Helmet of Saint Wenceslas Comeback Of

  • Author

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)

Text of Helmet of Saint Wenceslas Comeback Of

  • 8/12/2019 Helmet of Saint Wenceslas Comeback Of


    Helmet of Saint WenceslasAt last now you can admire the restored original Helmet of Saint Wenceslas in its full glory at a permanent exhibition entitled TheStory of Prague Castle. The helmet which graces the exhibition The Story of Prague Castle is a precious relic of St Wenceslas and theSaint himself is often depicted wearing it. This is the most precious piece of ironwork in all of the Czech Republic said MilenaBravermanov the curator of the collections of Prague Castle.

    The helmets nose-piece probably represents the figure of Jesus Christ, but some are of the opinion that it may bethe German god Odin. Based on expert analysis, the piece may have been used during actual fighting. A research

    project that had been done prior to the restoration revealed that the helmet is about as thick as other helmets used

    in fights. Additionally, there is a scratch caused by an axe or by some other sharp and heavy object.

    Danger of corrosion

    We x-rayed it, chemically analysed corroding agents and compared it with the situation in 1989 when we carried a similar study,

    said the restorer of archaeological metals, Alena Havlnov. We discovered that the iron hidden under the silver plates that decorate

    the nose-piece was corroding, which could cause the nose-piece to fall off in future. Therefore it needs to be protected, said

    Havlnov. Conservation and restoration involves a high degree of team work which his why a committee was established to deal with

    the helmet. It was composed of top restorers, art historians, gunsmiths and representatives of the chapter house that owns the

    helmet. We agreed to remove the corroding agents that cover the helmet. After the surface had been cleaned, the helmet was

    covered with varnish that should prevent the silver foil from peeling off. To top it off, the calotte (the iron piece that covers the head)

    was treated with wax to rid it of the undesirable gloss.

    Damaged not only by time

    Unfortunately the helmet is not complete; the upper part of the calotte is missing. This damage was done at some point in the course

    of previous centuries. Apart from the damage caused by hitting the helmet with a sharp object, the experts also discovered a flaw

    probably caused by the fall of the helmet. Also in this case we cant determine the exact time when the damage happened, said

    Havlnov pointing out that the mechanical damage accelerated the corrosion.

    Box to survive several dozen years

    From now on, the Helmet of Saint Wenceslas will be deposited in a special box made of unbreakable glass with a stable temperature

    and humidity to prevent any future damage. Parameters are controlled by computer and humidity is kept on stable 20% level by silica

    gel that will be regularly replaced. The box should last at least twenty years, said the curator of the collections, Milena


    Oldest piece of furniture

    Other items in the exhibition are a chest and a piece of cloth that has some kind of connection to the death of Czech Prince Konrd II

    Ota. Both pieces were found in the crypt of St Vitus Cathedral where relics of Charles IV are also kept. The chest is however

    significantly older, it was made around the end of the 12th century and it is the oldest piece of furniture in the Czech Republic. Experts

    discovered that this is the chest that carried the relics of the king from Italy, where he succumbed to a plague when he was helping

    Henry VI during Italian battles. All this was found in the royal crypt, where nobody else but the king could have been buried,

    Bravermanov pointed out.

    Only the bones made it to Bohemia

    Milena Bravermanov also explained how it is possible that the king was transported to Bohemia in such a small chest. It was quite

    common that if a king or a church dignitary died far away from his home country, it was just his bones that were carried back. The

    soft parts of the body were buried by Napoli, said Bravermanov.

    Strana 1 z 2

  • 8/12/2019 Helmet of Saint Wenceslas Comeback Of


    More than a million visitors have already seen the permanent exhibition The Story of Prague Castle and admired the wonderful pieces

    that are on display, one of them being a replica of the Crown of St Wenceslas.

    Strana 2 z 2