AUD $2,400.00
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Indo-Persian Inlaid Shield

Sorry, this old shield is no longer available. However we may have another soon.
This Indo-Persian shield could be from Persia, but may just as easily be Indian, more research will hopefully decide that.

However, these shields were quite widely distributed throughout Northern India, the Punjab and west into Persia as far back as the 15th Century. With the conquests of the Moghuls, styles became influenced and these techniques were used throughout "Muslim India" Identifying which is which is difficult, but I believe some upto date books are due to be published soon....


So, here we have a convex circular shield made of damascened steel shield, inlaid with gold and predominately silver "koftgari" with five ornate steel bosses at the centre. These bosses actually disguise the pins that run through the shield to rings attaching straps and padding on the inside , allowing the wearer grip whilst also offering some protection from the impact of deflected blows. (These straps and the pad are in very grimy old resist printed cotton, with small flowers on a Turkey red ground and may be an old replacement.)

However, their main appeal is their “silver Inlay” detailing, which at first glance looks like Indian “Bidri” work, but isn’t I don't think.   

"Bidri" involves carving channels and designs into the base metal, then hammering specific pieces of silver inlay into the holes.
This process is painstakingly accurate, time consuming and expensive.
And can be recognised where some pieces of silver may have dislodged over time leaving specific holes that match the rest of the design.
Only royalty or very privileged soldiers could afford equipment of that quality.

(So far I haven't found any cavities indicating "bidri" work, so I think it may be one step down from it, more the less fastidious "koftgari" technique.)

Surrounded by a fine circle of round gold dots highlighting a border of Islamic cursive script, quoting the Koran and therefore adding extra talismanic protection to the shields primary purpose.

The outer rim is reinforced with a decorative "sawtooth" edge held on with rivets, a closer view reveals a buildup of oxide in the recesses. (this edge is not the plain tubular style, which is more often seen and may even offer some blade catching facility as the bosses also would.)

This shield is in very good condition, apart from some minor oxide patches which can easily be removed or minimised with light non-abrasive polishing (careful finger nail pressure quickly reveals the detail beneath.) I've scoured the surface and found only one shallow dent and a small, fine modern scratch, so I don't think it has seen battle.

 

 Age; 19th Century (possibly earlier.)

Size: Diameter 375 mm (14.75 inches) x Depth approx. 50 mm

Weight: 1286 grams (That's over a kilogram.)