Accession No. R015337
Period Shang Dynasty
Material Bronze
Findspot Royal Tomb No. 1004 Hsi-pei-kang, Yin-xu Site
Geographic Location Hou-Chia-Chuang village, Anyang, Honan province, China
Dimension H. 26.5 cm; Diam. 23.0 cm


The excavation of Hsi-pei-kang M1004 yielded a large number of bronze helmets worn by Shang warriors. This artifact is among one of the best-preserved pieces. The front of the helmet has ornamentation in the form of a horned animal-mask with raised eyes, ears and snout. The ear guards are decorated with round bosses and whorl patterns. On top of the helmet sits a tubular holder, possibly used to hold decorative feathers.
There are two types of Shang helmet: one-piece and composite. The former is casted with bronze in one piece, while the latter only has bronze covering the front, back and the ears, with leather joining the different parts. Some of the helmets unearthed from M1004 are lost; those that remain are all of the one-piece type. With this type, the sides and the back of the helmet are relatively long to ensure good protection for the forehead, head, ears and neck. Most of the one-piece helmets are decorated on the front with animal-masks in relief. There are also some that are mostly plain but are decorated only with eye or whorl motifs; the latter motifs have a coiled dragon pattern inside. In theory, all of the helmets excavated by IHP had a tubular holder on the top. Judging from the number of tubular holders recovered from M1004, over one hundred helmets were buried, of which forty-seven of have inscriptions.