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David Cooper




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2015 6:51 am    Post subject: Indian Dahl and a few questions.         Reply with quote

I recently purchased an Indian Dahl from he world's favourite auction site Laughing Out Loud The seller described it as:

''Old mughal Dhal with religious? Chiselwork/Engravings.Very nice piece and in good condition. Probably from 1800s maybe earlier. Solid shield.''

I suspect it is late1800s or even more recent rather than earlier. Perhaps others here can chime in with their opinions. The shield is steel, 12.25 inches in diameter and weighs 2 lbs. The reverse is covered in blue cloth. I have made my own leather cushion and straps to make it a functional piece.
The front is covered in script which I think is Hindi (but could be any sub-continent language or even Arabic.) I have tried to separate out the script to make it clearer and would be very grateful if anybody here can translate the panels. I will post them separately. I note the similarity with the European buckler and Scottish Targe. Is this just a case of different cultures coming up with similar solutions to a problem or has one form influenced the others?



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David Cooper




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2015 6:54 am    Post subject: The panels         Reply with quote

Enhanced pics of the script.


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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2015 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am afraid I cannot answer your questions, but I wanted to tell you that you did an excellent job on the cushion and straps!
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2015 8:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Indian Dahl and a few questions.         Reply with quote

David Cooper wrote:
The shield is steel, 12.25 inches in diameter and weighs 2 lbs. The reverse is covered in blue cloth. I have made my own leather cushion and straps to make it a functional piece.


That's pretty light. I haven't seen many weight for antique shields of that size, but the ones I have seen are usually more than 2lbs. Some weights at end of post.

These small ones are basically bucklers, with both straps held in the fist. The straps should be of a length such that this works, and pulls the straps tight. Larger dhals can be centre-gripped in the same way. Some larger ones have a forearm strap; these ones have six bosses and rings, which can be held either in a centre-grip or with the forearm through a strap. (Which strap? I don't know for sure; I'd guess the forearm strap is on the extra two bosses/rings, and the centre straps are still held in the fist.) A six-boss dhal can be seen here: http://www.ashokaarts.com/shop/indian-rhino-h...ron-bosses

As for links with other shields, shields are very common and are found on multiple continents before mutual contact. Often, they're round. The dhal with two soft straps is not so common; other shields of similar size often have a single rigid grip.

Some Persian round shield weights (diameter, weight, other comments):

65cm, 2840g, 16th century, elephant hide, centre gripped
61.5cm, 4500g, Safavid, rhino hide, forearm strapped
35.8cm, 1550g, Safavid, rhino hide, forearm strapped
42.5cm, 1720g, Safavid, hide, forearm strapped
52cm, 1850g, Safavid, rhino hide, forearm strapped
50.5cm, 1580g, Safavid, rhino hide, centre gripped
48cm, 460g, Safavid, rhino hide, forearm strapped
47.5cm, 1553g, Safavid, rhino hide, forearm strapped
44.5cm, 1760g, Safavid, rhino hide, forearm strapped
39.5cm, 2270g, Safavid, steel, centre gripped
40cm, 1380g, Afsharid, rhino hide, forearm strapped
51cm, 1880g, Afsharid, buffalo hide, centre gripped
53cm, 2948g, Afsharid, rhino hide, forearm strapped
51cm, 3270g, Zand, rhino hide, forearm strapped
41.5cm, 1375g, Zand, hide, centre gripped
48cm, 2610g, Qajar, buffalo hide, forearm strapped
65cm, 2840g, Qajar, rhino hide, centre gripped
47cm, 2270g, Qajar, rhino hide, forearm strapped
67.5cm, 2620g, Qajar, rhino hide, forearm strapped
49cm, 2620g, Qajar, buffalo hide, centre gripped
47cm, 2500g, Qajar, steel, centre gripped
39cm, 1960g, Qajar, steel, centre gripped
51.2cm, 2620g, Qajar, steel, centre gripped

Safavid = 1502 to 1796
Afsharid = 1737 to 1802
Zand = 1750 to 1794
Qajar = 1794 to 1925

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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David Cooper




Location: UK
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2015 12:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan, Thank you.
Timo, Thanks some great information there. My shield is 1.3 mm thick not including the cloth.

Now Any Hindi readers out there Question

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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2015 5:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The script is Arabic through and through. You just had them upside down in your separated/enhanced images so that they don't look like Arabic. In any case, the decorative cursive script is pretty hard to read, but I think they're excerpts from the 99 names/attributes of God in Islam.
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David Cooper




Location: UK
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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Posts: 110

PostPosted: Mon 14 Sep, 2015 12:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Lafayette, sorry for the delay, I've been away.
Members on another forum suspect that this is a fairly new made item that has been artificially aged. I can't say that I disagree as the brass bolts for the grip look suspiciously modern. Still it's a usable buckler and decorative as well Happy

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