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The helmet from Nemiya, Ukraine

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Introduction

As part of the preparation of the Catalog of European helmets of 9th-12th century, we had the the opportunity to personally view the helmet from Nemiya, Ukraine, one of the best-preserved one-piece helmets. The two-hour examination, which took place on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 in the building of the Déri Museum (Déri Múzeum) in Debrecen with the participation of museum staff, photographer János Mesteller (Kazár Bazár) and crafter János Aranyosi, helped to modify and supplement some previously published information. In the following article, we present the most detailed publication of this find so far. All works are created with the consent of the above-mentioned museum.

The helmet from Nemiya. Photo by János Mesteller.


Circumstances of the finding and place of storage

The helmet is surrounded by a number of mysteries that make it impossible to make detailed judgments about the find. What is certain is the fact that the helmet is an stray find, discovered on the left bank of the Dniester near Nemiya (Ukrainian: Немия, Russian: Немия; Mohyliv-Podilskyi district, Vinnytsia Oblast, present-day Ukraine) during the construction of the railway in 1892 (Kirpičnikov 1962: 230). Since 1901 at the latest, the helmet was deposited in the collections of the museum in Kamianets-Podilskyi (today’s Кам’янець-Подильський державний исторический музей-заповидник), where it was understood as an Old Rus artifact, but was not published with a picture (Secinskij 1901: 287; 1909: 12). In the younger of Secinskij’s texts, we learn that the inventory number of the helmet was 177. In connection with the helmet, the name of A. Bačinskij (А. Бачинський) is given in this source, whose exact relationship to the find is not known – it may be the finder or information provider at the time of registration.

Kirpičnikov states that the helmet was lost during First World War (Kirpičnikov 1962), which does not seem likely in view of the facts we have found. The helmet appears in Secinskij’s handwritten entries in the inventory book of the museum in Kamianets-Podilskyi, which were created sometime around 1929 (inv. no. 522, page 13 of handwritten entries, entry no. 39). The presence of the helmet in the museum at the turn of the 20s and 30s of the 20th century supports the idea that the find disappeared from the museum during the Second World War. Kirpičnikov adds that a single photograph was taken before the loss, a redrawing of which he publishes in his work (Kirpičnikov 1962). The photograph is still in the museum in Kamianets-Podilskyi (inv. no. К Фдп 1877) with information that the helmet was found in January 1893. The discrepancy in the dates of the find cannot be satisfactorily resolved, but it is possible that the helmet was found at the end of 1892 and it was handed over to the museum in January of the following year. It may also be a shift due to the transition to the Gregorian calendar, which has been in effect in Russia since 1918.

Kirpičnikov considers the helmet lost in 1962. In 1968, Erdélyi responded to his article by his own work that comments the same helmet, which at that time had already been “for several decades” in the Déri Museum in Debrecen (Erdélyi 1968). A search of an inventory book from 1922 led Erdélyi to conclude that the helmet was not in the museum by that time, which again points to the idea that the movement of the helmet did not take place during the First World War, but in the Second World War. However, it is not known exactly how the helmet got to the museum. The helmet can still be found in the Déri Museum with inventory no. 2022.1.1.1, in the past also no. 2. Inside the dome, the sign 1267 is written with white paint, which does not correspond to any of the original inventories. In recent years, it has been regularly presented to museum visitors in the form of temporary exhibitions, e.g. Múzeumok Éjszakája (2014), Vikingek and Kárpát-medencében (2022-2023), Különleges sisakok and Déri Múzeum (2023-2024).

The position of Nemiya on the map of Europe.


Previous publications

As it follows from the above, the first author we know to have reported on the helmet was Secinskij (1901: 287; 1909: 12). Subsequently, it was lost to the academy until the 1960s, when it was possible to find both the helmet (Erdélyi 1968) and the circumstances of its discovery (Kirpičnikov 1962; 1971: № 2, Табл. IX). Since then, the helmet from Nemiya has appeared in the works of several British (Nicolle 1988: 11; 1995: 85; 1999: Fig. 710), Czech (Benda 1972: 120, 122; Bravermanová et al. 2019: 264, 269, 284; Hejdová 1964: 86, Fig. 23; 1968: 19-20), Italian (D’Amato 2015: 114-117, Pl. 23-4), Polish (Górewicz 2020: 455-6, Fig. 10.7), Russian (Aleksinskij et al. 2005: 195; Gorelik 2002: 146-7, Fig. XI-14, XI-16; 2017: Рис. 3.8; Sardak 2008: 143; Shchedrina – Kainov 2021: 234, Fig. 9.5) and Ukrainian authors (Kozak 2021). Surprisingly, we do not register more recent works in the Hungarian language.

Generally speaking, it can be said that the literature mentioned is mainly focused on the mention of the helmet, possibly the size, approximate dating and drawing. We consider Kirpičnikov’s article, which contained archival data noticed by Erdélyi, to be very valuable. Erdélyi’s work is the best publication to date and contains a quality description and drawing. A third valuable work is D’Amato’s article, which publishes the information received from the Déri Museum and shows the helmet in colour photographs for the first time. The most of existing literature seems to adopt Kirpičnikov’s opinion, which evaluates the helmet as a Central European production that was decorated by an Old Rus craftsman in the 11th century, but there are also opinions that the decorations correspond to the Byzantine style (D’Amato 2015: 114-117) or that the helmet falls to the 9th century (Gorelik 2002: Fig. XI-14). None of the works publishes expert analyses.

Archival photographs and drawings of the helmet from Nemiya.
Source: Erdélyi 1968; Kirpičnikov 1962: 231.

Archive documents from the museum of Kamianets-Podilskyi. Inv. no. К Фдп 1877.
Source: Oleksandr Zaremba, museum of Kamianets-Podilskyi.


Construction and metric data

The base of the helmet is a conical dome, which is pointed from the front view and slightly rounded from the side view. The height of the dome is 19.8 cm. The cross-section of the dome at the base level is oval, with an internal length of 22.3 cm (external length 22.9 cm) and an internal width close to 20 cm that cannot be precisely determined due to deformation. The inner circumference is around 65 cm. The total weight of the helmet is currently 1.53 kg. On the right side (from the wearer’s point of view), the dome shows a slight defect, which is mainly concentrated at the edge. In general, the helmet can be assessed as being in good condition, although covered with numerous corrosion products.

The look of all four sides of the helmet. Photos by János Mesteller.

The helmet was thoroughly examined externally and internally and no signs of welding were found. These are not visible even on X-ray pictures. This leads us to the conclusion that the helmet is made of a single piece of plate. In the the forehead to the nape direction, the upper third of the dome is reinforced in a hammered ridge, which strengthens the weaker part of the dome and which slowly disappears below that level. On the edge of the helmet there are approximately 25 circular holes with a diameter of 0.29-0.35 cm and a regular spacing of 2.4-2.5 cm. In the area of the center of the front side the spacing is 3.68 cm. The holes are punched from the inside and served to fasten the lining, which was held in place by an organic string, the ends of which were apparently located on the front side. The thickness of the edge of the dome is 0.18 cm at its thinnest point, but more often it is around 0.26 cm. In the center of the front side, a 3.78 cm wide nasal was places, the thickness of which exceeded 0.45 cm.

X-rays of the helmet from Nemiya.
The images come from the Facebook page of the University of Debrecen, Gyula Kenézy Campus, Department of Radiology.

At a certain point, the helmet underwent a dramatic modification, which mainly consisted in removing the nasal and applying non-ferrous plates. There is no reason to believe that the modification had several stages that took place at different times; on the contrary, the changes seem to have taken place all at once. The nasal with an unknown original shape was cut in such a way that in a 0.5 cm long torso remained in its center that slopes towards the edges. One side is finely filed, while the other is roughly worked, which reveals the clear presence of a nasal perpendicular to the edge of the helmet. The shape of the torso gives the impression that it was deliberately chosen to fit well into the space between the eyes.

The look of the inside of the helmet and the nasal torso. Photos by János Mesteller.

Another part of the edit was the application of a decorative band, of which about three-fifths of the length has been preserved to this day. The starting material was a 0.05 cm thick sheet of copper alloy of approximately uniform width exceeding the width of 5 cm, which was subsequently hammered down to a thickness of 0.04 cm and bent. Due to the beveled edge of the helmet, this plate could not be rectangular, but slightly curved. The upper half of the band was first decorated with a braid ornament with a background formed by punched pits. The decoration was done with a sharp tool, which led to the thinning of the material and cause the tearing off of the band in the ornament. Subsequently, the space above the ornament was filled with stamped bosses, which partially extend into the ornament. The bosses, originally creating a row of circa 110-115 pieces, have a spacing of centers around 0.4-0.5 cm. One rivet made of copper alloy with a mushroom head of 0.32-0.33 cm in diameter was hidden in the row, placed at the nape of the helmet. The band is torn off just at the level of the rivet. The space under the ornament was then bent in such a way that a fold up to 0.3 cm high was formed on the band. This fold protrudes from the rest of the band and partially deforms the decoration in some places. Despite the use of a curved plate, the band does not fit the beveled surface perfectly, which the manufacturer solved by chopping the already folded band at one point to a level of about a third of the height, overlapping one end with the other and riveting with a rivet that is identical to the other rivets used on the helmet. The lower edge of the band has been folded into the dome, this fold being about 0.2 cm long. The thickness of the dome with the coating is 0.268-0.284 cm. Before application, the band was gilded in fire. When folded, the band reaches a height of 4.26 cm above the edge of the helmet, with the fold not exceeding 1.15-1.37 cm above the edge.

Band details. Photos by János Mesteller.

In the space under the fold of the band, holes were punched that copy the number, location and size of the holes in the dome. These holes were filled with wire loops in the shape of the letter omega (Ω) with legs opened inside the dome. Only two loops have been preserved to this day and are small compared to similar loops preserved in other helmets. The wire used is thin – they are 0.4 cm high and 0.18-0.33 cm thick. The function of these loops is clearly visible – they held the sheet metal of the band and the wire on which an mail aventail hung was passed through them. There are still visible wire marks on the gilded sheet between some of the holes. It is possible that the fold of the band functioned as a protection against the aventail and potential damage to the ornament. At the same time, it seems that the ends of this fold are slightly bent towards the aventail, in which we can see the author’s effort to ensure that the fold does not extend under the front plate.

Remains of aventail holder. Photos by János Mesteller.

The forehead space is filled by a large semicircular plate that extends up to 9 cm above the edge. The width of the plate is 11.5 cm (12 cm in the arc). The plate is fixed with seven copper alloy rivets and four loops. A pair of lower rivets simultaneously fix the band that is located under the facial plate. The loops here apparently had no other meaning than fixing the plate and the ends of the aventail wire. The craftsman thus simply used the holes that were already present in the helmet and did not have to create redundant holes in the thickest part of the helmet. At least two rivets were placed on semicircular pads and their distance from each other is 8.12 cm. The plate is decorated with a schematized representation of the face, with the eyes, eyebrows and nose protruding plastically. The eyes, originally symmetrically raised and now slightly damaged, placed 4.9 cm above the edge of the helmet, are almost to 2 cm wide and rise to a height of 0.3-0.45 cm. The distance between the eyes is 3.49 cm. The 1.9 cm wide nose is similarly raised and sits 3.92 cm above the edge of the nasal. The eyebrows are 0.2 cm wide and rise to a height of 0.18 cm. The entire plate is lined with a perimeter line 0.7 cm wide, which is chopped to resemble pearls. The eyebrow is 0.62 cm away from the perimeter line.

The space under the nose and eyes is approximately up to the height of the band (specifically 4.9 cm) filled with three rows of vertically oriented braid ornaments finished with palmettes. The braid is surrounded by a punched decoration made by a stamp with a top of two concentric circles with an outer diameter of 0.132 cm. Also, the face plate is bent inside the helmet over the cut nasal. The plate is decorated in a similar ornamental style to the band and is made of the same material. The production of both gilded components must have taken at least several hundred of hours.

Front plate details. Photos by János Mesteller.

A less noticeable modification is located at the very top of the helmet, where a purposefully created oval hole measuring 0.37 × 0.4 cm has been punched. Of course, one can speculate about the function, but given the overall impression of the helmet, it is not impossible that organic material was inserted into this opening. The hole could therefore serve as a simplified socket.

Top view. Photo by János Mesteller.

A graphic reconstruction of the approximate appearance of the helmet.
Author: Michal Havelka, baba_jaga_atelier. Higher resolution.


Appendices

Appendix 1: All photos taken during the documentation.


Evaluation

The original helmet before modification can without much difficulty be described as a typical one-piece conical helmet with a nasal, of which we currently know about 15 pieces from Europe. This type of helmet began to be established already in the second half of the 10th century (see Bravermanová et al. 2019) and survived until the 13th century, although a number of new evolutionary forms were created in the 12th century and thus we see a significant decrease in use of the standard shape. A comparison of helmets indicates that helmets belonging to the oldest horizon – say the second half of the 10th century and around the turn of the millennium – have low domes with a height of around 16-18 cm and may still have an aventail holder (Bravermanová et al. 2019; Shchedrina – Kainov 2021). Helmets with a dome height exceeding 18.5 cm and an absent aventail holder – a group where the helmet from Nemiya fits well – can be dated to the period from the early 11th to the 12th century (e.g. Bakker 2000; Rajewski 1973; Sankiewicz 2018: 130). The closest parallels to the original helmet are finds from the Polish lakes near Lednica and Orchowo (Rajewski 1973; Sankiewicz 2018), Bohemian fort of Hradsko (Šolle 1970: 179-180), Austrian site of Hainburg (Wilczek 1912-1914: 47) and Salerno, Italy (Skiba et al. 2022: 299). For geographical reasons, it can be expected that the helmet from Nemiya originally came from the area of ​​Central Europe (Kirpičnikov 1971: 25).

Analogical helmet from Haiburg. Source: Wilczek 1912-1914: 47.

Subsequently, the helmet was transported in an unknown way to the territory of today’s Ukraine, and in connection with the transport, it could have been modified to better fit into the local conditions. Cutting off the nasal is not unique and we know it from another imported helmet – the helmet from the Gnězdovo grave Дн-86/Серг-1901 from the 3rd quarter of 10th century, which apparently originally came from the territory of the Czech Republic (Kainov 2019a: 189-191). Similar modifications, as seen in the helmet from Nemiya, are also known from two other conical helmets – the St. Wenceslas helmet from Prague (Bravermanová et al. 2019) and the helmet from Trnčina, Bosnia (Shchedrina – Kainov 2021). In the case of the never-archaeologized St. Wenceslas helmet, the dome’s original nasal was also cut off and a new, more decorative nasal, a band with a braid ornament and an aventail holder were installed, covering the original holes. This adjustment must have taken place at the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries at the latest (Bravermanová et al. 2019: 299; Merhautová 2000). The helmet from Trnčina was modified in such a way that the nasal is replaced by inverted T-shaped reinforcement and original holes on the edge of the dome were covered by a separate aventail holder, and this modification is dated to the 11th century (Shchedrina – Kainov 2021: 242).

The shape of the frontal plate bears a resemblance to the frontal decoration found on a helmet from the Gulbišče mound in Chernihiv, Ukraine (Kainov 2022). This mound can be dated to the 3rd quarter of the 10th century. The plate was semi-circular in shape, made of a copper alloy, and measured approximately 12 × 8 cm. The edge of this plate was shaped into low semicircular lobes. The surface of the decoration was engraved and chased, but it is not possible to reconstruct it today. Another analogous reinforcement is represented by a plate located on the forehead of a problematic helmet stored in the exposition of the Ukrainian National Historical Museum of Dmitriy Yavornytskyi in Dnipropetrovsk under inventory no. ДИМ A-И797 (Sardak 2008). The plate here is iron, pentagonal in shape and is attached with three rivets (two lower corners, upper central corner). The resemblance is mainly based on relief stylization of the face (eyes, nose, eyebrows), while the profiled parts are hollow. The dating of this helmet varies between the 11th and 13th centuries (D’Amato 2015: 111; Shchedrina-Kainov 2021: 241).

Dating the Nemiya helmet to the Mongol period is tempting and appears regularly. It is primarily based on certain similarities with the front plates of helmets of the Mongol era, which also have a schematized profiled face (e.g. Kulešov 2017). As Kainov notes, the decor is not identical, and plates with a similar form of decoration do not necessarily belong to one period at all and could appear throughout history (Shchedrina-Kainov 2021: 241). Another clue for dating to the Mongol period is a suspiciously well-preserved helmet from Gredunov’s collection from the territory of Ukraine, which is equipped with eyelets for hanging an aventail around the edge and a small circular hole at the top (Kulešov 2020). In general, the helmet is quite visually similar to the find from Nemiya. But it must be added that Grenudov’s collection contains a number of forged pieces, which makes it unreliable as a whole. The comparison is further complicated by the striking fact that this helmet was presented at least 5 years after the public first had the opportunity to see the Nemiya helmet and its circular opening on the top (2014). At this point, we must mention the helmet, which was allegedly illegally found at the site of the Lunca Dam on the Siret River near the Romanian city of Paşcani in 2010, and subsequently disappeared into a private collection, where it was confiscated by the Romanian police in 2021 and handed over to the National Museum Complex “Moldova” in the city of Iași (Kozak 2021: 78, Pис. 7). The helmet shares a number of features with the faceplate of the Nemiya find, but its construction and decoration are indicative of the Mongol invasion. The helmet has not yet been professionally published, but we tentatively evaluate it as a forgery based on the helmet from Nemiya, or less probably as a helmet from the Mongol period. Despite the opinions of colleagues who focus on high medieval helmets, we believe that at the present time there are no convincing reasons for dating the helmet from Nemiya to the period of the Mongol era.

The band of the Nemiya helmet lacks closer helmet analogies and can best be compared to the band of the St. Wenceslas helmet. If we start looking in other products as well, we can find a certain similarity in the horn mouth fitting from Black Grave, Ukraine (980-1025), which is also gilded, decorated with a similar stamp and folded at the edge (Ščeglova 2017). Another comparable object is a fragmentary piece of copper alloy sheet metal from Wrocław, Poland, which is decorated with a braid ornament surrounded by punched pits (Jaworski et al. 2013: 288, Fig. 3a). This damaged and apparently discarded piece of sheet metal is dated to the middle of the 11th century.

Ukrainian helmets with a similarly shaped front plate – Gulbišče (left), Dnepropetrovsk (right).
Source: Kainov 2022: Рис. 9.1, 18.2.

The braided ornament of both gilded components of the Nemiya helmet can be assessed as the Borre style, which found wide application in Central and Eastern Europe, where it was used, apparently as a local imitation, until the 12th century (Moździoch et al. 2013). In his work, Kirpičnikov (1962: 233-4) tried to find the closest parallels of the ornament, which led him to the conclusion that the helmet must have been compiled already in the 11th century. If such a method is possible, the greatest similarities are found in the socket of the spear from Nętno, Poland, that can be dated to the last third of the 10th or 1st quarter of the 11th century (Chudziak 2006). This spear applies tricolor overlay, which is also shared by the local variant of Petersen type S swords known from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine, and which can be dated to the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries or to the 1st quarter of the 11th century (Hergesell – Snítilý 2020; Wadyl 2019: 116-126). Another close analogy of the braid ornament can be seen on the cup from the 8th trench of the Old Town in Wolin (Rębkowski 2019: Pl. CLIX.5), which can also be dated to the end of the 10th or the beginning of the 11th century (Stanisławski 2013: 225). The decoration of the helmet from Nemiya must therefore be understood as an artistic expression shared by other high-end objects in Central and Eastern Europe, culminating in the very end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century.

Objects decorated with braid decoration from the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries.
Source: Chudziak 2006: Rys. 3; Rębkowski 2019: Pl. CLIX.5; Wadyl 2019: Rys. 4.12.

The overall appearance of the modified helmet allows the conclusion that the craftsman tried to imitate the appearance of a spheroconical helmet, especially a helmet of the Black Mound type. Helmets of this type are characterized by the fact that their segments are covered with 0.04-0.07 cm thick copper alloy sheets, which are bent inside the helmet and which are fire-gilded with the help of mercury (Kirpičnikov 2009: 62). The area of ​​the forehead is always decorated with reinforcement, which often extends into the area of ​​the eyes. It is common to use bands around the edge, which are divided into a decorated and an undecorated part, with loops holding the wire and a mail aventail located at the level of the undecorated part. The top of the gilded helmets is created by a decorated socket in which the organic material was fixed. Determining the dating of gilded helmets, of which we know at least 20 from the territory of Ukraine (Kainov 2018; Papakin 2017) and at least 7 from today’s Poland (Bocheński 1930; Engel – Sobczak 2019; Poklewska-Koziełł – Sikora 2018), is based on the helmets found in the Black Mound, which was dated between 980 and 1025 by modern methods (Kainov 2019b; Lušin 2019; Šišlina et al. 2017; Vasjuta 2016). Even though gilded helmets were circulating in living culture long after (e.g. Kainov – Kamenskij 2013), this dating corresponds well with the dating of the proposed parallels of the ornament. This leads Kainov to propose that the modification of the helmet from Nemiya can be dated to the late 10th or early 11th century (Shchedrina – Kainov 2021: 234). We can generally agree with this conclusion, although in our opinion the higher one-piece dome rather points to the 11th century. The helmet from Lednica Lake clearly shows that helmets with a height of around 20 cm already existed in the 1030s, when this head protection was deposited (Sankiewicz 2018). For this reason, we believe that the production and modification took place more likely in the first half of the 11th century, with a short time gap. The most promising places of production and modification appear to be Poland and Ukraine, where gilded helmets were not unknown. In light of the new findings, the theory about the Mongolian origin of the added applications seems less likely. There can be no doubt that the helmet belonged to an aristocrat or a member of the court.

How did the Central European helmet end up in Kievan Rus? There are, for example, two expeditions of Bolesław the Brave to Kyiv in 1013 and 1018 (Jakimowicz 1933). However, it would be foolish to try to connect the helmet with any of the historically known events, since the exchange can be explained by other activities, such as trade. What is indisputable from archaeological and historical sources is the fact that there was no impenetrable border between the regions.

Gilded helmets of the Black Mound type, which may have been a model for modification.
Author
: Michal Havelka, baba_jaga_atelier.


The contribution of the helmet from Nemiya

Apart from the role that the helmet played in the past in shaping opinions about Old Rus helmets (Kirpičnikov 1958; 1971), it needs to be emphasized that it is an invaluable object of high artistic value. Its worth lies not only in the fact that it expands the small corpus of early medieval helmets, but thanks to its compilative character and complicated past, the helmet points to the boundaries between individual types and enables their more precise geographical and chronological anchoring. Defects contribute to the exploration of craft practices that would not be visible in good preservation. In recent years, the helmet has underwent expert analysis, which will make future comparisons with other helmets easier. In addition, the helmet, together with other militaria, points to the relations of Central and Eastern Europe at the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries.


Reproduction

Following the examination of the helmet, a reproduction was created for museum purposes. The production of non-iron applications was undertaken by János Aranyosi, whose experience with chiselling includes dozens of works, mainly decorating sabers, sabretache lids, bowls and similar. The production started with the band – János made a paper model corresponding to the helmet, added 2 cm to the length just to be sure, and then drew an ornament on the model. He then transferred this shape to a copper plate, added 1 cm to be sure, and redrew the ornament (in the sequence braid – pit background – false rivets). Then he cut out the intended band, tempered it to a temperature of around 800°C and bent it. The bent band tended to wrinkle and deform on the helmet, so János had to chop it in several places, bend it inwards and fasten it (first with screws, which he later replaced with omega-shaped eyelets). The production of the front plate proceeded in much the same way – a model was created from tracing paper, which was slightly enlarged, decorated with an ornament and transferred to a copper plate. First the deep features (nose and eyes) were created, then the long lines and braid were chiselled, then the pit background and later it was cut out. The front plate was tempered twice to a temperature of around 800°C, in the middle of the work and at the end. The parts of the decoration that were to be raised must be created in the negative and mirror-reversed. Both main components were gilded all over with a thin layer of gold weighing around 1 g and attached to the dome with rivets and eyelets. János adds that the application of rivets and omega-shaped eyes is a job for 4 hands and the help of another person is needed. Except in this case, all previous steps are a masterwork that must be done by one skilled person from start to finish to maintain uniform quality.

To make it, János used around 13 different chisels (including 1 for the nose, 1 for the eyes, 3 for the false rivets, 2 for the pit decoration, 1 sharp chisel for the ornament, 1 for bending the omega eyelets), eight of which he had to make specifically for the purposes of this project. Other tools used include hammers of various shapes and materials and pliers for cutting and holding material. The work must be carried out on a soft surface – beams made of softwood and a tar bed. For the sake of tempering, it is necessary to have access to fire, which can be simulated with a gas burner. Grinding was done with three sandpapers of different qualities (800, 1200, 2000) with constant pouring of water. The manufacturer must have a lot of patience and it is better to consider all aspects of production in advance, which will ultimately save time and bring a quality appearance. Before he was fully satisfied, János made three test samples of the front plate. However, he lost half a day’s work by making poorly shaped eyelets. It is definitely not worth rushing the work, which in our case led to a defect in the nose. The craftsman reports that his fingers hurt and even when using high-quality lighting, his eyes hurt.

Photograph of a large portion of the tools used to produce the chased elements.

Before starting the work, the craftsman originally estimated that the total number of working hours would not be more than 200, but the reality, due to the production of the tools and faulty steps, corresponds more to the number of around 400 hours. The presented result lasted 1.5 months with a daily working time of 10 hours including weekends and with modern lighting. If he were to create another identical work, he still estimates the volume of work to be around 300 hours. The band, which was made in two parts instead of one, is the result of the craftsman having a deadline to meet, and because he could not afford time-consuming experimentation, he chose a different procedure with a visually similar result. In any case, it was realized that the non-ferrous decorations are definitely the most expensive part of the helmet and quite possibly represent multiples of the price of the original dome.

János adds that he is not 100% satisfied with the result, which is largely due to his perfectionism and the comparison of the helmet with the original at the exhibition, where both items were placed side by side.

A short film about the production of the reproduction.


Acknowledgment

The documentation of the helmet was made possible for me by János Mesteller (Kazár Bazár) and the museum staff of Déri Museum in Debrecen. Our sincerely thank goes to the Department of Radiology of University of Debrecen for X-rays and to the expert team of Peter Langó (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest). János Mesteller deserves special thanks for photographing the helmet. We are grateful to the craftsman János Aranyosi and also to Sergej Kainov (State Historical Museum, Moscow) for consulting the material. Oleksandr Zaremba, the director of the museum in Kamianets-Podilskyi, deserves our huge thanks for sending the archive documents. We must mention Michal Havelka (baba_jaga_atelier), who is the author of the drawn schemes.

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Bibliography

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