This sumptuously decorated steel helmet, richly damascened with gold around its borders and complemented by a chainmail of very small finely-crafted brass-and-iron butted mail links, is a rare type worn only by Sikhs. Made in northern India (probably in the Punjab) around the latter part of the eighteenth century, its design is such that it can accommodate the top-knot of hair worn by Sikh men.
Very few Sikh helmets have survived to the present day, and one of this quality and condition is especially rare. Of particular note are certain panels of gold decoration on the upper part of the helmet, incorporating birds and foliate shapes, which actually cunningly conceal slight flaws in the steel of which the helmet-skull is made.
Image © By kind permission of the Trustees of the Wallace Collection