|Circa 18th century, Moro People, Philippines|
Spanish or Portuguese-style morion helmets made locally in Asia are known artifacts but they are rare. This example is unusual because rather than being a locally made copy of such a helmet, the maker has gone to great lengths to 'localise' it with scrolling, Islamic-inspired pierced work which decorates the entire crest, the rim and appears in bands across the remainder of the helmet.
The pierced scrollwork relates to that seen on utilitarian items cast in the Islamic part of the Southern Philippines, such as betel sets and tobacco boxes.
Locally-made morion helmets became prized trade and heirloom items among some local rulers, particularly in Eastern Indonesia. The Raja of Sikka on the island of Fores in Eastern Indonesia adopted one such helmet as part of the regency's regalia and there are images of the Raja wearing his regalia including the helmet. Flores had a long association with Portuguese settlers some of whom seem to have settled there in the wake of the fall of the Portuguese enclave in Malacca in 1641. The royal family of Sikka had adopted the Portuguese name of da Silva as early as the sixteenth century. The family continued in power until the 1950s (Hamilton, 1994, p. 149).
The example here has a superb sculptural quality. Each end of the broad rim comes to a point that is slightly raised. The overall form is that of a rooster's comb, dramatic and angular.
The helmet has been cast as a single piece, save for a plume holder which has been soldered to one of the front lobes. A hinged jaw guard is either not present or (perhaps more likely) the helmet was never fitted with one.
|Location of Origin: Asia|
|Dimensions: length: 36cm, height: 25.5cm|
|Primary Classification: Asian Art : Other|
|Secondary Classification: Antique guns, Antique Swords for Sale : Armour for Sale|
|This is a rare and highly sculptural example of south Philippines' Islamic brasswork.|
References:Hamilton, R. (ed.), Gift of the Cotton Maiden: Textiles of Flores and the Solor Islands, Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA, 1994.van Zonneveld, A., Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2001.
|Provenance: Private collection, US|
|Price:||Item has been sold.|
|Offered By:||Items for sale from dealers we worked with previously|
121 Mount Vernon, Boston, MA 02108 USA
Item has been sold.
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