An Ottoman Kalkan buckler
Ottoman Empire, 18th to 19th century
Materials: Iron, Brass, Cane, Silk, Fabric, Leather
The ‘Kalkan‘ shields have their origin in the early Mamluk and Ottoman period, in the 16th century. The dome shaped shields with woven cane, iron central boss and fabric cover, were used for defending against sword strikes and enemy arrows. The later examples were smaller making them faster and maneuverable against sword strikes and arrows. They are characteristic for their heavily reinforced iron boss and thick iron bars to provide excellent cover. Some shields were decorated with brass coins, as can be seen on this example.
Many of these shields are believed to be dating from the 16th to 19th century, while most museum examples which are attributed to the 16th and 17th century are usually larger and have more detailed fabric decoration applied. I would suggest that these pieces can be dated safely to the 18th and 19th century, when in the 19th century firearms increasingly changed the way of warfare and slowly caused them to fall out of use.
A classic type from the period, The shield was made of a series of bend wicker rods which are bend in shape and kept by iron rivets. The cane was covered with a thick fabric in a colorful Turkish pattern and similar layers of steel are holding the central boss. The central piece and the reinforced rim are connected by thick iron bars which are riveted with brass coins used as washers. The back of the buckler has a leather patch and a braided leather strap to hold the shield comfortably. The rest of the inside of the shields cane is covered in fabric.
Good general condition, cleaned, but with patinated rust and worn leather due to age. The leather, fabric and steel is treated and conserved.
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