Indian Armours in the National Museum Collection ; A Catalogue

 
9788185832128: Indian Armours in the National Museum Collection ; A Catalogue

Language: English
Pages: 198 (Color Illus: 297)
Preface

Catalogues are the life-spring of any museum-they are the cause and effect of the curatorial existence. It is a sad commentary on Indian museums that they have, individually and collectively, failed to accomplish their primary duty. Good catalogues, are hard to find and arms catalogues are almost unknown. The present catalogue may serve as a silver linning amidst the dark cloud. Out of its about six thousand four hundred assorted weapons of offence and defence about three hundred pieces of armour have been included in this catalogue.

The study of Indian armour is interesting both for the part they played in shaping history and, on the technical side, for the way they involved applied arts. The subject has been studied from the surviving examples of armour that have come down to us and are preserved in the museums, armouries of the erstwhile princes and private collections; from the representation of them on coins, in paintings, in sculptures and decorative arts; from the fragments unearthed from the archaeological excavations; from the particulars of manufacture and provenance available from inventories and other documents preserved in the pothikhanas and from the few armourers (sikligars) who have kept this tradition still alive in this country.

The evolution of armour was governed by two factors. First, there was a constant combat between the forces of offence and defence in which new armour had to be devised for every new weapon and still superior weapon had to be invented which could have pierced that kind of armour. That tug of war continues even today. Secondly, there was the contest between the need for mobility and the desire for safety. Light and handy armour provide better mobility but are not so sturdy as the hea

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