In excavated condition, with copper alloy hilt.
Wood, lacquer, pigments
Late 18th - early 19th century
From a Dutch collection
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A rare Thai shield. Made of wood, covered with thick lacquer. There is a vertical wooden grip on the back. It has seven wooden bosses at the front that simulate those seen on Indian shields.
The front is lacquered with a black base with on top of that golden lacquer decoration in the form of a Chinese-style tiger surrounded by flowers. The inside is painted a vermillion red.
The outer surface has some damage that appears to have been caused by some minor cuts and thrusts.
Dating & attribution
Wooden lacquered shields were used mainly in Vietnam and Thailand, both at some point favored the black and gold finish.
What makes it Thai is the overall shape, mimicking those of India and reminding also of the shields Indian-inspired shields seen in Aceh. In both instances, bosses are copied but often do not correspond to the handle system attachment points as they do in India.
A shield similar to this one is seen in an unfortunately very low-resolution photo of the Siam corner in the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. It has the exact same geometry and placement of the bosses.
Siam corner at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, 1904.
Source: "Viewing the history of the Thai nation through weapons"
Thai shields with Chinese-style tiger faces can be seen on a late 18th-century mural:
Buddhaisawan Chapel mural, 1795
National Museum of Bangkok
Photo by G. Brundage
Golden shields also feature on a more modern mural, showing much earlier events:
Mural at Phayathai Palace depicting a historical battle. Built 1909.
Photo by Trisorn Triboon.
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Persian steel shield with fine Qajar style painted dome.
A textbook example of this rare and early type of keris.
Nice and complete with opaque green hilt and scabbard mounts.
With a golden damascened lock of the Indo-Portuguese type.