Helmet "tang" from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City, United States). Features of Construction, Design and Operational Use
Authors: Leonid A. Bobrov, Alexey V. Salnikov
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The article discusses iron helmet (No. 36.25.115), which is stored in the Metropolitan Museum of art (New York City, United States). For the first time this helmet was published and analyzed by American scientists G. C. Stone and D.G. Alexander. The analysis showed that the Bowl was made by Turkish masters of the XVII century and backplate and the hoop is added to the helmet in 1781–1782 D.G. Alexander speculated that the helmet belonged to the Warrior of the Crimean Khanate. Dating the helmet does not raise objections. However, the attribution of a helmet requires some clarification.
Analysis of the design of the helmet and decoration revealed that backplate, hoop and Aventail from iron rings added to Bowl in 1781–1782, were manufactured by Circassian craftsmen living in the Northern Caucasus or in Crimea.
For the decoration of the helmet has been used typical Circassian ornaments: "sieve", cherkessian floral pattern, geometric shapes, triangular in shape, "gear", etc. During Assembly of the helmet were applied characteristic of Circassian gunsmiths technological solutions: using as a basis the bowl old-style helmet, tapered Finial with a ring for a decorative plume, hoop with four plates, ringed with aventail lip to protect the forehead, etc.
In Circassia similar headgear worn were known as tang (from the Arabic. "Taj", i.e., the "Crown"). In the XVII–XVIII centuries. they willingly purchased representatives of Crimean Tatar nobility. Similar in design and system design helmets Circassian production belonged to the highest aristocracy of the Crimean Khanate, are stored in Museum and private collections in Poland, Turkey and the United States. The inscription "Bekmurun" on the hoop from the Metropolitan helmet suggests that it was manufactured on request of Kabardian Bekmur princely heir (Bekmurziny), which moved from Circassia in Crimea, 1737.
The popularity of tang type helmets among the aristocracy of North Caucasus and Crimea were due not only to their impressive appearance and rich finish, but also high combat characteristics. Experimental test copies of such helmets have shown that they provide very reliable protection of the head and neck of a warrior from chopping and cutting the enemy strikes.