Object Title

Arm defence (dastana)

Arm defence (dastana)



Object Number



Purchased 3 October 1995.

Physical Description

Comprising two pieces, an outer forearm defence with a hinged inner arm defence. The two pieces secured with a long pin through loops. Both have small reinforce bars riveted around the edges approximately 5 mm in from the edge, and an embossed transverse rib 75 mm from the wrist edge. Both plates have medial ridges, and the outer plate has three facets either side of the ridge, which widen and turn into shallow flutes towards the elbow. The outer edges are all pierced for rivets. A number of the copper rivets still retain the edge binding. Inside, the rivet tails are curled and still retain some of the original leather lining. The elbow end turns out to a point and terminates in an onion-shaped knob.


Dimensions: length 400 mm Weight: 0.805 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

5 letter Hindi inscription by hinge (see notes below).



The inscription is interesting. It could be read 'sam 6 taga 1', which is meaningless. However, the character 'sam' is a common abbreviation for 'samvat', year in Hindi, often introducing a date. It is just conceivable that the letters could be read as numbers following that, as '6251'. AH dates are hardly ever written in Hindi in India, almost always appearing as Arabic numerals. Vikrama Samvat dates, the commonest dating system, are usually written in Hindi, but almost always reading from left to right. However, some samvat dates are written reading right to left (see, for example the coinage of the state of Tripura in Bengal in the early 19th century), and read as a Vikrama Era date the inscription reads 'sam 1526' for 1582 AD.