Object Title

Arm defence (dastana)

Arm defence (dastana)



Object Number



Ownership uncertain, see AL.8. Deposited by Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, 1955.

Physical Description

These vambraces are of tubular form and are lined with red velvet which has faded to brown. They are in two pieces, joined by long hinges with removable pins (the lower pin of the right one is missing). The edges are decorated in gold onlay (koftgari) with borders of stylized flowers and foliage. The hand guards are of crimson velvet and are quilted and embroidered with gold and silver thread with sequins. They are symmetrical, with flaps at the outside and inside joined at the top and opening at the bottom, and without any finger or thumb loops.


Dimensions: length 47 cm, width 11 cm Weight: 820 g (right) 650 g (left)

Inscriptions and Marks



Bibliographic References

S Stronge (ed.) The arts of the Sikh Kingdoms, London, V&A Publications, 1999: 224, no. 123, pl. 151.

Thom Richardson, An introduction to Indian arms and armour, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2007: 22


By tradition, this armour was the property of Ranjit Singh, ruler of the Sikhs who died in 1839. The armour was almost certainly acquired in Lahore by Henry Hardinge (1785-1856) while Governor General of India, 1844-8. His descendent, Lord Hardinge of Penshurst deposited his collection in the Tower Armouries in 1955.