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Antique Indo Persian Indian Rhinoceros Hide Shield Dhal Islamic Mughal

Antique Indo Persian Indian Rhinoceros Hide Shield Dhal Islamic Mughal

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Indian Subcontinent: India: Pre 1800: Item # 1470020

Please refer to our stock # ES1121 when inquiring.
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Rare, antique, 18th century, Indo Persian shield (Dhal - Separ) - a white rhinoceros hide shield with six gold gilt bosses, Islamic Mughal North India.

The shield is of circular convex form with inverted rim, made of semi-translucent, very thick, treated white rhinoceros hide, adorned in the center with embossed central medallion, and mounted with six handmade copper bosses, heavily overlaid with gold, seated on the crimson fabric base.

The interior is fitted with a rectangular crimson velvet cushion bordered with a brocade border and affixed with six iron rings bolts (to hold the shield).

Over the years, we have seen several Indian Dhal shields made of white rhinoceros hide; however, none of them was of this quality and size. They were all smaller, made of much thinner hide, and fitted not with six handmade copper-gilt bosses but with four cast brass bosses in the form of the flower heads. The Indian Dhal shields with six bosses are unique. The quality of the shield and the heavy gold plating of the bosses indicate that the shield was custom-made for a significant figure of the Mughal Indian Aristocracy

This is the only Indian white rhinoceros shield - Dhal of such excellent quality, still simple and elegant as I have seen in over 50 years of trading Islamic and Indian arms and armor.

Most Indo-Persian shields only have four bosses affixed at the back with four iron ring bolts to hold the shield in one hand.

Dhal shields with the six bosses and six iron rings are rare. Three straps were attached to the six rings; two straps were worn on the forearm, and the third strap was held by the hand, which provided a better grip of the shield and prevented the shield from being knocked off the hand during the combat.


This is a museum-quality Islamic Mughal shield, which can be found on display at the museum. A similar Mughal Indian shield, also made of rhino hide and with identical in shape gold gilt bosses, dated to the Afsharid period (1736–1796), is preserved in the collection of the Military Museum in Teheran and is published in the book "Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period" by Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani. Page. 673. Cat. 367.

A related Indian shield made of rhinoceros hide, mounted with six bosses, is published in the Bonhams catalog "Islamic and Indian Art" Oct 6, 2015, London, New Bond Street. Sold for. £ 2,500 (US$3,312)

Please see the link below.

We will provide the buyer with photocopies of the pages from the mentioned references together with a certificate of authenticity.

Most of these types of rhinoceros hide shields made in the late 18th century are small and mounted with brass cast bosses in the form of stylized blossoms.

This superb quality shield is the size of a full shield and is the largest of its kind we've seen, and what is more, it has gilded bosses.

MEASUREMENTS: 34.5 cm (13.6 inches) in diameter.

Weight: 1.100 kg (2.4 lb.)

CONDITION: Very good condition with a yellowish age patina and slight deformation.