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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Dhal (shield)


Creator: Lucknow (place of production)
Creation Date: 
first half nineteenth century
Materials and techniques: 
Silver gilt, brass, enamel and diamonds
6.7 x 48.0 cm
XQG 2002 308
XQG 2005 Treas
Acquirer: King Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom (1841-1910)
Presented to King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, during his tour of India in 1875-76 by Ranbir Singh, Maharaja of Kashmir.

Like the weapons and other articles presented to the Prince of Wales in India during the winter of 1875-6, this is a particularly elaborate and rich example of a traditional form. Shields of this type (Dhal) were usually made of hide, often painted or lacquered, with metal bosses applied at the points to which the handles were fastened on the reverse. In this instance the front of the shield is made of silver gilt, decorated overall with champlevé enamels, mounted with four bosses and inset with seven tear-shaped ornaments and a crescent motif, all of them set with diamonds. The colours employed for the enamelling, and the subject matter - numerous animals and birds, some of which are attacking one another - are characteristic of Lucknow work of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The four jewelled borders around the edges are formed on segmental plates about 20 centimetres long, whose joins are disguised in ingenious ways. The thickness of the shield is probably filled with lac, and the reverse is a plain lacquered brass disc.

Catalogue entry from Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002

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