Ceremonial Helmet thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South-East Asia, Room 47a

Ceremonial Helmet

ca. 15th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This head-dress set with jewels formed part of a gold hoard dating to the 15th/16th century Mon Kingdom of Pegu (see Model Pagoda 02755(IS)). It was excavated in 1855 from a stupa relic chamber at the base of the Shwe Dagon, Rangoon. It is believed to be the ceremonial helmet worn by the famed Mon Queen Shin-saw-bu (r.1453-1460) as she progressed through her royal city of Pegu. Shaped like a turban the dome is moulded to possibly fit a coiled length of hair which was held in place by the long pin passed through the holes at the base. The unusual appendage with the lozenge shaped depression may have held a jewel and was worn to the front over the queen's nose.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold, decorated with gems, raised and further embellished with repoussé and incising work
Brief Description
Burmese gold headdress shaped like a turban and set with jewels, Mon Kingdom of Pegu, ca. 15th century.
Physical Description
Headdress shaped as a turban finishing in a flattened fold to the side. The dome, which rests on a flaring coronet set with 62 gems is moulded to possibly fit a coiled length of hair which was held in place by the long pin passed through the holes at the base. The unusual appendage with a lozenge shape depression may have held a jewel and was worn to the front over the nose.
Dimensions
  • Height: 19.7cm
  • Maximum diameter: 21.5cm
Style
Production typeUnique
Gallery Label
Headdress About 1450 From the same hoard as the reliquary, this is believed to be the ceremonial helmet worn by Queen Shin-saw-bu, ruler of the Mon people between 1453 and 1460. It was moulded to fit over her hair and held in place by a long pin passing through the two holes. The extension came down over her nose. Gold decorated with 62 gems Burma Museum no. 02758(IS)(14/06/2011)
Object history
Excavated by labourers when building barracks on the site of an old pagoda east of the Shwe Dagon, Rangoon in 1855
Summary
This head-dress set with jewels formed part of a gold hoard dating to the 15th/16th century Mon Kingdom of Pegu (see Model Pagoda 02755(IS)). It was excavated in 1855 from a stupa relic chamber at the base of the Shwe Dagon, Rangoon. It is believed to be the ceremonial helmet worn by the famed Mon Queen Shin-saw-bu (r.1453-1460) as she progressed through her royal city of Pegu. Shaped like a turban the dome is moulded to possibly fit a coiled length of hair which was held in place by the long pin passed through the holes at the base. The unusual appendage with the lozenge shaped depression may have held a jewel and was worn to the front over the queen's nose.
Bibliographic References
  • Sykes, Col. W.H.; F.R.S.;M.P.;Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society; Account of some Golden Relics discovered at Rangoon; Vol 17; 1860; pp 298-308; ill Singer, Noel F.; Arts of Asia; Sept./Oct. 1992 The Gold Relics of Bana Thau Arts of Asia, Sept/Oct 1992, p. 81 Exhibition National Museum Canberra, Australia, 11 March - 24 June 2001, Exhibtion Catalogue, Gold and Civilisation, John Guy, "Gold in Asia", pp169 - 191, ill. p. 182
  • Saya Thein, Shin Sawbu Journal Burmese Research Society,1911, Vol.I.,Part 2.
  • Burmese art / John Lowry. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1974 Number: 0112901794 :cat. no. 28
Other Number
7595 - India Museum Slip Book
Collection
Accession Number
02758(IS)

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 17, 1999
Record URL