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Precious Indian Weapons

and other Princely Accoutrements

Salam Kaoukji


A dazzling celebration of one of the world’s greatest collections of precious weapons


This spectacular collection of nearly 200 jewelled weapons and priceless accoutrements from the Indian subcontinent was assembled over many decades by Sheikh Nasser and Sheikha Hussah al-Sabah for The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait. Produced for aristocratic patrons who valued the arts, these richly decorated edged weapons and other princely objects bear witness to the legendary opulence and refinement of the Indian courts during the sixteenth 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.


'An accessible book of sound scholarship that serves as an excellent introduction to the topic of fine Indian arms for a non-specialist. … Precious Indian Weapons has undoubtedly raised the bar for future publications and will be an important work for years to come'
Burlington Magazine

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 27.6 x 21.8 cm

Extent: 504 pp

Illustrations: 551

Publication date: 1 June 2017

ISBN: 9780500970805

Contents List

Foreword by Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah; Acknowledgments; Introduction; Historical Overview • 1. The Katar; 2. The Chilanum; 3. Hourglass-Shaped Hilts; 4. Eared- or Cloven-Pommel Hilts; 5. Pistol-Grip Hilts; 6. Animal-Head Hilts; 7. Floral Hilts; 8. Deep-Sheathed Knives; 9. The Pish-Qabz; 10. Swords; 11. A Crutch Dagger, Crutches and a Staff Finial; 12. The Archery Ring; 13. A Jewelled Shield, Harness Fittings and Dagger-Cord Ornaments; 14. Insignia of Rank and Status

About the Author

Salam Kaoukji is curator and collection manager of The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait, and an editor of Thames & Hudson’s long-running series of the same name.

List of Contributors

Muhammad Ali, Robert Lorenzo

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