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SOLD Very Rare Antique Late 17th/Early 18th Century Polish Hussar Winged Helmet Szyszak


SOLD Very Rare Authentic Antique, 17th to early 18th century, Polish Hussar Winged Helmet Szyszak. Extremely well hand forged one-piece hemispherical skull embossed with six radiating ribs, fitted at its apex with a pierced finial on a circular washer, and at its brow a flat peak struck on the top with the armorer's mark, a pair of shears—that has been attributed to Martin Schneider the Younger German armorer from Nuremberg, active ca. 1610–20. Fitted with a sliding nasal-bar retained by a wing-headed screw and cut on the finial with the heart. Downturned neck-guard composed of three upward-lapping lames with turned-under edges, a pair of movable cheek flaps pierced with seven holes each, and main edges decorated with plain inward turns and adorned with numerous dome – headed rivets. On the sides, attached with a pair of large profiled wings characteristic with the type of embossed with ribs and embellished with openwork design of pierced hearts and blackened throughout. The heart motive is a distinguishing décor motive seen on the 17th to early 18th century Polish hussar armours. During the 16th and 17th century, Nuremberg was a major metal-producing center where armorers made arms and armor, not only for the German market, but also for exporting to other European countries including Poland. And in fact, many high quality Polish armours were made in a Polish manner by Nuremberg armourers for export to Poland.

CONDITION: This helmet is 100% in its original excellent condition including original leather straps. Some scratches and minor touch ups to the original blackened finish. The front top corners of the wings has minor folds.

The winged Zischägge helmets were used by Polish hussars from the second half of the 17th century to the early 18th century. During the reign of Augustus II the Strong, king of Poland and Prince-Elector of Saxony, the officers of the Polish hussars abandoned their large wings attached to the back of the armour, however, to keep the world-famous Polish Hussars attributes which were the wings, whence comes their name winged hussars they were added to the Zischägge helmets elaborate metal wings (sometimes backed by ostrich feathers) as the alternative to the large back mounted wings. These helmets are well documented in the iconography from this period of time. Some of them were with blackened surface, matching blackened armour, most likely for the higher ranks as can be seen on the paintings from that period of time, and some were just of plain steel. The winged helmets with blackened finish can be seen in The Czartoryski Museum in Krakow, The Polish Museum in Rapperswil, Switzerland also three blackened winged helmets are illustrated in the book “Husaria The Winged Horsemen” by Anna Wasilkowska.

There are not very many authentic winged Zischägge helmets preserved to the present day, including in the museums (only a few, most likely less than five) since they were used in a short period of time compered to other hussar helmets without wings which were made in the same style for almost 200 years.

Provenance: This helmet comes, together with other Polish arms and armour, from an old Canadian collection of Polish antiques and art including antique arms and armour.

Most winged hussar helmets which appeared on the marked in the last 10 years are reproductions as well as other 17th to 18th century Polish arms and armour, including swords, maces, helmets, armour, etc.

After the collapse of communism in Poland in 1989, Poland transformed to a western-style economy, many Poles in Poland and in the western world got richer and started to collect antiques, particularly associated with Poland. In these circumstances to cover the demand of collectors for Antique Polish arms and armor, some artisans particularly those in Poland and neighboring Eastern Europe countries, started to make reproductions of historical Polish arms and armour on the base of authentic objects, professionally aged, corroded, and damaged, to look old and authentic. Then they distributed these products throughout Europe and North America where they were presented for sale as authentic Polish antiques, arms, and armour. These items, in many cases, are very well made and aged and look almost as the authentic 17th century Polish arms and armour. From this time the market is flooded by these reproductions of polish antique arms and armour which, prior to this procedure, were considered as the rarest objects, almost impossible to acquire. These reproductions do not have any historical, or investment value.

We were fortunate to acquire this helmet together with other Polish antiques, including antique Polish arms and armour from an old Canadian collection formed prior to the time when this procedure started.

This is an example of an extremely rare authentic antique from the late 17th to early 18th century of a Polish hussar winged helmet with its original period of time wings, and the well preserved blackened finish, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Overall length from the pointed peak to the end of the neck guard: 39 cm (15.35 inches)
Height from the top of the wings to the end of the neck guard: 35 cm (13.78 inches)
WEIGHT: 1.931 kg (4 pounds and 4.11 ounces)

REFERENCES: For related Polish Hussar Winged Helmet please see:

1. Husaria The Winged Horsemen by Anna Wasilkowska, page 91.

2. Broń w dawnej Polsce by Zdzislaw Zygulski, figure 161.

3. Stara broń w polskich zbiorach, page38-39.

4. Leksykon dawnego uzbrojenia ochronnego by Włodzimierz Kwaśniewicz, page 116.

5. Zarys dziejów uzbrojenia w Polsce / Władysław by Dziewanowsk, page 162.

6.Europejski oręż paradny XVII-XIX wieku ze zbiorów Państwowego Ermitażu w Leningradzie, page 186.

7. Europäische Helme aus der Sammlung des Museums für Deutsche Geschichte by Heinrich Müller / Fritz Kunter.

A photocopy of the pages from the aforementioned references will be provided along with a certificate of authenticity.

Link to view related helmets on line:

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