Original Victorian Era Rhinoceros Hide Dhal Shield from the Horn of Africa
Original Item: One Only. Traditionally we think of a DHAL Shield as being of INDO-PERSIAN origin and can date back to the 17th century, although most encountered are of 19th century origin. These are very often made of iron/steel with intricate engravings and gold and silver inlays. However, those produced in the Horn of Africa traditionally are made from thick Rhinoceros hide.
Our example here measures 18" across and is constructed of thick Rhino hide, without any worked decoration whatsoever. It has four slightly engraved steel circular rosettes to the front that are the support anchors for the hand grip to the rear. On the rear between these rosettes there is a leather "pillow" to protect the carrier's knuckles against the very hard hide shield. Clearly very old, we think this particular Dhal shield was brought home by a British Soldier after the Battle of Omdurman in 1898.
Not a tourist item, this is a shield meant for hand to hand combat in the Victorian era. Having lived for more than 100 years in a British military Museum this is ready to display.
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