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Umayyad Stucco Bust, Khirbat al Mafjar, Palestine, mid-8th century AD


Amongst the many small stucco statuettes found in the late Umayyad palace near Jericho were a pair of guardsmen. This man's headgear is now known to represent a qalansuwa quilted hat rather than a helmet. The shoulder belt which carried his scabbard is clearly visible but the painted dots which represented his mail armour can now only just be seen on his chest. (Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, Jerusalem)
Source: p.58, EH - 071 - The Great Islamic Conquests AD 632-750 by David Nicolle



Bust display No. 52image in mirror
    A few capital pieces enable one to determine exactly the development of the shape of the helmet. Ḳalḳashadī43 distinguished two different kinds: (a) the baiḍa, protecting the head but not the neck or ears, and (b) the mighfar, offering such protection — if I understand Ḳalḳashadī rightly — in camail. At the same time there was an older type of helmet in use, well covering the ears and the back of the head, but not in mail. This helmet lasted from the eighth to the fourteenth century, at least. An excellent early specmen can he seen on a piece of sculpture (Fig. 7) excavated by C. D. Baramki in the Umayyad palace of Khirbat al-Mafdjir, near Jericho, while very late specimens of the same type of helmet are best shown in miniatures representing Saracens in the history of Saint Louis by Joinville.44 The mighfar was sometimes made with a nasal as well.

44 MSS Paris, Fr. 5716 and Life of St. Louis by Jean de Joinville. p. 83, "Capture of Damietta: the Crusaders enter the city; Seventh Crusade"

Source: L. A. Mayer, ‘Saracenic Arms and Armour’, Ars Islamica, Vol. X, 1943.




Photo by Alex Brey

Photo by Alex Brey



Referenced as figure 124 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle
124. Statue fragments from Khirbat al Mafjar, mid-8th century AD, Palestinian, Palestine Archaeological Museum, East Jerusalem.

Note the baldric.



Arab Heavy Cavalrymen in Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 by Ian Heath, based on this Umayyad Stucco Statuette, Khirbat al Mafjar, Palestine
See also an Umayyad Gold Dinar Coin of the Caliph 'Abd al-Malik, AD 685-705
Umayyad Stucco Statuette of a Horse, Khirbat al Mafjar, Palestine, mid-8th century AD. Rockefeller Museum, East Jerusalem.
Umayyad Soldiers on a Coin of Yazīd ibn al Muhallab, early 8th century AD, Gurgān: Coll. of the American Numismatic Society.
Illustrations of Arabian Costume and Soldiers
Other 8th Century Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers