The Spanish Adarga
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This heart-shaped shield, or adarga, is composed of two thick layers of rawhide, laced together with narrow thongs. A painted and lace-outlined design of a royal crown surmounting a coat of arms of Spain adorns the shield. The "Pillars of Hercules" represent the Strait of Gibralter, between Spain and Africa. The lion and castle represent the old Spanish kingdoms of Leon and Castilla (Castle), and the central fleur-de-lis stands for the French Bourbon rulers of Spain after 1700. The shield probably belonged to a military officer serving in northern Mexico during the late 1700s. The shield was undoubtedly made and painted by a professional artisan.
Excerpt of 1966 Conservation Report of the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
© Smithsonian Institution.