Oirat Helmet of the XVII – mid-XVIII centuries from the State Hermitage Museum

Leonid A. Bobrov, Vsevolod N. Obraztsov, Alexey V. Salnikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The article describes a riveted iron helmet (Inv. No. VO-1237) from the collection of the State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg), originally attributed as “Mongolian Shishak”. The typological analysis allowed to specify the dating and attribution of the head. According to the material of manufacture, the helmet belongs to the class of iron, according to the design of the crown, to the section riveted, according to the shape of the dome to the type of spherocylindrical. Overall height – 26 cm, diameter: 20.5 – 21.5 cm. Weight – 1.075 kg. The sill of the helmet is riveted of four S-shaped plate-sector sections, the joints of which are covered with narrow plates with a smooth edge and a longitudinal stiffener. The lining not only connects the elements of the crown to each other, but also strengthens the design of the head, protecting the most vulnerable parts of the dome - docking seams. An additional latch plates of the crown are a cap-shaped exposed and a convex rim along the bottom edge of the crown. A box-shaped visor consisting of a narrow horizontal plate – a "shelf" and a vertical "shield" is riveted to the front part of the helmet. Crowned with a helmet faceted tube for plume. Through holes are punched along the bottom edge of the crown, into which copper loops are inserted for fastening the barmitsa. However, as a protection for the ears and neck, at present, a pair of forged headphones and a headplate are used on the helmet. It was established that the helmet of VO-1237 belongs to a special group of Oirat (Dzungar, Kalmyk) helmets originating from the territory of the Volga region, the southern regions of Western Siberia, SouthEastern Kazakhstan, Western Mongolia and Tibet (14 copies). A distinctive feature of the helmets of the series is the riveted crown of the characteristic "pitcher-shaped" shape. It is very likely that in making helmets of such an unusual design, Oirat masters were inspired by the image of a Buddhist stupa (Kalm. "Suburgan"). In addition, a high-crowned helmet was clearly visible on the battlefield. In the course of a dynamic equestrian battle, such a helmet helped the unit's troops quickly determine the location of their commander, which probably facilitated the control of troops during the battle. Design features and design systems suggest that the sample of protective weapons was manufactured by Dzhungar or Kalmyk gunsmiths in the second half of the XVII th – mid-XVIII th centuries. As a combat head, a helmet could be used in a later period.

Translated title of the contributionОйратский шлем второй половины XVII – середины XVIII вв. из Государственного Эрмитажа
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-19
Number of pages15
JournalBylye Gody
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • 6.01.MM HISTORY

State classification of scientific and technological information



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