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Lahore Shield

SMI 16: Lahore Shield.
Date: Probably early nineteenth century
Location: The Royal Armouries, Leeds:
Object number: XXVIA.140

This round shield is of watered steel, elaborately decorated with a border in gold koftgari. Presented by the East India Company in 1851.


The Shield has a surface of the metal inside the border are overlaid two very stylised peacocks and two short-legged animals that might be mongooses/crocodiles. The interior is lined with red velvet, the same material being used to cover the two grips. It was presented by the East India Company to the Tower of London.

Elaborately decorated Watered steel (Wootz) shield from Lahore. The meandering arabesque design is also seen on some helmets (Khula Khuds) and Bazu Bands (arm gauntlets) associated with the Sikh empire during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s reign. The gold koftgari 6 flower petal design surrounding the borders is another hallmark of the Lahore workshops under the Sikh territories.

During the early eighteenth century Lahore was coveted by the Mughals, Afghans and the Sikhs. Various battles and alliances took place during this time until the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who took over the area in 1799.

Additional information

Also noted in the publications below:

J. Hewitt, Official catalogue of the Tower Armouries, london, 1859, no. xv.33, p.95.
Viscount Dillon, Illustrated guide to the Armouries, London, 1910, no. xv.109, p.11.

See link to the Shield on the Royal Armouries website.

Royal armouries
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