Sunday, March 29, 2020

Thracian Silver Helmet, 4th Century BCE

Now in the Detroit Institute of Arts

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

Even after clicking through, I wish I had photos from other angles.

I'm intrigued by the thickness of the lower edges, but wonder if the actual crown and dome of the helmet is much thinner. The damaged sections certainly look as though they are particularly thin!

Assuming I'm not mistaken in what I think I'm seeing, I'm a bit baffled.

It seems fairly obvious enough that a silver helmet would be "parade armor" not meant for battle, and thus you need not worry about matching the thicknesses of an actual helmet, since it isn't meant to actually deflect blows.

But if you're going to make the helmet thinner than it would need to be for actual battle, why would you then make the lower edges so very thick? It would seem to be a waste of valuable silver. Could it be that the thickness has some actual purpose to it? Perhaps it's structurally necessary, to keep the helmet from being too fragile to hold together?

Or perhaps it is merely a byproduct of the production method? The museum states it was hammered from a single sheet of silver, which fits with the thinness of the crown and dome, as the center of the sheet would be drawn out the most when hammered into shape, but then why leave the edges so thick instead of trimming the excess silver for use elsewhere?