Original Victorian Era Sudanese Mahdi Wars Dervish Rhinoceros Hide Decorated Shield c.1880
Original Item: Only One Available. The loss of General Gordon at Khartoum in 1885 was a great blow to British prestige and yet it took thirteen years for Great Britain to extract revenge at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898. The religious leader, the Mahdi, "the chosen or expected one" had died shortly after the Gordon episode and the Caliphate was now led by the infamous and exceptional brutal Khalifa, "the successor".
These tribal natives of the Sudan were a primitive and violent people still living hundreds of years in the past. Their weapons were primitive most consisting of Jezail flintlocks, Kaskara broad swords of Crusader style, arm daggers that were strapped to the left forearm for hand to hand fighting and round very thick Rhinoceros shields. These native followers were known to the British as the "Fuzzy-Wuzzies".
The Battle of Omdurman in 1898 was a rout, the Long Lee Enfield magazine Rifles and the Maxim machine guns made short work of the over 30,000 strong Dervish Army. The victory was received as a great Colonial achievement back in England and the returning troops treated like heroes.
This, clearly a British Soldier bring back, is a Rhinoceros Parrying Shield measuring 14" across. The hide is very thick and molded so that the center protrudes giving, ample room to the rear for the substantial grip mount. The front surface is decorated with geometrical carving.
All in all a very impressive shield which the radical Dervishes believed would protect them from the British Martini Henry .577/.450 lead bullets in 1885 and the .303 bullets in 1898. Offered In very nice condition already 120-140 years old.
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