This spectacular collection of nearly 200 jewelled weapons and priceless accoutrements from the Indian subcontinent was assembled over many decades by Sheihk Nasser and Sheikha Hussah al-Sabah for The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait. Produced for noble patrons who valued the arts, these richely decorated edged weapons and other princely objects bear witness to the legendary opulence and refinement of the Indain courts during the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries. Many incorporate decorative features originating in Central Asia, the Iranian world, China. and even Renaissance Europe, testifying to centuries of trade, travel and warfare. At the same time, these ornate and uniquely Indian weapons are masterpieces of a long and unparalleled tradition of artistic craftsmanship on the subcontinent, displaying distinctive techniques of gemstone setting, hardstone carving, enamelling and blade damascening. Despite their artistry, most of the jewelled weapons were functional, with blades that show signs of repolishing or replacement following damage in combat. Others, such as the courtly maces and staffs, were primarily armorial symbols displaying the splendour and wealth of Indian monarchs, princes and courtiers to the world.
The more than 500 illustrations in this volume, the ninth Thames and Hudson's celebrated series on The al-Sabah Collection, included marvellous jewelled and enamelled weapons, archery rings and carved hilts, as well as a jewelled shield, fittings and horse trappings. The detailed catalogue descriptions explore the techniques and stylistic affinities of each object, prefaced by an illustrated historical overview that presents each weapon type in context.
This is a dazzling celebration of one of the world's greatest collections of precious weapons, suitable for specialists and anyone with an interest in weaponry and Indian decorative arts.