Omani shield Turs or Buckler (Parrying Shield) made of rhino hide

Antique Omani Shield buckler made of rhino hide
  • Description

Common antique Omani Buckler, Parrying Shield, made of rhino hide and with leather handle inside. With with brass fasteners outside  and rings inside.  A buckler is a small round shield held in the left hand when fencing. It has two handles close together in the center and held in the hand. See also the Ingrams collection in the British Museum. The American Joseph Osgood writes visits Zanzibar around 1850 and writes that "soldiers are wearing shields of rhinoceros hide. and that many shields of this kind are turned at Zanzibar for Northern markets"

The book by  Guillain contains probably the earliest picture of an Omani Rhinoshield  based on a photo and he describes it as a "Swahili shield"

Ingrams in Zanzibar Its history and its people 1931 page 326 quotes from the work Climate and Productions of Zanzibar by Colonel Sykes 1850: " one branch of manufacture is carried to a considerable extent, that of round shields 18 inches in diameter made from the hide of a rhinoceros, which, after being soaked and boiled , can be moulded into any form"  However the diameter of our Turs is 26 cm  and height 15 cm, so we are not sure if we talk about the same shields. Ingrams also mentions in 1931 that "with increasing civilisation more and more of the ancient crafts have disappeared"

Arab Names: Turs / Dhal (Omani shield buckler)

Period: 1750-1900

Origin: Zanzibar and Oman

 References:
  1. Guillain Voyage a la cote orientale d´Afrique execute pendant les annees 1846, 1847, 1848. Sous le commandement  de M. Guillain capitage de fregate. Publie par ordre du gouvernement.
  2. British Museum Ingrams collection collected by Harold Ingrams in the 1920´s in Zanzibar BM on-line collection number 2012,6030.65 Diameter 26 cm Height 14 cm Circular cone-shaped parrying-shield of animal hide (possibly rhinoceros hide) with two ornamental brass fasteners cast in star shapes on the front. The shield is turned with fine concentric circles on the front. The back of the shield includes a straight grip made of hide and a leather strap for suspension
  3. British Museum has another one in the on-line collection  number As1999, 01.11 diameter 24 cm  and height 16.5 cm
  4. Zanzibar Its History and its people  by W.H. Ingrams 1931
  5. Robert Elgood. The Arms and Armour of Arabia  page 96-98  fig 10.2
  6. The craft heritage of Oman Vol 1 Richardson & Dorr p 455 item 116
  7. A Tribute to Oman volume VIII p 98 (The cutting edge) by Robert Richmond 
  8. Silver jewellery of Oman by Jehan S Rajab 1997 p 46 
  9. Islamic Art in Oman page 324
  10. Joseph B.F. Osgood Notes of Travel  or recollections of Majunga, Zanzibar, muscat, Aden, Mocha and other Eastern ports Salem 1854 page 27
  11. Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 146
  12. Tropenmuseum Amsterdam Inventory RV-74-60.  Amsterdam Diameter 24 cm dated before 1869. east Africa / Zanzibar
  13. Volkerenkundig Museum Leiden Inventory 74-60 Diameter  24 cm Dating before 1869; Also inventory 1393-238 inventory 21 cm.
  14. Koninklijk Museum voor Midden Africa Tervuren Belgium Inventory EO.1979.1.1625 Similar item.  Diameter 24,5 cm Height 14 cm