PigFace Bascinet (#1736)
The Norman helmet (also known as the ‘nasal helmet’ or the ‘casque Normand’) was commonly used from the 6th to the 12th century. It is one of the most recognizable helmets of the medieval period.
The Bascinet Helmet was the most popular style of helmet in the late 13th,14th and early 15th centuries for both knights and common soldiers throughout Europe. The Bascinet developed from the steel cap that had been used extensively in the 11th,12th and early to mid 13th centuries.
Because the Bascinet was popular for over a hundred years, there are many variations in its appearance and shape. Early Bascinets were worn over or under a mail coif with a arming cap and around 1330 an aventail (mail covering the neck and shoulders) and faceplates or visors became commonplace.
The shape of the helmet also saw continuous change as the sides became longer to provide better protection and padded liners were often attached to the inside of the helmet. Rounded, globular, conical, and pointed variations of the helmets were all popular.
The method of attachment and shape of the faceplate or visor changed continuously to offer better protection, visibility, breathing, ventilation and decoration. Visors were removable and held in place by locking pins and could be attached by a central pin (klappvisor) or by two hinges on the sides of the helmet. The visor had various shapes; flat, conical or round convex.
The visor could be lifted or removed as battle conditions dictated. The visor of this helmet is held in place by two removable hinge pins and moves up and down on two pivots, one on each side of the helmet.
The visor on the PigFace Bascinet is perhaps the most iconic and recognizable visor type on a bascinet and is pictured in numerous period illustrations and artwork. There are also many surviving historical examples. The pointed or cone shaped visor resembles a dog muzzle or pig face and those terms became interchangeable in identifying this type of helmet as a “Hound Skull” or “Pig Face” Bascinet. The shape was for more than good looks; it was effective at deflecting blows and provide better ventilation and breathing. The visor has two eye slits and numerous breathing and ventilation holes on the right side and mouth area.
An aventail (not included) can be attached to the brass vervelles or rivets that run along the bottom and side edges of the face of the helmet.
The helmet has a liner for cushioning and protection and straps to secure the helmet on the head. The inside of the helmet is covered in black paint to reduce maintenance.
The PigFace Bascinet is an excellent historical example of a 14th century bascinet.