The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in a Museum

Shield of Maharana Sangram Singh II

Shield of Maharana Sangram Singh, National Museum, New Delhi

The “Shield of Maharana Sangram Singh II” belonged to Sangram Singh II (1690 – 1734) who was the ruler of Mewar, India. He reigned from 1710 to 1734. This historical object is part of the Arms and Armour Gallery of the National Museum, New Delhi.

The shield is made of rhino hide making it tough and able to withstand battle blows, however it was also light to carry. The shield has inscription of ownership and depicts various expeditions by the Maharana. The rhinoceros hide has been lacquered and painted in lac red, carbon black and gold. It has been painted like a contemporary Mewar miniature and with as much detail and beauty. There are eight scenes showing the Maharana on expedition with his retinue.

The centre portrays the Sun God with sun-like rays emitting from it. The Sun God is painted with a trimmed moustache and ‘tri-punda’ mark on the forehead.  This sun emblem is the Mewar’s insignia. Four etched and gilded knobs with perforated and serrated borders surmounted by green glass pieces. On the back of the shield, the knobs are riveted to four ring-bolts. A padded cushion and leather straps covered with red velvet are attached to the ring-bolts to allow for the shield to be carried in relative comfort.

Essential Facts:

  • Title:                      Shield of Maharana Sangram Singh II
  • Year:                      C. 1730 A.D
  • Place of Origin:   Udaipur
  • Material:              Rhino hide
  • Dimensions:        W 97 x H: 625 cm.
  • Museum:             National Museum, New Delhi

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“There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.” India Proverb

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Photo Credit: 1) By Nomu420 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons