Western Europe, Germany, ca. 6th to 7th century CE. A beautiful example of an iron helmet frame of the Spangenhelm (literally "strap helmet") variety. The helmet is composed of a thick horizontal head band with riveted ends as well as several petite rivet holes, a pair of arching vertical straps with a mutual central perforation, and several iron rivets attaching the vertical panels to the horizontal band. The openwork design of this frame suggests that it was covered on the inside with cloth or padded leather on the interior as well as thick panels of leather or hide or lightweight metal plates on the exterior. The overall form of this helmet has been employed by warrior cultures since the 6th century CE due to the ease of construction and ample protection. Nice patina has formed across this example. Size: 8.6" L x 8.5" W x 5.625" H (21.8 cm x 21.6 cm x 14.3 cm)
Helmets of the Spangenhelm type have been used in Europe from the Dark Age Migration period circa 5th century CE by cultures like the Goths, Slavs, Huns, and Vandals, and up through the end of the Medieval times. Cross-band helmets were also utilized by western and European warriors until the 17th century CE. Some Spangenhelm helmets were inset between crossing plates with iron or copper panels, with the iron framework covered by bonnets of fur or fabric, and the interior with linings of cloth or leather pads.
For a stunning example of a gilt Spangenhelm helmet of Byzantine or Germanic origin, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 42.50.1.
Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA, acquired in 2018; ex-Hundred & One Antiques, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; ex-private old Canadian collection of antique arms and armour, inv. no. 433828 G/8
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Losses to some original rivets as shown. Slight bending to overall form of vertical panels and horizontal band, with minor nicks and abrasions to exterior and interior surfaces, and light encrustations. Light earthen deposits and wonderful patina throughout. Old inventory number "433828 G/8" written in pencil inside horizontal band.