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The arms and armour in the Khalili Collection range in date from the 7th to the 19th centuries. Particularly important, however, are a group of belt fittings from the medieval period which convey the role of ceremony among the military classes of the Islamic world.
Display was also a major factor behind the creation of the two sets of elaborate horse trappings from the 13th and 14th centuries, one of which includes a complete gold saddle.
Among the most dramatic items is a 15th-century steel war mask which still inspires a sense of awe, and the impressive array of horse chamfrons includes the only known example from Sultanate India. The descriptions are supplemented by a section on the inscriptions and drawings of details and arsenal marks.
The presentation avoids the strictly typological classification of most previous works on the subject, and aims to give a full sense of the panoply of warfare: the stirrup, the drum, the talismanic shirt and the banner were as important to the Muslim warrior as the sword and the mail shirt.
David Alexander was formerly Research Associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; he is a leading authority on Islamic arms and armour, and has co-authored the catalogue of Islamic swords at the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul.
240 pages; fully illustrated in colour; line drawings; section on documentary inscriptions
35.5 x 25.5 cm
hardback with dust jacket (slipcased)