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Francesca Galloway Presents a Rare 17th Century
Wrestler's Weight

June 13, 2022

Wrestler’s Weight, Deccan, Golconda or Hyderabad, 17th century, carved basalt, Dia. 19 cm and
Dia. 27 cm

On their website, Francesca Galloway is now featuring a rare Wrestler's Weight. Carved from a single piece of black basalt, this 17th century stone dumbbell or nal from the Deccan makes a sculptural statement. With its open center and horizontal grip, this rare object speaks of the wrestler’s hands that would have lifted it.

For the warrior class and nobility of the Indian courts, gymnastics and martial arts were an important part of their position. These ‘dumbbells’ or nal would have been part of their physical training, and came in progressive weights for the development of biceps, triceps, and leg muscles. We can see similar weights and training objects depicted in dynamic use by bare-chested acrobats and wrestlers in Ragamala paintings representing Desakh Ragini.


Image from The Encyclopaedia of Indian Physical Culture

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