Danube Virtual Museum

Mask (part of a ceremonial helmet)

Title: Mask (part of a ceremonial helmet)
Location/Region: Smederevo
Chrolonology: 1 AD - 500
Museum: National Museum in Belgrade
Country: Serbia
Culture: Roman
Closer Dating: Second half of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd century
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: H 20.5; W 19.6 cm
Production Technique: Minting, chasing

Garbsch J. 1978, Römische Paraderüstungen, Berlin,

Popović, I..Catalogue, In: Classical Portraiats in Yugoslavia (N. Cambi, I. Popović, Lj. Popović, D. Srejović eds), Beograd 1987.

Ratković D. 2007, In. Balkani, Antiche civilita tra il Danubio e l Adriatico, (eds. T. Cvjetićanin, G. Gentili, V. Krstić), Milano 2007


Mask of a boy, a part of the helmet, with perforated slits for the eyes, mouth and nostrils. Big curls presented in two rows are falling above a low and broad forehead. A beard and mustache are engraved above the finely modeled lips. Chin whiskers are modeled differently but emphasized in plastic in the same way. The outer corners of the eye openings are decorated with linear, punctuated ornaments. Below the left ear the loop for attaching the upper calotte of the helmet is preserved. This presentation of a young man - his face without wrinkles, a long nose, sensual lips, hard modeled contours of the face giving it a special strength and power, was the ideal of masculinity in the Hadrian era. Mannerism and ornamental character dominate while the technique of a shallow engraving gives it a plastic effect. Stylistic features of the portrait of a young man refer to classicism and the hairstyle with curls belongs to the type of hairstyle of Emperor Hadrian and his friend Antinoe. It represents a good toreutic work perhaps from some of the Danube limes workshops (Viminacium?). This mask with the image of a young man is a part of a ceremonial helmet, Roman ceremonial military equipment used in tournaments or horse parades. Its stylistic features and extremely precise production technique makes it one of the best and most significant artifacts of this specific kind of helmet.