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A GREEK BRONZE CORINTHIAN HELMET
A GREEK BRONZE CORINTHIAN HELMET
A GREEK BRONZE CORINTHIAN HELMET
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A GREEK BRONZE CORINTHIAN HELMET
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THE PROPERTY OF A CALIFORNIA PRIVATE COLLECTOR
A GREEK BRONZE CORINTHIAN HELMET

ARCHAIC PERIOD, CIRCA EARLY TO MID 6TH CENTURY B.C.

Details
A GREEK BRONZE CORINTHIAN HELMET
ARCHAIC PERIOD, CIRCA EARLY TO MID 6TH CENTURY B.C.
9 ¼ in. (23.5 cm.) high
Provenance
with Safani Gallery, New York.
Acquired by the current owner from the above, 2000.

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Hannah Fox Solomon
Hannah Fox Solomon Vice President, Head of Sale, Specialist

Lot Essay


The Corinthian helmet was perhaps the most successful Greek helmet type beginning in the Archaic period. It became the most popular choice by the late 7th-early 6th century B.C, shutting out its competitors due to its combination of elegant form with maximum protection, leaving just a small area of the warrior's face exposed.

The type is recognizable by its characteristic almond-shaped eye-holes, an elongated nose-guard rounded at its tip, and integral cheek pieces terminating in points at the lower edges. The form minimized the exposed skin to a small T-shaped area of the face, adding extra protection for the eyes, nose and mouth. A leather or felt liner would have been inserted to the interior for comfort. By 650 B.C. the type was hammered from a single heavy sheet, rather than the earlier method where two halves were joined by a central seam. This structural refinement added further strength to the helmet and afforded the warrior better protection.

The present example typifies the “Classical pinnacle of proportions and form” that took root in the first decades of the 6th century B.C. (p. 138 in Hixenbaugh, Ancient Greek Helmets). Note the gently sloping sides that create an elegant S-shaped curve from the top of the rounded dome towards the flaring neck guards, as well as the delicately peaked break between neck- and cheek-guards. The almond-shaped eyes gracefully extend to their outer canthii and are outlined with thick moldings, hatched for further emphasis. The nose guard is slender but formed out of thicker sheet, demonstrating both its function and aesthetics. The entire helmet features a row of meticulously-drilled small perforations around the edge, a feature of ornamentation rather than function. For the same fastidiously-drilled perforations along the border on slightly differently shaped Corinthian helmets, see nos. C589-599 in Hixenbaugh, op. cit.; for the closest parallels for the helmet shape but with larger perforations see nos. C413-417.

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