Inventory no.: 834

Antique Indian Exercise Clubs (Mugdals)


Pair of Painted Teak Exercise Clubs (Mugdals)


19th century

length: approximately 68cm each

This pair of teakwood exercise clubs or mugdals has excellent patina. Of tapering form, they are painted with bands of black, mustard, green and red polychrome. They have flattened ends which allows them to stand up-ended together in a stable manner giving them an elegant, sculptural quality.Mugdals were used by Indian men in exercise arenas or gyms (akharas) to exercise the arms, shoulders and wrists – important for sword wielding. Both were used together – one for each arm. They were held at the slim end and swung simultaneously about the body.

A related pair of

mugdals is in the Mehrangarh Museum in Jodphur and a single mugdal is on display in the City Palace Museum, Jaipur.


A similar pair were offered at Christie’s King Street (London) in its ‘East-West: The Niall Hobhouse Collection’, May 22, 2008, Lot no. 210. Also see Khana A, and P. Ratnakar, Banaras: The Sacred City, Bay Books, 1988 for an explanation of the akharas. The Mehrangarh Museum pair are illustrated in Jackson, A., & A. Jaffer, Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, V&A Publishing, 2009, p. 102.

Inventory no.: 834