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Old 5th January 2014, 05:17 PM   #1
Paroosevelt
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Default Indian Armguard

I have what i believe to be a dastana from Sind. I'm looking to find out everything I can about it from the technology of manufacture to the material culture of the area and period. From what i've found the armour from sind is quite distinct from elsewhere in India and I was wondering if there was anything to be found on the emergence of particular styles in different areas.
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Old 7th January 2014, 05:10 AM   #2
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Most interesting query, and welcome to our forum. May I ask first how you have determined this vambrace is from Sind, and what references have stated the distinction of armour from Sind from other places in India ?

As I admit to knowing little on this aspect of Indian arms, I thought in order to respond I would check a few resources. My first choice was "Oriental Armour" (H.Russell Robinson, 1967) where the author notes the inherent problems in classifying Indian arms and armour (p.93) but notes on p.96, ..some armour is characteristic of one particular state, such as that of Sind, whilst many states used armour of Persian fashion and it is impossible to distinguish one from another".

Despite noting this dilemma, Robinson continues on p.96 , "...Sindian vambraces are of the tubular type, being opened and closed by means of long removable hinge pins. They are not generally cupped to fit up behind the point of the elbow, as in the Indo-Persian dastana, but are straight like sections of guttering".
He continues commenting on the decoration of Sindian armour , ".. the decoration of these armors consists of applied brass enrichments-either simple borders and bosses attached to the plates or complete overlaid panels of embossed pierced and engraved decoration".

There is some brief overview of Sind arms in "Indian and Oriental Arms and Armour" (Lord Egerton of Tatton, 1880 p.136) however nothing definitive toward these pieces of armour. It is much the same with "Arms and Armour: Traditional Weapons of India" E.Jaiwent Paul (2004) .

In "Arms of the Muslim Knight ' (2008, ed. Bashir Mohamed) there are two examples of Deccani vambraces of 17th c. and it is noted similar examples are in Edinburgh and New York. These of course are the same in structural form but obviously decoration is quite different, being embossed with features and heavy application of koftgari etc.

Regarding the technology in manufacturing as well as the material culture of the region, quite honestly it would be nearly impossible to even list the bibliography of references to consult here, especially without more detail on what you are seeking.

Do you collect Indian arms, and if so what is your specific field of interest?
Looking forward to further discussion with you, and hope this has been of some help. As I note, until this evening I had little knowledge on these either so the research was fun

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 10th January 2014, 04:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paroosevelt
I have what i believe to be a dastana from Sind. I'm looking to find out everything I can about it from the technology of manufacture to the material culture of the area and period. From what i've found the armour from sind is quite distinct from elsewhere in India and I was wondering if there was anything to be found on the emergence of particular styles in different areas.
There is a good chance that the specific information you are looking for is just not available in a book but there are some forum members with a lot of knowledge on Indian armor.

You can look online for similar looking dastana to see if any have the same characteristics as yours. I think the two large holes in the front and back may not be original....possibly made to hang it on a wall etc for display. Here is a link were you can find some other dastana to compare.

http://www.pinterest.com/samuraianti...persian-armor/
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Old 10th January 2014, 04:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
There is a good chance that the specific information you are looking for is just not available in a book but there are some forum members with a lot of knowledge on Indian armor.

You can look online for similar looking dastana to see if any have the same characteristics as yours. I think the two large holes in the front and back may not be original....possibly made to hang it on a wall etc for display. Here is a link were you can find some other dastana to compare.

http://www.pinterest.com/samuraianti...persian-armor/
Were you able to see post #2?
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Old 10th January 2014, 06:14 AM   #5
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Salaams All~ While the thread originator is sifting through the valuable material posted above (Pinterest is a superb source) I have a few moments to spare, thus, a few downloaded pictures could inspire other forum inclusion in this debate... which is in essence quite an interesting topic.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Old 10th January 2014, 06:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Were you able to see post #2?
Jim what I meant was that this detailed request may be beyond the information that was already posted by you. I am not sure that there is really much more easily found information on the subject but if there is such a source I would also like to discover it.

Quote:
I'm looking to find out everything I can about it from the technology of manufacture to the material culture of the area and period.
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Old 10th January 2014, 09:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Jim what I meant was that this detailed request may be beyond the information that was already posted by you. I am not sure that there is really much more easily found information on the subject but if there is such a source I would also like to discover it.
Thanks, I misunderstood. Actually what I detailed with the data I listed was to itemize what material which was pertinent to Sind in most of the standard references. What I wanted to show was basically that references on Indian arms and armour or which include them in their scope, do not necessarily classify categorically to specific regions in most cases.

I believe in some of the more obscure texts like Watt, Hendley and some of the others who wrote specifically on Indian metalwork there may be some useful references. However these are difficult to access usually. Also the question pertaining to material culture of the region is rather broad and would involve quite lengthy study in Indian art to describe, especially without a specific interest or goal.

Thank you for your link.

Ibrahiim, thank you for the superb images as well!!!
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Old 11th January 2014, 09:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thanks, I misunderstood. Actually what I detailed with the data I listed was to itemize what material which was pertinent to Sind in most of the standard references. What I wanted to show was basically that references on Indian arms and armour or which include them in their scope, do not necessarily classify categorically to specific regions in most cases.

I believe in some of the more obscure texts like Watt, Hendley and some of the others who wrote specifically on Indian metalwork there may be some useful references. However these are difficult to access usually. Also the question pertaining to material culture of the region is rather broad and would involve quite lengthy study in Indian art to describe, especially without a specific interest or goal.

Thank you for your link.

Ibrahiim, thank you for the superb images as well!!!

Salaams Jim ... I hope pictures help...Regards, Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 11th January 2014, 04:55 PM   #9
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Thank you again Ibrahiim, and indeed these images really do help. While I am not sure if Paroosevelt will be back, he has posted an interesting topic. As I indicated earlier, the references I checked had little data specific to Sind itself, but there are others I plan to look into.
I am reminded that this area of India had key importance to the British Raj and considerable history is focused there. Possibly this vambrace may be a focal point which may inspire more research to learn more....

It goes back to the old adage, 'if only this could talk' . In this way, these old arms and armour do indeed, if only to inspire us to learn the stories they would tell.
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Old 11th January 2014, 07:23 PM   #10
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Paroosevelt, this is an interesting armor item, if you take some more photos please post them, it would be nice to see this with the white label removed.
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Old 11th January 2014, 07:31 PM   #11
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This is said to be a Sind helmet and mask, you can compare the decorative elements and see if their are any similarities.
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Old 12th January 2014, 06:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
This is said to be a Sind helmet and mask, you can compare the decorative elements and see if their are any similarities.

Beautiful example Estcrh, is this the one in Cracow?
Definitely Sind, and the ridged dome helmet and face mask characteristic.
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Old 12th January 2014, 04:45 PM   #13
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Hi people. Thanks for the response and sorry for such a late reply. In all honesty I'm not a collector and haven't been greatly interest in arms and armour. I'm writing a report up for a piece uni work and thought this might be a good place to start off with ideas. I have actually found the area quite fascinating though.

I visited the royal armouries in Leeds recently which has one example which is very similar in design although the decorative motifs are more similar to the helmet design already posted.

I'm currently hung up on the technical aspects and the signs of use or wear. For example there is a large crack on the back at the top and numerous other nicks on the iron plating. However there are no corresponding nicks on the copper alloy. I was thinking they had been replaced or were a later addition altogether.

What also bothers me is that the bottom of the guard at the back appears to have been cut through. You can see that the rivets are cut in half. I'm not at all sure why this has been done as the holes which would attach to the mail of the hand guard are now missing. I was wondering if the two larger holes were made to compensate for this offering alternative connection to other bits of armour or if they were indeed done for display as already suggested. The piece is part of the dodds collection at the oriental museum durham. Dodds donated thousands of pieces and had a penchant for altering his booty which is quite worrying. He also never kept records which is kind of the reason I'm doing this work.

You can also see that the hinge is made of numerous pieces and not just two. This is probably a question for a blacksmith but i wonder if this was common. I'm not sure if anyone can answer any of these queries but they just from part of interesting reasearch on the use of objects and their authenticity.

I read an article recently in the royal armouries yearbook about the galvanization of indian armours with zinc. Apparently the study shows the examples as being the earliest known evidence for galvanizing. I wonder if my armguard has been subject to the same treatment although i suppose scientific analysis would have to clear that up.

I hope you find these questions as interesting as i do.
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Old 12th January 2014, 09:35 PM   #14
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Im glad to see you back as this topic is quite intriguing. While armor is not particularly my field either, it is interesting to look into though some of the questions you have will be difficult to address.

In my initial response I had spent some time going through resources which I hoped might have some specific detail or information pertaining to Sind, as you have noted. Actually all appearances seem to point to Sind for this item as the brass decorative borders seem favored in that region.
I would point out that as I understand the item you have is actually a vambrace or bazu band, while the dastana is the glove or gauntlet usually of mail.

I would also point out that like most sets of armor, the components are usually from various sources and not necessarily homogenous or congruent.
In the case of the example you saw at Leeds it is believed to be comprised of varying components with only the shirt of 'Sind' style.
Though the example shown by Estcrh is not referenced, I believe it is as I noted in Krakow, and the helmet is actually believed European and earlier.

These are I think the problems you may face with your thesis in that there is great difficulty in finding reliable comparisons to classify to a certain region in the capacity you suggest. Also, Sind was like most areas of India, subject to considerable outside infuences and cultural flux. It was under Mughal rule from 17th into 18th c. then invaded by the Durrani's 1747 becoming part of Afghanistan, then taken by the Talpurs in 1783, tribes from the regions of neighboring Baluchistan.

The most common denominator however would be the strong, even dominant, influence of Persia which of course included arms and armor.

I know the article you mention on galvanizing and will try to get my copy.

As with many arms and armor in India, there was so much diffusion from one region to another a study as you propose would be difficult, and only the documented attention you seek would provide data toward your thesis.
In that respect most of the sources thus far mentioned are, though focused on Indian arms, far too general and concern mostly typology.

Still we will continue to look for the information you seek, and hope you will keep us posted on your own progress as well.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 13th January 2014, 01:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

I know the article you mention on galvanizing and will try to get my copy.
Here it is.

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Old 13th January 2014, 01:22 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Though the example shown by Estcrh is not referenced, I believe it is as I noted in Krakow, and the helmet is actually believed European and earlier.


Jim
Jim, according to the information I can find this armor is located in the National Museum, Krakow Poland, I am not quite sure what you mean by
Quote:
the helmet is actually believed European and earlier.
one source I have seen notes that the helmet bowl is made "in mughal fashion".


Quote:
I would point out that as I understand the item you have is actually a vambrace or bazu band, while the dastana is the glove or gauntlet usually of mail.
As far as I know the name for arm guards of Indian origin is "dastana".
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Old 13th January 2014, 01:45 AM   #17
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More armors said to be Sind.
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Old 13th January 2014, 05:24 AM   #18
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Thank you for the correction Estcrh, indeed the vambrace (dastana) or bazuband term for the arm guard is the proper term, and the hand covers or gauntlets are just that. Also, thank you for the additional photos and page. Would it be possible to know what reference they are from?

Returning to the 'dastana' we are examining, Robinson (p.96) notes that Sind forms are of the 'tubular' type (on p110 he refers to this tubular type as old Persian style) and opened and closed by means of long removable hinge pins.
The 'piano hinge' form here seems of course to suggest this may be more modern, but the comment of the use of long hinge pins in Sind may still be in this kind of configuration as later development. It seems many of these kinds of armor sets overall we are using in comparisons are likely parade examples which have been put together in composite, but each case would have to be assessed individually .

Also Estcrh thank you for adding the excerpts from the article, which is "Galvanizing Indian Mail", by Helen Bowstead Stallybrass and Andrew Bottomley, 'Royal Armouries Yearbook' #5.
Apparantly zinc was known in India for many centuries and as noted this process was used there before 1680. It does seem possible this dastana was so treated as it does have the dull gray cast but naturally hard to say from photos.

As indicated earlier, this topic is fascinating, but outside my usual field of study, so this is a learning experience for me as well, and I appreciate the corrections to my comments to keep the data in line. On that note, that is basically the same reason I keep asking for references to images etc.


"Oriental Armour" H.R Robinson, 1967
"Islamic Weapons in Polish Collections and their Provenance"
Z. Zygulski, ("Islamic Arms & Armour" 1979, ed. Robert Elgood)
"An Illustrated Handbook of Indian Arms" Lord Egerton of Tatton, 1880
"Arts of the Muslim Knight", Bashir Mohammed, 2008
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Old 13th January 2014, 07:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
thank you for the additional photos and page. Would it be possible to know what reference they are from?

Returning to the 'dastana' we are examining......
The 'piano hinge' form here seems of course to suggest this may be more modern, but the comment of the use of long hinge pins in Sind may still be in this kind of configuration as later development.
Jim, the images are from my pinterest which I posted a link to, they were gathered along with any accompanying info from various auctions, dealers and Museums etc.

Hinge pins were used in older Indian armors possibly as early as the 1500s but certainly from the 1600s from what I can tell, this Indian cuirass and others use them.



Indian (Deccani) European style cuirass, 17th Century, all steel construction with a separate front and back plate. The front plate has the original shoulder hinges, but is missing the lower rim. The back plate has a raised neck guard, with metalwork around the neckline. Two replacement shoulder straps, and a replacement side plate also. Both armours held together with long steel pins, in a piano hinge arrangement. akaalarms.com
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Old 13th January 2014, 11:38 AM   #20
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Salaams All, I Quote "From http://www.caravanacollection.com/?p...and-arm-band-2 India, BAZU BAND, Arm Band.18th century.India.Damascene steel, gold.Lenght:32,5cm. Indian Bazu Band, probably from Rajastan, of great quality, in richly wrought steel with gold Koftgari arabesques. The wrist clasp is complete, as are the buckles. Bibl.:George Cameron Stone A Gloss. Of the Const. And Use of the Arms and Armour ISBN 0-486-40726-8 (pbk) Pag.nš107,108 fig.nš140 (20/21) Islamic Weapons Maghrib to Mogghul ISBN 0-9747192-7-7 Pag.225 fig.nš164." Unquote.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 13th January 2014, 11:43 AM   #21
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Salaams All ~ I have to say that Indian Armour is not my first subject but that I have thoroughly enjoyed the story so far and it is great to see our experts go for this one! It is a steep learning curve but I am really enjoying the input.
Bye the way Jim,... Dastana means in Hindi ...Mitten or Glove. ... or Gauntlet !

In Baluchi Dast means ... hand.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 13th January 2014, 01:23 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams All ~ I have to say that Indian Armour is not my first subject but that I have thoroughly enjoyed the story so far and it is great to see our experts go for this one! It is a steep learning curve but I am really enjoying the input.
Bye the way Jim,... Dastana means in Hindi ...Mitten or Glove. ... or Gauntlet !

In Baluchi Dast means ... hand.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahimm, I am certainly no expert, as for the meaning of "dastana", you and Jim are correct in that some references refer to the hand cover alone as "dastana" but the term has somehow come to describe the entire Indian arm guard. Here is an example from page 112 of "A Description of Indian and Oriental Armour: Illustrated from the Collection Formerly in the India Office, Now Exhibited at South Kensington, and the Author's Private Collection : With a Map, Twenty-three Full-page Plates (two Coloured), and Numerous Woodcuts : With an Introductory Sketch of the Military History of India", Earl Wilbraham Egerton Egerton, W. H. Allen & Company, limited, 1896." which you can read for free as an ebook or download as a pdf.

http://books.google.com/books?id=WXc...gbs_navlinks_s
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Old 13th January 2014, 01:32 PM   #23
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Here is a closer view of a Sind dastana, the few I have seen have individual finger covers instead of the more conventional mitten type hand cover. The entire matching armor was sold at auction recently which allowed for some detailed images.
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Old 13th January 2014, 03:08 PM   #24
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Thank you so much guys for the additional images and material, and again I really do appreciate the references and cites. Estcrh, fantastic Pininterest site! and the images stored there are wonderful.
Ibrahiim thank you as well for the always interesting language notes, and it does seem that words and terms as they diffuse into other languages and dialects can become colloquially descriptive in broader sense than the original or root words.

I think this is much in the way that so many words in various languages can end up broadly referring to a wider range of edged weapons such as knife or dagger to sword, or various sword forms incorporated into one term such as the Arabic term sa'if.

Interestingly it would seem that, especially in India where there are so many languages, dialects and diverse cultural influences, that these kinds of descriptive terms have interpolated much as the arms and armor themselves have.

It would seem from what we have seen, these various elements of armor have been grouped together in composite assemblies of components to form functional sets. This is actually much the same as with European armor harness in which the components were often made by various makers and assembled into the complete set.

Thank you again Estrch for adding these additional examples which are attributed nominally to Sind, which gives us excellent perspective on the styles which were likely in use. This is I believe essentially what Paroosevelt has been trying to establish.

Again, absolutely fascinating topic and thread! On the references though, no need for super detail just title, author and publ date wih pages if possible
Well done on that, and much appreciated.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 15th January 2014, 02:18 PM   #25
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Yes the images are great estcrh. Especially the one with the lammellar style glove. It's exactly what I have been after. I'm hoping to take some samples of the iron next week to confirm whether it has been zinc plated and also to try and gather some information on the smelting and forging processes which is a whole other story. I'll be back to let you know how I get on with it all.
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Old 16th January 2014, 02:03 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paroosevelt
I'm hoping to take some samples of the iron next week to confirm whether it has been zinc plated
I have only seen one example of Indian armor which had the appearance of being zinc plated, when I first saw this I thought it may have been painted but after looking at some close up images it does not look like paint.
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Old 30th October 2018, 12:59 AM   #27
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Can somebody explain me please the function of those bumps??
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