MAGNIFICENT INDOPERSIAN IRON SHIELD LATE 17TH/19TH CENTURY
About the piece
This shield is unique in our experience and literature. It is of elegant yet conventional form, but uniquely made in two pieces with the central 10 3/4" from an earlier shield, very finely chiseled in naturalistic foliage surrounding gold bordered panels of high relief fully modeled, rather than the usually encountered damascening (koftgari), silver floral splays. The use of naturalistic foliage decoration was discontinued in Mogul art after the succession of Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal, dating the original shield to the first half of the 17th century. The outer segment, indistinguishably seamed to the original, is chiseled in panels of koranic calligraphy flanked by bands of foliage. The edge is reinforced with an iron bead decorated in gold. The adaptation of the shield suggests a Mogul shield of such quality and importance as to warrant the replacement of the perimeter segment which undoubtedly bore praise to the deposed ruler, with one reflecting Islamic devotion.