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Old 6th December 2022, 01:12 PM   #1
mahratt
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Default Shield from India

Hi guys

Your opinion about this Indian shield is interesting.

I think it's India, late 19th century, made specifically for European "oriental rooms".

Maybe someone will tell you what kind of plots are depicted on the surface of the shield?
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Old 6th December 2022, 04:26 PM   #2
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Mahratt, to me it looks like a depiction of a pantheon rather than a story. I believe I recognize several elements. If no one more knowledgeable chimes in I will post next week when work isn't absolutely crazy, I can breathe again, and I have a second to check reference materials. The vehicles are the clue I use for identification of the figures. Examples from a cursory glance being beginning at top left I believe is Durga (lion). One to her left would be Vishnu riding Garuda. Weapons are good clues for me as well and numbers of appendages can help narrow the incarnation. Sory to not be more help today.
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Old 6th December 2022, 07:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Interested Party View Post
Mahratt, to me it looks like a depiction of a pantheon rather than a story. I believe I recognize several elements. If no one more knowledgeable chimes in I will post next week when work isn't absolutely crazy, I can breathe again, and I have a second to check reference materials. The vehicles are the clue I use for identification of the figures. Examples from a cursory glance being beginning at top left I believe is Durga (lion). One to her left would be Vishnu riding Garuda. Weapons are good clues for me as well and numbers of appendages can help narrow the incarnation. Sory to not be more help today.
Many thanks!

I'll be waiting
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Old 6th December 2022, 07:15 PM   #4
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It appears to be the invincible Durga The Goddess... with anything up to 18 arms a formidable warrior indeed... I noted; Durga is nearly always shown either mounting or taming a lion or a tiger. The elegant beasts that symbolize strength and victory are there to represent Durga’s inner power and fierceness. https://www.yogapedia.com/goddess-du...-force/2/11758

I QUOTE" In each of her many hands, Durga is shown as carrying a weapon. The weaponry she carries to slay demons is symbolic, representing a certain quality, type of energy, or specific power.

As the number of arms Durga is depicted with varies, the weaponry she carries varies as well, but the most significant object she’s always depicted with are:

The Sudarshan-Chakra (a discus symbolizing her rule over the world)
The conch shell (a representation of the mystic word Om)
The lotus (not fully in bloom, it symbolizes the promise of success that has not yet been achieved)
A sword (symbolizing the sharpness of her mind)
Bow and arrow (symbol for energy and control)
A thunderbolt (symbolizing the power of her will)." UNQUOTE.

Last edited by Peter Hudson; 6th December 2022 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 6th December 2022, 07:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Peter Hudson View Post
It appears to be the invincible Durga The Goddess... with anything up to 18 arms a formidable warrior indeed... I noted; Durga is nearly always shown either mounting or taming a lion or a tiger. The elegant beasts that symbolize strength and victory are there to represent Durga’s inner power and fierceness. https://www.yogapedia.com/goddess-du...-force/2/11758

I QUOTE" In each of her many hands, Durga is shown as carrying a weapon. The weaponry she carries to slay demons is symbolic, representing a certain quality, type of energy, or specific power.

As the number of arms Durga is depicted with varies, the weaponry she carries varies as well, but the most significant object she’s always depicted with are:

The Sudarshan-Chakra (a discus symbolizing her rule over the world)
The conch shell (a representation of the mystic word Om)
The lotus (not fully in bloom, it symbolizes the promise of success that has not yet been achieved)
A sword (symbolizing the sharpness of her mind)
Bow and arrow (symbol for energy and control)
A thunderbolt (symbolizing the power of her will)." UNQUOTE.
Thank you Peter!

Very interesting
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Old 7th December 2022, 06:09 PM   #6
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Could we see the inside of the shield?
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Old 7th December 2022, 06:36 PM   #7
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This is an attractive shield , and its impressive decoration, as very well explained by Peter, illustrates the pantheon and key figures in much of Indian religious belief. As not well versed in the various dynamics of Hinduism or the other Faith's associated I defer on elaborating further, but Peter has already covered the themes of these panels.

Clearly this is a commemorative and ceremonial type piece which is from what is sometimes referred to as the 'durbar period' in the British Raj, and would extend from late 1870s well into 1900s. The most influential were the three Delhi Durbars of 1877, 1903 and 1911. These were essentially formal meetings in the princely states where the ruler's court and British administrators met and discussed matters of state, along with celebratory events and ceremony.

At these events there were many attendees of course, including many British and other foreign people so vendors and artisans assembled in large bazaar type venues where their wares would be sold.In many cases, the offerings were a kind of 'showing off' of the artisan's skills, often to impress as well as obviously the sales. There were of course various degrees of quality which depended on the vendors.
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Old 7th December 2022, 07:11 PM   #8
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The durbars were even more than just bazaars. Rajas were preparing for them and acquired impressive retinues armed with impressive weapons ( mostly newly made) , wearing impressive garb etc. This was something resembling Oscars ceremony in which all attendees did their best to impress everybody on the " Red Carpet". We often see enormous unwieldable teghas with bronze/brass decorations from those celebratory gatherings. Bragging parties, in short.
The owner of this shield wanted to show his military might. Other similar shields had full pantheons of divine personalities.
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Old 7th December 2022, 09:04 PM   #9
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Many thanks to everyone for opinions!
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Old 7th December 2022, 09:40 PM   #10
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As Interested Party noted, the mounts (vehicles) - Vahana - are very helpful for indentification of Indian deities:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vahana
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Old 8th December 2022, 03:52 PM   #11
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At my first glance I though, assumed, that the circles being held were Chakras. Once I took a better look, I could see only the top right figure held a chakra, the rest held bucklers, targets. It is interesting a shield with a theme of shields. Definitely a different metaphysical meaning.

I haven't had time to dive into the iconography yet but, is the center panel the heavenly architect, Vishvakarma? I thought Brahma at first because the central figure is unarmed but there is no swan. The chariot made me think of Vishvakarma. To make it more confusing is that a lotus emerging from the figure's navel?
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Old 8th December 2022, 04:20 PM   #12
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The figure in central panel is Surya, the sun deity. He sits in a carriage drawn by seven horses (seven meters of Sanskrit prosody, days in a week, seven colours) and holds two lotus blossoms. He is flanked by two goddesses of dawn (or his two wifes), shooting arrows.
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Old 8th December 2022, 06:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
The figure in central panel is Surya, the sun deity. He sits in a carriage drawn by seven horses (seven meters of Sanskrit prosody, days in a week, seven colours) and holds two lotus blossoms. He is flanked by two goddesses of dawn (or his two wifes), shooting arrows.
Thanks Gustav! Now I see it. And around the icon is a circle made of three petaled flowers alternated with leaves that insinuate sunrays, a chakra, mandala, and a wheel of death and rebirth. Or it could be just a border separating elements. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar
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