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Dourraunnee chieftains in full armour

Dourraunnee chieftains in full armour

Artist: James Rattray

Medium: Lithograph, coloured

Date: 1847

Shelfmark: X562(1)

Item number: Plate 1

Length: 43.7

Width: 27.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Print

This lithograph was taken from the frontispiece of 'Afghaunistan' by Lieutenant James Rattray. Two Afghan nobles of the Durrani tribe are depicted, fully armed, with their helmets decorated with peacock feathers.

Rattray wrote: "This costume of the Douranee warriors gives a fair idea of the style of armour worn by the Afghaun noblesse, though it was not a common occurrence to meet with them so completely clothed in clinquant mail as they are represented in the frontispiece." Peacock feathers were a symbol of royalty. Egret plumes were specially presented by the Emir as a mark of honour to the chiefs who merited the distinction. Rattray had often been shown the shirts of mail worn by the Afghans under their silk kameezes (shirts) as a protection against assassins' daggers. Sometimes they also wore a "shawl around the steel head-piece, the nose-plate and the plume alone attracting attention to the fact of their being helmeted at all".

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