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Old 20th March 2013, 11:56 PM   #1
Runjeet Singh
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Warwickshire, England
Posts: 147
Default Rest In Peace - Dr Leo S. Figiel

It is with regret and a heavy heart that I report the death of Dr. Leo S. Figiel. He died last month, just 2 weeks short of his 95th birthday. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

He was one of the great modern day collectors of Indian Art & Antiques, and his contribution to these fields will always live on.

I re-post an article below that was originally published on my blog in December 2012.


From 23rd December 2012: Dr Leo S.Figiel is a name etched (pun-intended) in the memories of those interested in Indian & Islamic Arms & Armour primarily due to his impressive collection of weapons which was sold on August 24, 1998 at Butterfield & Butterfield Auction House in San Francisco, USA.

His 1991 book 'On Damascus Steel' has become one of the most important and comprehensive studies of the subject, and is a reference point to anybody discussing or studying Damascus steel. It should also be noted that the Butterfields catalogue has become a collectors item in itself!

The point of this article is to highlight another area of collecting that Dr Figiel is less known for (certainly in arms & armour circles anyway). Namely a collection of Indian Bronzes. The collection was acquired from Dr Figiel in 2006 by the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, USA. The museum have done an excellent job of creating an on-line catalogue of the collection.

Comparisons from the bronzes can be drawn with Indian (particularly South Indian) weapons where bronze hilts are formed as gods and monsters, and quite often mythological stories are crafted into the design of objects.

Unfortunately the interactive catalogue uses Flash technology, which is not compatible with Apple machines. But there is a basic version for Apple users also.

If you are able to browse the interactive catalogue, please do so, the video in 'Contemporary views' is particularly informative and amusing. I would love to hear from anybody who has viewed the collection in person, or anybody who is planning to do so.

Apple Users:
Non-Apple Users:
Runjeet Singh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st March 2013, 12:19 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Hi Runjeet,

Thank you for posting this.


laEspadaAncha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st March 2013, 03:48 AM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
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Seems like we are losing so many of these spectacular scholars these days (sigh). Let's hope that others will step up to the challenge.
M ELEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st March 2013, 07:32 PM   #4
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Location: Greenville, NC
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Dr. Figiel was collecting wootz and studying it when "wootz wasn't cool". His book sets a standard in the field, and will be a fine legacy.

Sincere sympathies to his family.
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