The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Buckler
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • India or Japan, possibly
  • 16th century
  • Wood, lacquer, gesso and gold
  • Diameter: 45 cm
    Weight: 1.56 kg
  • Label: 'R.W. / F. D.'
  • A315
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Circular shield or target, convex, of wood, covered with gesso, and decorated with gold on a black background. In the centre is a shield charged with three bugle-horns stringed or. The shield is surmounted by a barred helmet to the dexter, with crest: a lion rampant or. Its foliated mantling encompasses the shield. This central composition is encircled by a narrow band of ivy leaves and a broader band of flowing scrolls terminating in dolphins' heads and grotesque masks, with birds interspersed, the detail enhanced with lines. There are no loops for the arm and hand on the back, but traces of the fixing remain. Attached by wire are two small labels, one lettered R.W./F.D., the other bearing the number 264.

    This is one of nine known round targets of this type, five of which bear European coats of arms. G. M. Wilson, in discussing the example in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, very tentatively suggested that they might have been made in Japan, painted in the namban or foreign style (MacGregor, 1983, pp. 162-6, No. 42, PI. XIX). Apart from the style of painting, the key to the place and date of manufacture is the example in Vienna (A415; Boeheim, Album, II, PI. XXVIII, Fig. 2). This is painted on the inside very similarly to A315, but has polished ray-skin outside, a typically Japanese material. Its European silver bosses are decorated with a representation of Leda and the Swan in relief in late sixteenth-century style. Whether the coats of arms, none of which have been identified, were painted before or after the arrival of the shields in Europe is uncertain.