Object Title

Quoit turban (dastar bungga) - Fortress turban

Quoit turban (dastar bungga) - Fortress turban



Object Number



Presented by the East India Company, circa 1853

Physical Description

This turban is of tall conical shape, formed from many wrapped layers of fine dark blue cotton or muslin, the ends of which are ornamented with silver thread. The outer turban is built around an inner cap constructed from a framework of cane covered in plain dark cotton. The front of the turban carries a vertical strip of steel with transverse crescent shapes of increasing size positioned down its lower length by rivets, an upper finial shaped like the end of a khanda (straight sword) blade or spear head, and a cusped lower finial to act as a small nasal guard. This steel strip and its accoutrements are secured against the cap with a long cord of plaited steel wire with gilt ends, wound round the centre of the cap many times between the upper and middle crescents. Into this wire are thrust three small steel knives; two of these are single-edged cutting knives potentially meant to reference the kirpan (knife carried by Sikhs), and the other mimics the shape of the end of the khanda or a spear head in a similar way to the upper finial of the central steel strip. Placed over the cap at intervals are six steel quoits, 'chakram', of varying sizes, with sharpened edges; the largest rests just above the lower edge of the cap, the smallest just below the top.


OverallHeight510 mm
OverallWeight1.2 kg
OverallWidth250 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

None visible

Bibliographic References

J. Hewitt, Official catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859, no. xv.137, p.99.

Viscount Dillon, Illustrated guide to the Armouries, London, 1910, no. xv.148, p.33.

Thom Richardson, An introduction to Indian arms and armour, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2007: 31

Indian Arms and Armour

The East India Company gift to the Tower of London in 1853


A further example belongs to Stonyhurst Jesuit College, Nr Clitheroe, Lancs. This example (seen 25th Jan 2000) comprises an iron tree, the braided wire cord, a series of quoits, a bagh nakh and several small knives, together with a length of dark blue cloth. The basket framework does not seem to have survived. Another example is in the British Museum, London.