Indian Madu Parrying Shield (Dhal)
Origin: India (most likely Northern India)
Date: 19th century
Size: Dhal Diameter - 25cm / total length: 95cm
Materials: Steel, Brass and Horn
A large Indian Madu Parrying Shield (Dhal) with brass bosses and long horns.
The Maduvu, also known as a maru or madu, is a weapon from India consisting of two blackbuck horns pointing in opposite directions connected by two crossbars which also act as a handle. Later examples include a shield at the centre to allow for more protection. This weapon was ideal for close combat when the opponent is attacking with a long weapon (sword or spear). Therefore this is primarily defensive weapon (with attacking features), favouring a low stance in which the wielder strives to stay lower than their opponent. This helps protect the body's vital points.
This particular type of weapon combination was used defensively by Fakirs and Mendicants who were generally not allowed to carry traditional weapons, and also a weapon favored by the Marathas. According to the Royal Collection Trust, this type of weapon was popular amongst the Bhil peoples. Bhils an Indo-Aryan speaking ethnic group in West India and seen as the largest tribal group in India. Bhils are listed as indigenous people of the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan—all in the western Deccan regions and central India—as well as in Tripura in far-eastern India,
Our example is of traditional form and construct. The central shield is made of steel and is decorated with floral brass bosses around the shield. There are four large floral bosses at the centre with a large one in the middle. This follows the traditional dhal (shield) form. Then, there are 8 brass bosses around the shield in a circular form (one missing). The dhal has a nice age throughout.
At the back, there is a pair of large sharpened and polished antelope horns, mounted in opposite directions on the back. The horns are of a large size with expected age - making this a very functional and purpose built example. Metal spikes are fitted at the end of each horn. The overlapping antelope horns form a handle at their juncture; each protrude beyond the shield to form offensive points.
CONCLUSIONOverall, a unique and unusual weapon of large proportions and in good condition. A rare find - perfect for those interested in owning a unique piece of Indian Arms and Armour.