Santal people, Bengali, North-East India – 19th century
Materials: Iron, Brass, Copper
The Santal people are one of the largest indigenous ethnic groups in the world and are located mostly in the Bengali region of North-East India and Bangladesh. The main language of the Santal is Santali and is widespread over the entire region. The main religion of the Santal people is Hinduism. When it comes to arms and armor from this region we can see that the swords, bows, axes, spears and shield are mostly of tribal quality and are often locally made by blacksmiths.
One of their main arms of choice in close combat is the ‘Sentali‘ parrying shield with a rather uncommon feature; Compared to shield from other regions, this type of shield has a conical shape facing outwards and is provided with an iron hook and spike to ward off enemy strikes.
Consisting of an iron shield with forged iron grabbing hook and spike. The applications on the front of the shield are riveted and hold small conical copper and iron adornments with a striped motif. The edge of the shield is reinforced with an iron rim and decorated with a brass sheet underneath which are held with riveted clasps. Next to the domed center, four bosses with chiseled decoration hold four iron rings on which the velvet cushion originally was attached. Sentali shields are considered rare on todays market.
Condition: Excellent, the iron shield shows traces of use, but is in good original condition with a fine dark patina.