Morion, German, late 16th century
Weight: 1,4 kg.
Height: 25,5 cm.
Width: 26 cm.
Length: 35 cm.
The skull is forged in two halfs, joined at the edge of the high comb. On both sides there is an embossed Fleur de Lys, left blank like the high comb and
silhouetting against the blackened ground of the skull. For the attachment of the lining there are iron rivets surrounded by brass ornaments, still
enclosing remainings of the lining on the inner side of the helmet. On the left side there is one rivet expertly replaced, two on the right. The blackening
is probably the original, which is rare since the big majority of surviving morions has been “refreshed” with black paint in the younger history.
The morion helmet developed from the 15th century war hat, in particular the Spanish type that was called cabacete. As a very popular helmet the morion
came into use all over Europe and was found on the battle fields until the first half of the 17th century. Especially among the infantrymen like those
wearing the pike, the emperors personal guards and town or city defenders it formed an integral part of their equipment.[...]
Collection Max Grundig, Nuremberg.
There is a number of comparable morions obviously belonging to the same group that survived the centuries, so it is reasonable to assume that they all come from
a mutual arsenal stock. From there they were sold in a time when the morion was no longer in military use and the passion for collecting antique arms and
armour had already developed – presumably in the course of the 19th century. Regarding the present type of morion it is assumed that it deacessioned the
arsenal of the Civic Guard of Munich. They used the double sided Fleur de Lys as an emblem since it symbolises the Blessed Virgin, to whom the town
guard was dedicated.(1)
You can find further helmets from this series at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York(2)
(rivets probably replaced), or the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin.(3)
1) Curtis, H. M. (1978): 2500 Years of European Helmets, p. 298.
2) Accession Number: 14.25.506.
3) Müller, H., Kunter, M. (1984): Europäische Helme, p. 269 No. 105 und fig. on p. 175.