dated A.H. 1152/ A.D. 1739–40
breastplate H. 16 in. (40.6 cm); backplate H. 18 1/4 in. (46.4 cm)
Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Funds from various donors, 1929
The cuirass, from the royal armory of Hyderabad, bears the name of a later ruler, the nizam ‘Alī Khān (reigned 1762–1803), who led the state of Hyderabad through a period of economic growth during which it became the most important Muslim cultural center in India. The unusual one-piece construction of the breastplate and the backplate, which resembles a stylized human torso, possibly reflects European incfluence. Both plates are forged from crucible steel, which also is referred to as watered steel because of the subtle rippling pattern visible in the structure of the metal. Watered steel was used often for sword and dagger blades, but only seldom for armor, and then only for examples of superior quality.
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