Mesoamerican Culture, History, and Religion

Archive for November, 2012

Conquistador Helm In Salem, MA

Earlier this month I visited the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and spotted a surprising object in their collection.  Amidst the lovely array of East Asian artwork (better than the MFA’s holdings in Boston proper, in my opinion), nautical paintings and artifacts, and other marvels, sitting unobtrusively on a shelf in their gallery devoted to curios collected by local sailors from around the world, sits a conquistador’s helmet.  I snapped a couple of photos to share with you all (please excuse the quality, I wasn’t planning on doing any photography and flashes were forbidden in the museum to boot).  Click to view the photos full size.

First, a shot of the whole helmet on its shelf.

Conquistador's Helm at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Conquistador’s Helm at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA (photo copyright 2012 by Cehualli)

Next, a close-up of the antique paper label pasted on the helm by a museum curator (presumably) a long time ago.  Judging by the paper, ink, and handwriting style, I’m guessing it was attached to the artifact sometime in the 19th century.  The label reads “An Ancient Spanish H[elmet] found in Mexico, and probably [worn?] by some of the followers of Cortez.”

Detail of the label attached to the conquistador's helmet.

Detail of the label attached to the conquistador’s helmet. (photo copyright 2012 by Cehualli)

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