Skip to main content

Inventory

Please take time to view the items in the Inventory.  If there is something in particular you are looking for please get in touch.


Cuirass

Place of Origin: Hyderabad, India

Date: 17th-18th Century

Reference: 105

Status: Sold

Full Description:

A steel cuirass from the armoury of the Nizam of Hyderabad, India, in the European style.  The armoury contained a number of these armours, but this one is unusual in its wide proportions, it was clearly ‘tailored’ for a well-fed man.

Many of the group were inscribed with a date and the name ‘Sarkar Mir Nizam ‘Ali Khan Bahadur’ (1734-1803), who was given the title Nizam by the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah and subsequently ruled in Hyderabad in the Deccan under the name of Asaf Jah II (1762-1803).  Alexander (1) suggests that these inscribed armours were for a specially commissioned series, perhaps for a corps of bodyguards.  The fact the one shown here has no inscription could mean it was specially commissioned, or left the armoury before the inventory.

The cuirass is composed of a breast and backplate attached at the shoulder and sides with iron hinges (some later replacements), held with decorative iron pins.  The breastplate is shaped as a stylised ‘muscled torso’, with double engraved lines accentuating the pectorals and with a sharp median ridge bulging to allow sufficient room for the ample frame of the wearer.

The neck and arm openings have applied iron borders with a rolled outer edge and a serrated inner edge decorated with a row of punched dots.  The border at the neck is extended at the center with a stylised palmette.

The back plate is shaped slightly over the shoulder blades which are also accentuated by double engraved lines, and has a shallow groove down the center (a small hole to the left shoulder blade).  An upright rear iron collar with an applied border, the base extending into a stylised palmette, the bottom edge of the backplate has a matching palmette.

A similar example is in the Metropolitan museum. New York (acc. no.29.158.165a, b) (2), and in the Nasser D.Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (3).

(1) Alexander, Islamic Arms and Armour – In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015, p.53.

(2) Alexander, Islamic Arms and Armour – In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015, p.52-52, cat.no.15.

(3) Alexander, The Arts of War: The Nasser D.Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, 1992, p.175, cat.no.108.