Shields made of animal hide were light, handy, strong, and durable and were preferred to metal shields. The surface of this large rhinoceros-hide shield is lacquered in black and painted. It depicts four lions attacking blackbucks and bulls. The shield has four golden knobs fashioned like flowers around a circular flower and a creeper design at the centre. Attached to the inside of the shield is a square stuffed cushion.
Such large shields are also known as dowry shields. It was customary to carry the bride’s dowry consisting of jewels, cash, arms, and so on, on the concave side of the shield. An embroidered cloth would be placed on the shield under the gifts or often the concave side of the shield was decorated extravagantly.
Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection
Arms and Armour
18th century CE
Diameter: 54 cm