inshushinak or Napirisha, similar to Ea, the Mesopotamian god of the sweet waters.

Such a helmet would have been worn by a warrior of high rank, and perhaps on special occasions rather than in actual battle. The representations of protective and important deities could certainly have been apotropaic for the wearer.

AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 63.74
Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1963
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
Style or Period: Middle Elamite period
AMICA ID: MMA_.63.74
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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