Steel shields from India and Persia are called ‘sipar’
and provide protection against arrows and sword strikes. Many footmen preferred the buckler,
a small version of the ‘dhal’
which was worn on the left hand, parrying sword blows from the opponent. Smaller shield were better manouverable and easy to use. The ‘sipar’
shields turned up in the 17th century and were in use until the 19th century.
Two solid bucklers dating from the 19th century, decorated with a wonderful silver and gold koftgari (Ganga-Jamuna) design of cartouches filled with arabesque and foliage motifs. The decoration points us towards North-India, most likely Punjab or Sialkot (current day Pakistan). Both bucklers feature four bosses which are attached with a suspension ring, holding a cord to attach to the hand. The inside of the bucklers are covered with padded red fabric, providing comfort while in use. The rim of both shields are reinforced and toothed showing a silver design of a lozenge border, alternated with filled triangles.
Condition: Good condition, some ware on the koftgari and one buckler shows some superficial scratches on the front. Both padded fabrics inside are worn, but generally in good order.
Weight: 510 and 514gr.
Provenance: French art market
– Ravinder Reddy Arms & Armour of India, Nepal & Sri Lanka, pg. 19 (lower shield on the display, 1886) and pg. 286-287.