Object Title

Arm defence (dastana)

Arm defence (dastana)



Object Number



Purchased from Spink & Son Ltd, 22 March 1994.

Physical Description

The vambrace is formed of two plates, a long outer plate curved and shaped to the elbow at the end, and a short inner plate. The plates are joined by a long hinge at one side, and were fastened by two straps at the other, for which there are two strap loops and two iron buckles with plain, rectangular frames and plain, cusped hasps, at the other. The main edges are plain, flanged at the wrist, and bordered by numerous original copper lining rivets with round, gilt heads and long, thin points curled around to secure the fabric lining band, fragments of which survive.

The main plate is embossed above the wrist with an elegant, narrow lenticular ridge, below which is a series of 12 reeded transverse flutes. Above the ridge the central portion of the plate has a recessed ground chiselled to leave in relief a series of very elegant plotus bud medallions on punched, recessed ground, and joined by slender stems. The inner plate has a similar recessed central section with two medial lotus bud medallions joined by a stem.

Seven of the lining rivets are missing, two from a broken-out area near the point of the elbow.


Dimensions: length 34.3 cm (13.5 in) Weight: 0.71 kg (1 lb 9 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks



Bibliographic References

S Stronge (ed.) The arts of the Sikh Kingdoms, London, V&A Publications, 1999: 213, no. 32.


The decoration is closely comparable to that of a detached inner plate in a London private collection (no. 12, neg. no. A3/5337 12a-14a).