Kurdish kalkan
This item has been sold.

27 cm diameter

9.5 cm high


1101 grams


Iron, rattan, cotton, linen, wool, leather, brass.


Ottoman Empire

Kurdish people


19th century


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A small shield or buckler of a type that was used by the Kurdish warriors during Ottoman times.

It is made of a rattan core, wrapped with colorful cotton thread. The rim is covered with leather. The front of the buckler is reinforced with a large iron center boss and an iron rim, connected with 22 thick rods of an angular cross-section. At the top and bottom are also six plates in total through which metal wire is fastened that holds the handle on the inside.

The handle is made of braided leather, wide in the center and branching out in three parts on either side, each connected to its own plate on the other side. A linen pillow filled with wool provides padding for the hand. 

At the front of the shield are 35 brass tokens, probably originally 38 with 3 of them now lost. Most are covered too much by the construction to identify them, but I could make out three that were by "L. CHR. Lauer" of Nuremberg, a company active between 1729-1924. They made so-called "play money", used as chips much like in gambling today.

In used condition, with wear and tear to the leather and textile here and there. See photos.


Kurds 1873

Traditional clothing from Diyarbakır, Ottoman Empire.

From: Les costumes populaires de la Turquie en 1873
published by the Imperial Ottoman Commission for the
"Exposition Universelle" of Vienna in 1873.


Comparable examples

A very similar shield was auctioned by Christie's. It was identified as 17th century, which I think is incorrect.


Kurdish buckler or shield
Kurdish buckler or shield
Kurdish buckler or shield
Kurdish buckler or shield
Kurdish buckler or shield
Kurdish buckler or shield
Kurdish buckler or shield
Kurdish buckler or shield
Kurdish buckler or shield

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