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Home > Auctions > 24th November 2020 > Greek Archaic Macedonian or Illyrian Bronze Helmet

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LOT 0433

Estimate
GBP (£) 18,000 - 24,000
EUR (€) 19,820 - 26,430
USD ($) 23,350 - 31,130

Opening Bid
£18,000 (EUR 19,824; USD 23,348) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Greek Archaic Macedonian or Illyrian Bronze Helmet

Mid 6th-5th century BC

A substantial bronze helmet with protective cheek-guards, made from a single sheet, the bowl of domed form with the crown fitted with a broad raised band, made of two parallel corrugated ridges running over the skull from front to back, each with a smaller ridge at the outer edge; rectangular square-cut frontal opening with a double horizontal ridge across the brow, short flaring curved neck-guard developing behind the cheek-guards; two holes to the side of the temples, probably for attachment of a funerary gold mask; the curving protective cheek-pieces perforated at the tip for the attachment of a chin strap, applied bronze strip to the rim with original bronze rivets forming a moulded band of dots between narrow bands; three holes to the back, possibly for the loop of the crest attachment. 1.7 kg total, 49cm including stand (19 1/4"). Fine condition.

Provenance
From an important London gallery; acquired from a French auction house; formerly in the private collection of Mr Gilles Grimm; much of his personal collection was acquired from collections such as that of Axel Guttmann; accompanied by an academic report by military expert Dr. Raffaele D'Amato; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10193-167378.
Literature
See Pflug, H., 'Illirysche Helme' in Antike Helme, RGZM Monographien 14, Mainz,1988, pp.43-64; Christie's, The Axel Guttmann Collection of Ancient Arms and Armour, part 1, London, 2002; Christie's, The Axel Guttmann Collection of Ancient Arms and Armour, part 2, London, 2004; the helmet finds a perfect parallel, even in the very precise riveting, with the helmet from Macedonia today at Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt (Pflug, 1988, p.49, figs.7-8); of the same typology one of the helmets of the Guttman collection (Christie's, 2004, pp.66-67 n.69); another nearly identical helmet from the Guttman collection (Christie's, 2002, p.66, n.55) showing the same rivetted edge.
Footnotes
The Illyrian helmets of the second type almost entirely consisted of a single thin bronze sheet. Their formal characteristics are: a slightly retractable skull, emphasising the dome as an independent element of the helmet, and an elongated neck protection, separated from the pointed cheek pieces by deep side wraps. These helmets were originally composed of several rivetted sections, the two ribs over the crown giving added protection to the weakest part of the join. From the 6th century BC, these helmets – like the one here – were made in one piece but retained the ridges and incised guidelines of the old central join as a decorative element, also with the practical function of holding the wide horsehair crest of a Hoplite.