A Safavid helmet (Kulāh-Khūd)

Safavid Iran, 18th century

Gold overlaid steel 

73cm overall height, 19.5 diameter

Provenance: A Princely private collection.

Stock no.: A5345

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Full Description

A Safavid helmet (Kulāh-Khūd)

This type of helmet is commonly known in Persian as a “kulāh-khūd”. The watered-steel hemispherical bowl ends at the top with a protruding spike. Riveted at the front of the bowl is a screw bracket that secures a sliding nose protector (damāghak) with flattened, lobed finials. Above the bracket on each side are riveted two small plume holders (jā parī) with flattened lobed bases. A long mail aventail, made of very fine riveted rings to protect the neck and face, attaches through holes around the rim of the bowl. The mail’s lower edge ends in four longer triangular points and multiple shorter points between them.

The spike is damascened with foliate scrolls, while the base of the spike has steel openwork that carries inscriptions. The lobed finials of the nose protector also have steel openwork with inscriptions. The bowl is decorated with radiating ridged lines damascened in gold, which lead to the lozenge-shaped palmettes. These in turn, are connected to the triangular palmettes that form a band encircling the rim. All the palmettes are gold damascened, with the lozenge-shaped palmettes carrying inscriptions of the invocations to names of God. A helmet of the same type, dated to the Safavid period, is housed at the Military Museum in Tehran (Inv.No.3).

On the lower finial of the nose-guard:

نصر من الله وفتح قريب 

“Help from God and a speedy victory” (part of Qur’an 61:13).

On the upper finial of the nose guard:

انا فتحنا لك فتحا مبينا 

“Verily We have granted thee a manifest victory” (Qur’an 48:1)

Around the base of the spike, invocations of Attributes of God:

یا حنان یا منان یا ديان يا برهان 

O Beneficent! O Compassionate! O Requiter! O Proof!

In the cartouches around the base, invocations to further Attributes: 

يا علّام الغيوب / يا غفّار الذنوب / يا كاشف الكروب / يا مقلب القلوب / يا طبيب القلوب / يا منور القلوب / يا انيس القلوب / يا مفرج الهموم / يا منفس الغموم / يا معين الضعفاء / يا صاحب الغرباء / يا ناصر الاولياء / يا قاهر الاعداء / يا رافع السماء / يا انيس الاصفياء / يا حبيب الاتقياء / يا كنز الفقراء / يا اله الاغنياء / يا اكرم الكرماء

O Knower of mysteries! O Forgiver of sins! O Remover of worries! O Converter of hearts! O Physician of hearts! O Illuminator of hearts! O Companion of hearts! O Easer of troubles! O Expeller of grief! O Supporter of the weak! O Companion of strangers! O Helper of the (God’s) friends! O Vanquisher of enemies! O Raiser of the sky! O Friend of the pure! O Beloved of the pious! O Treasure House for the poor! O God of the wealthy! O Most Generous of the generous! 

Comparative Material:

A very similar helmet currently lies in the Hermitage Museum.


Moshtagh Khorasani, Manouchehr. Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period.Tübingen: Legat-Verlag, 2006. P.716, Cat.407.


A Safavid helmet (Kulāh-Khūd)