- Museum number
Bronze horse's helmet (chamfrain or chamfron); made from a single large piece of hammered sheet metal with a central ridge and holes cut to accommodate the horses's ears; holes around the edge for attachment to a cloth lining, presumably originally padded; originally worn over the top of the horse's head.
- Production date
- 3rdC-7thC (?)
Depth: 11.00 - 11.50 (of ear slots)
Length: 22.00 - 22.50 centimetres (from bottom of rear edge to left and right ear slot)
Length: 29.50 centimetres (front to back along central ridge)
Length: 42.50 centimetres (rear edge across crown)
Width: 19 centimetres (between ear slots along front edge)
Width: 45 centimetres (max across crown)
Width: 25.50 centimetres (max at bottom)
Width: 3.90 centimetres (max of left ear slot)
Width: 2.90 centimetres (max of right ear slot)
- Curator's comments
This group are discussed by P.R.S. Moorey on p. 119, cat.700, in the Catalogue of the Heeramaneck collection in the Los Angeles County Museum with the comment that "As all examples of this class of object are plain and without recorded archaeological context, their date is conjectured. A date before the Seleucid period is unlikely. They are most likely to be pieces of Parthian or Sasanian horse armor." However, they do not resemble the horse armour famously depicted on the late Sasanian grotto at Taq-i Bustan. The only excavated version dates to the 9th century BC and comes from Burnt Building II of level IVB at the site of Hasanlu, in north-west Iran, but differs in having eyeholes and extending over the upper cheeks of the horse. The size and condition of the pieces represented by the BM object and closely comparable pieces in Los Angeles County Museum of Art (inv. nr. M.76.174.152), Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (inv. nr. 1969.249), and two others known from the art market (references given by Littauer & Crouwel) suggests that they were originally worn by quite small ponies (rather than large horses), were worn over lining (probably padded), may have been covered with patterned fabric or hide, possibly belong to one or more finds of chariot teams. All are reportedly from the same region of northwest Iran and appeared on the art market at about the same period. The BM piece was said to be Urartian when it was acquired, hence was initially displayed together with Assyrian material in the Assyrian Basement. Unfortunately, very little is known about pony-led chariots at any period in this region, and confirmation of the date of these pieces must await archaeological evidence.
The object was sent for moulding between 20 January and 2 May 1975 (WAA, 'Objects to Lab' book). Research Lab. Report 11/8/78.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012 24 May - 30 Sep, London, BM, 'The horse: from Arabia to Royal Ascot'
2010 29 May-15 Oct, USA, Kentucky Horse Park, 'A Gift from the Desert'
2007 21 Apr-19 Aug, Mannheim, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museums, 'Horse Power'
1983 May-1984 Feb, London, Imperial War Museum, Animals in War
- Complete; fair
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Deposited 25 September 1970 (item 2416); letter dated 25 September 1970.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number