Made of pasteboard, finely lacquered with roses and nightengales.
Diameter 45.2 cm
Height 8.4 cm
Iron/steel, lacquer, textile
From a Scandinavian private collection
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A fine Persian steel shield with a relatively deep dome and four iron bosses. The inside is lined with fabric.
It has a handle strap of old silk and early metallic wire, probably done in the 19th or early 20th century by a collector. One of the four loops for the handle are missing.
The outside is entirely painted in the style of the Zand to early Qajar Period, with a lady in a center cartouche and four scenes in cartouches around that. Along the edge are eight sections with Persian script.
Here follows a translation kindly provided by Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani:
With oppressive hostlity they came to fight against the Creator of the world (God)
They came from the city of Azeh [a city in the province of Fars] as the youth was informed
Through his mediaton and speech, they arrived in a powerless state
The playful act of the earth was due to the sunrise
Purifying the body and the world from the corruption
When reason dominated our goodness, and they were surrounded by it
Calm became our companion in this plain and the army of charity
The boars [referring to courageous people] and their helpers came to fight the God of the Pleiades
He also added that the absence of crowns on the figures, as well as the reference to the city of Fars, both point towards the Zand period (1751-1779).
Persian painted armor is quite rare, and I have found nothing comparable in the literature.
There is one set of helmet, armguard and shield in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, accession number 36.25.65a–c. It was obtained by bequest of George Cameron Stone in 1936. Only the helmet is shown on the website, and the shield does not feature in Stone's famous Glossary. Their set is dated circa 1800.
The style of this painting resembles that of the late Zand period to early Qajar and so probably dates from around the late 18th to early 19th century.
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