Tiger Claws thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South Asia, Room 41

This object consists of 2 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Tiger Claws

ca. 17th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This weapon is reputed to be the one used by the Maratha leader Shivaji to kill Afzal Khan, the commander of the opposing Bijapur army in a famous episode that took place during the complicated political upheavals of 17th century India. During a protracted military engagement in 1659, the two men arranged a truce in order to meet in a tented enclosure, virtually alone. Both came armed: Shivaji wore mail under his clothes and metal skull protection under his turban. He also held metal "tiger claws" of this kind concealed in his hand. The two men fought and Shivaji disembowelled his opponent.

The claws are accompanied by a fitted case that is inscribed: "The 'Wagnuck' of Sivajee With Which He Killed the Moghul General. This Relic was given to Mr. James Grant-Duff of Eden When he was Resident at Satara By the Prime Minister of the Peshwa of the Marathas".


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Case
  • Tiger Claws
Materials and Techniques
Steel
Brief Description
Tiger claws reputed to have been used by Shivaji to kill Afzal Khan; Maratha, 17th century.
Physical Description
The weapon of steel has four "claws" mounted on a bar with two rings for the first and fourth fingers. The difference in size between the two rings indicates that it is a weapon to be used in the left hand.
Dimensions
  • Width: 3.5cm
  • Length: 8.6cm
Credit line
Given by Mr Adrian Grant Duff
Object history
Reputed to be the tiger claws used by Shivaji to kill the Bijapur general Afzal Khan in 1659. They are accompanied by a red morocco case inscribed "The 'Wagnuck' of Sivajee With Which He Killed the Moghul General. This Relic was given to Mr. James Grant-Duff of Eden When he was Resident at Satara By the Prime Minister of the Peshwa of the Marathas"

Nominal File: Grant Duff, Adrian via Boyle, Mrs U.F.

MA 11/G1482

James Grant Duff was born in 1789 and died in 1858.
Summary
This weapon is reputed to be the one used by the Maratha leader Shivaji to kill Afzal Khan, the commander of the opposing Bijapur army in a famous episode that took place during the complicated political upheavals of 17th century India. During a protracted military engagement in 1659, the two men arranged a truce in order to meet in a tented enclosure, virtually alone. Both came armed: Shivaji wore mail under his clothes and metal skull protection under his turban. He also held metal "tiger claws" of this kind concealed in his hand. The two men fought and Shivaji disembowelled his opponent.



The claws are accompanied by a fitted case that is inscribed: "The 'Wagnuck' of Sivajee With Which He Killed the Moghul General. This Relic was given to Mr. James Grant-Duff of Eden When he was Resident at Satara By the Prime Minister of the Peshwa of the Marathas".
Bibliographic Reference
Jackson, Anna and Jaffer, Amin (eds), with Deepika Ahlawat. Maharaja : the splendour of India's royal courts. London, V&A Publishing, 2009. ISBN.9781851775736 (hbk.), ISBN.1851775730 (hbk.).plate 5, p.17
Collection
Accession Number
IS.33-1971

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record createdApril 25, 2007
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