Horned kulah khud (helmet)

The kulah khud style was exported from Persia to India, where it is sometimes known as the khud islamiya, “Islamic helmet.” The mail fringe at the front of this piece cannot have provided much protection; it probably served to shade the eyes in a sunny climate. In fact, some Indo-Persian headgear has the face entirely covered with mail, taking advantage of its see-through properties. The demon (div) face on this piece is found on many helmets of Persian and Indian origin.

Description

Iron, deeply ovoid bowl with repousée demon (‘div’) face, decorated overall with scrolling floral vines of silver & gold koft-gari. Conical base with scalloped edge, balustered above for lost spike. To either side is applied oval-section horn which tapers as it curves upward & inward to a blunt point. Beneath “nose” is applied brass moustache with central slot for missing nasal. Aventail butted, tight mail, level across brow, & triangular at back & sides. Mail held to edge of bowl through holes.

Curator’s Comments

On some Indian headgear, the mail covers the face entirely, cf. Wallace Cat #1982. Pant 3.51, 60 Cf Wallace Cat #1523 for a ‘Deer’ helmet from India. Cf. also Pant 3 plate 12. JLF Cf. HAM 2971.4

Details

Accession Number3092.8OriginIndia, possibly mid-1800sMaterialsIron; gold and silver inlayMeasure21.5 cm H with horns x 21 cm L x 18.5 cm WWeight2 lb. 6 oz.

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Still - the battle is not over.  This case will go back into litigation.  This fight is not over.  But today, we can celebrate.

Continue to pray for Standing Rock and Unci Maka.  Our Indigenous prayers are powerful.  Mni Wiconi, Mni Wakan, Mni Wicozani!

2

When you put on a costume like this you are dehumanizing a culture. You are showing that my traditional clothing is something you can take without context, without any background knowledge and wear because it’s pretty or feels aesthetically pleasing. What you’re actually doing is taking a culture that historically goes back thousands of years and sexualizing and dehumanizing if until it is nothing more than a $20 costume hanging beside a Spider-Man costume.

I urge everyone to take a look around yourself, observe the culture and diversity around you, in your classroom, on the bus sitting next to you, in line behind you at the checkout. Look at these strangers and know that they are more than just a body. Everyone has a culture. Everyone has a background. Everyone deserves respect and honour.

We are not a costume.

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