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A Rare Ottoman Gilt Copper (Tombak) Helmet (Çiçak)
Turkey; first half of the 16th century
Height: 28 centimetres (11 inches)
Estimated price: £300,000-500,000

In Ottoman Turkey in the 16th century there was a trend for making important items out of gilt copper which was known as tombak. While tombak was used primarily in the mosque and home for objects such as lamps, incense burners, candlesticks, and bowls, it also had an important function in a military context. This magnificent gilt-copper helmet (çiçak) is a rare surviving example. Because of the malleability of the copper, tombak armour is unlikely to have been used in battle but rather for parades and other ceremonial use, enhancing the pomp and colour of the Ottoman army.

Measuring 28 centimetres in height and of a typical domed form, this helmet has been part of an important group of Ottoman armour, in a private European collection. The sides of the helmet have slightly flared facets alternately engraved with elegant flowering lotuses. The conical finial (top of the helmet) exhibits similar decoration punctuated with three cusped medallions and a spiked turban knop above. The gilding is notably well preserved. Similar tombak helmets, which are also dated to the 16th century, are in the MilitaryMuseum and Topkapi Saray in Istanbul.

Christie’s Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Sale will take place in London on April 25, 2013.

For more information please visit http://www.christies.com

First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 21, 2013.