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Painted Dhal

Place of Origin: India

Date: 18th Century

Overall : 470mm (18.5 inches)

Reference: 190

Status: Reserved

Full Description:

An 18th century Indian shield known as a dhal, this object comes from Rajasthan—probably Ajmer.  A similar shield is shown in a brightly coloured lithograph in the Journal of Indian Art and Industry and labelled: “Shield made by Khuda Bux, of Shahpura, Ajmere”.  Ajmer was a princely state in India and is now a city in the state of Rajasthan. Interestingly, Ajmer is surrounded by the Aravalli Range of mountains and this could provide the source of the landscapes we see on shields from this group.

This example is convex and probably made of buffalo hide. It has a base-layer of black paint upon which slightly raised floral bouquets and a hilly landscape has been created in gold and red paint, repeating on each quarter of the front’s surface. The flowers are bordered by golden, red and green rocks, shaded by the artist to create a three-dimensional visual effect. Small green leaves add a subtle visual contrast here and there while four star-shaped silver bosses sit near the centre, each decorated with a series of small circles and held in place by a central pin. The rear of the shield is painted with red hills around the edge along with green, shaded rocks. The original green velvet-covered pad and cord handles remain, although one handle is now broken.