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Ceremonial helmet

Ceremonial helmet

  • Place of origin:

    Burma (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, decorated with gems, raised and further embellished with repoussé and incising work

  • Museum number:

    02758(IS)

  • Gallery location:

    South-East Asia, Room 47a, case 16

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.

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.

Place of Origin

Burma (made)

Date

ca. 15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Gold, decorated with gems, raised and further embellished with repoussé and incising work

Dimensions

Height: 19.7 cm, Diameter: 21.5 cm maximum

Object history note

Excavated by labourers when building barracks on the site of an old pagoda east of the Shwe Dagon, Rangoon in 1855

Descriptive line

Burmese gold headdress shaped like a turban and set with jewels, Mon Kingdom of Pegu, ca. 15th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

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.
cat. no. 28
Burmese art / John Lowry. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1974 Number: 0112901794 :

Labels and date

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]

Materials

Gold; Gem

Techniques

Raising; Repousse'; Incising

Categories

Hats & headwear; Gemstones; India Museum

Production Type

Unique

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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