The Sword Guy Podcast

Asian and African Arms and Armour with Natasha Bennett

November 19, 2021

The Sword Guy Podcast episode 80

Photo Credit: The Royal ArmouriesPhoto credit: The Royal Armouries

Natasha Bennett is the Curator of Oriental Collections at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, working with the Asian and African collections. These include an enormous spread of arms and armour mostly dating from between the 14th and 20th centuries, so her research interests are necessarily wide-ranging. She has presented specialist study sessions and seminars on mounted warfare in Asia, South Asian arms and armour, Islamic arms and armour, Asian swords, and textiles in Japanese armour.

In our conversation we talk about guns, specifically the “15 Rupee Jezail” and how the popularity of the matchlock mechanism persisted because of its simplicity and functionality, even when elsewhere in the world newer technologies took over.

In case you were wondering, this is what a jezail looks like:

Photo credit: The Royal ArmouriesPhoto credit: The Royal Armouries

And this is the Tusken Cycler rifle from Star Wars:

We also talk about Natasha’s work with the Anglo Sikh Virtual Museum and the amazing benefits of 3-D technology. You can have a good, close-up, 3-D look at the objects on the museum’s website:

This leads us into a discussion about the circumstances in which many items ended up in British museum collections, i.e. as colonial loot, which is a tricky issue for museums to navigate.

Listen in to find out whether Indian steel weapons are the best, and also how Natasha plans to get her baby doing horseback archery before they can walk.


For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work, as well as transcriptions of all the episodes, check out his website at

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