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Helmet, the Staff of Life: Eastern and Western Battle Headgear of the 16th–18th Centuries from the State Hermitage Collection  is an exhibition open at the Arsenal pavilion of the Alexander Park from 30 May through 3 September 2023.

The exhibition showcases five rare protective headpieces by Italian, German, Turkish, Indian and Russian masters. The helmets originate from a collection held at the Arsenal until the 1880s and later moved to the Imperial Hermitage.

This is the seventh installment of a long-term co-project between Tsarskoe Selo and the State Hermitage, aimed to showcase pieces of arms and armour collected by the emperors Nicholas I and Alexander II. The artefacts on display demonstrate a diversity of helmet-making traditions from Western Europe, Russia and Islamic countries, which were the regions of the imperial collectors' interest.

On our display:

  • Tournament Helmet
    Missaglia Workkshop, Milan, Italy, c. 1500
  • Ceremonial Helmet
    Matthias Frauenpreis (active 1550–1604)possibly Augsburg, Germany
  • Turban Helmet
    Ottoman Turkey, 2nd half 15th–16th c.
  • Helmet
    India, 18th c.
  • Shishak Helmet
    Kremlin Armoury, Moscow, Russia, mid-17th c.