Object Title




Probably 15th century - 17th century

Object Number



Purchased 18 September 1995.

Physical Description

The quiver is made from panels of shaped, stiffened leather which are sewn together with leather laces, using a method of stitching which presents as close braiding along the edges. The main sections of leather include: the flat back pieces; a curved panel covering the lower two thirds of the front; a canopy or hood around the top which extends down the sides of the quiver from a tuck or fold on each side; and the base piece. The flat back section is cut in a round shape at the top, and the canopy is stitched at right angles to it, leavig the upper front of the quiver open. In the main body of the quiver, the curved front piece of leather is stiched to the back creating a tube, the base of which is boat prow shaped on both sides. The base panel of the quiver is stitched to the front and back, creating a flat bottom that curves up to the sides when viewed from the front. There are two straps of leather around the main body, formed with loops to act as carrying straps. Two holes are pierced in the top back of the quiver, and a further five holes are pierced on each side near the top. An oblong piece of leather with two holes at each end is connected to the sides above the mouth of the quiver bucket; this would have been used to secure the arrows in the quiver. The front and sides of the quiver appear to be covered in gold leaf beneath a coating of pigmented shellac, decorated with interweaving patterns in fine black lines. This creates a warm, reddish, glowing effect, which has probably darkened with age. The patterns are extremely intricate and delicate, incorporating large roundels enclosing furling dragons with bared fangs among clouds and large flower blooms, interspersed with panels of an interlocking scale pattern and panels of a stylised flower pattern. The interior of the flat back panel is covered in naturalistic flower blossoms and scrolling foliage.



OverallDepth125 mm
OverallLength790 mm
OverallWeight1113 g
OverallWidth258 mm

Bibliographic References

D La Rocca, Warriors of the Himalayas, rediscovering the arms and armour of Tibet, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006: 190, no. 93


A very similar form and style of decoration is found on the bowcase XXVIB.145, and the arm defence XXVIA.279. A similar quiver (the lower half) in terms of shape, construction and decorative style is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, New York (2001.37).

For information on this technique of decorating Central Asian (particularly Tibetan) leather arms and armour, which seems to be created with a combination of layers of pigmented shellac, gold leaf and a glaze of tung oil, see Donald LaRocca, `Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armour of Tibet` (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006), pp.96-97 and p.116.

Previous notes made on this quiver state that there are another two examples are in a private collection in London. One is complete with its suspension straps and red silk tassels, the other in very damaged state.


The collections data published on Royal Armouries Collections Online has been compiled over the life of the museum. We are aware that some of the records reflect ideas that are now outdated or contain terminology that may now be considered discriminatory or offensive. We are actively taking steps to resolve these issues and will review and update records accordingly. Please contact us to improve our knowledge of the collection or draw our attention to any material that you believe to be discriminatory or offensive by using the "improve our records" button above.