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Black Dhal

Place of Origin: Deccan or Mughal India

Date: 17th Century

Overall Diameter: 590mm (23 Inches)

Reference: 401

Status: Available

Full Description:

This large dhal is formed from a leather core which has been coated throughout with a thick black lacquer. Four gilt-brass bosses attached at the centre contrast brightly against the dark background and are carefully pierced at their pointed borders. The dome of each is filled with an array of leaves packed closely together, a seven-petalled flowerhead marking the centre.

The reverse is fitted with a slightly damaged leather pad which is likely stuffed with camel hair, the rim also partially missing in places. The loop for suspension at each corner is secured with a washer which is in fact a coin (probably an East India Company mint) – a rare and unusual feature which adds a deep sense of history to the shield.

A similar example was published in Runjeet Singh, Arts des Guerriers d’Orient – Paris 2018 (Cat. No. 21).[1] This in turn reveals a further comparandum within Salam Kaoukji’s book and the Al-Sabah collection in Kuwait: a single shield boss which shows similar openwork to those on the present example.[2]


[2] Salam Kaoukji, Precious Indian Weapons and other Princely Accoutrements (the Al-Sabah Collection), Thames and Hudson Ltd, 2017, p. 441, Cat. No. 165.


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