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Author Topic:   Original Rawson manuscript on Indian swords
Senior Member
posted 06-20-2001 11:00     Click Here to See the Profile for Ian   Click Here to Email Ian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fellow collectors and enthusiasts:

One of the most useful books in my collection is P.S. Rawson's "The Indian Sword." I have recently acquired a bound, typewritten manuscript that seems to be the precursor for this book. In two volumes, this appears to have been prepared as a thesis, although the face pages do not indicate that it was intended to fulfill the requirements of a degree.

The hard covers are impressed with "Westminster Public Libraries" and there are similar library marks inside to indicate that this was indeed a former library item.

The manuscript is entitled "The Indian Sword: A catalogue raisonne of the Indian collections in the Victoria and Albert Museum" by P.S. Rawson.

The manuscript is largely a verbatim version of Rawson's book, with minor differences in the format of the sub-headings.

What is missing from Rawson's book, and is included in this manuscript, is his piece-by-piece descriptions of the 160 or so Indian swords in the V&A Collection. These descriptions take up 105 typed pages, and include another 2-3 pages of numbers that link Rawson's code for the individual swords with the V&A Museum catalog numbers.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures or illustrations in the manuscript, just text.

If anyone would like a photocopy of the parts of the manuscript not included in Rawson's book, I would be pleased to forward one at cost (about $5.00 for copying plus postage).

Ian Greaves.

[This message has been edited by Ian (edited 06-20-2001).]

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philip tom
Senior Member
posted 06-20-2001 17:49     Click Here to See the Profile for philip tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I'd be interested in the portion which catalogues the V&A's holdings of Indian swords. You can email me at with information as to where I need to send payment, how much this section will cost to duplicate, and the snail address where you can send the material to me.

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Senior Member
posted 06-20-2001 17:57     Click Here to See the Profile for Oriental-Arms   Click Here to Email Oriental-Arms     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am also interested. Let me know what will be the total cost including airmail to Israel

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Senior Member
posted 06-20-2001 21:03     Click Here to See the Profile for manteris1   Click Here to Email manteris1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also am interested, please email me with details of where to send the money etc........thanks...........jimmy

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Jim McDougall
posted 06-20-2001 22:55     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim McDougall   Click Here to Email Jim McDougall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Me too!!!! I can't believe you found that!
Thank you so much for offering copies to us!

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Lee Jones
posted 06-21-2001 04:24     Click Here to See the Profile for Lee Jones   Click Here to Email Lee Jones     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh! Oh! Me too! Me too!

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Senior Member
posted 06-21-2001 05:03     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would be VERY interested in it, too, if possible, please!

Thank you VERY much for your kind offer. I REALLY appreciate it!

"Living and trying to learn"

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Nick Wardigo
posted 06-21-2001 08:37     Click Here to See the Profile for Nick Wardigo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One more, please.

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posted 06-21-2001 16:17     Click Here to See the Profile for arjuna   Click Here to Email arjuna     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Ian.

I would also very much like a copy. Thank you VERY MUCH for offering to copy the pages for us.

Please email details about payment to

Best regards

Kasper M. Paasch
Midtkobbe 10
6400 Sonderborg

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Senior Member
posted 06-21-2001 16:37     Click Here to See the Profile for Oliver   Click Here to Email Oliver     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That includes me! Thanks!

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Senior Member
posted 06-22-2001 22:16     Click Here to See the Profile for Ian   Click Here to Email Ian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Thank you for such prompt responses. I have a little more to report.

Our friend Hal from TherionArms has made a kind offer to scan these 100+ pages and put them up on his web site so that all enthusiasts may have access to them. I would like to take him up on this offer, but he righly raises the question of copyright and whether we should obtain Mr. Rawson's permission to use his manuscript material in this manner.

Which brings me to a second piece of news. The manuscript I have was bound in 1952 (15 years before the book was published) and this probably means Mr. Rawson, if he is still alive, would be in his late 70s or even older.

My question for anyone who may know -- Is Philip S. Rawson still alive, and how may I contact him?

In the meanwhile, those of you who have requested one will get a hard copy in the mail. Just send me your mailing address and I will forward it toward the end of next week (I'm out of town until Wednesday). I'll send details about costs, etc. with your copy.

Please send your address to me at:


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posted 06-24-2001 10:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Jasun     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An additional copy of the manuscript would be greatly appreciated. Advise as to full $ costs.
My E-Mail address is as follows:
Thanks much

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Carter Rila
Senior Member
posted 06-25-2001 18:49     Click Here to See the Profile for Carter Rila   Click Here to Email Carter Rila     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like a treasure there.
The easiest way to distribute that information privately is to make PDF files using Acrobat. The original will not have to be transscribed or OCR'd or any other treatment.
After you make the files then burn CDS of them. As permanent a file as you can get.
I have been making backups of my files using a CD burner for some months now.

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Senior Member
posted 06-28-2001 16:41     Click Here to See the Profile for JP   Click Here to Email JP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like quite a find. I would like a copy to add to the book. Please advise as to send payment.

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Senior Member
posted 06-09-2002 11:56     Click Here to See the Profile for Antiques   Click Here to Email Antiques     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a new user I have only seen your mail about The Indian Sword by P.S.Rawson to-day.
Some years ago I had contact with Susan Stronge at The W & A Museum in London and she wrote that the museum had the original manuskript, and that they were proud of it.
The Danish Arms and Armour Society had a copy with pictures from mr Rawson as they had promissed to publish it. The Society had the manuscript for several years as I recall, and when they finely desided to publish, it seems that mr Rawson had lost patient and had it publish in London the same year as it was published in Copenhagen 1969. The books are identical, or almost, for in the danish edition there are 12-13 more pictures, photographed from danish collections.
I am my self very interested in the subject as I am a collector of Indian swords and daggers and recently have bought quite a lot of book about the Indian arms.


[This message has been edited by Antiques (edited 06-24-2002).]

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posted 12-09-2002 07:53     Click Here to See the Profile for Nevyn   Click Here to Email Nevyn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it still possible to get a copy of this?

plz contact me ref costs and if still avail... Im at

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Lee Jones
posted 12-10-2002 06:54     Click Here to See the Profile for Lee Jones   Click Here to Email Lee Jones     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a pdf of the document available for download at TherionArms.

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Senior Member
posted 11-28-2003 09:05     Click Here to See the Profile for Ian   Click Here to Email Ian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fellow Collectors:

In the last two days I have been corresponding with Mr. Piers Rawson, son of Philip Rawson who authored The Indian Sword. Mr. Rawson informed me that his father had died in 1995, that he was the copyright holder of the material in his father's book, and that by distributing portion of the above manuscript I may be in breach of that copyright.

I immediately responded to Mr. Rawson, expressing my regret to hear of his father's death (and I am sure you all join me in feeling a sense of loss to our community of ethnographic weapons collectors). I explained to Mr. Rawson that about 12 copies of the unpublished portion of his father's manuscript had been distributed to enthusiastic collectors who valued his work very highly.

Mr. Rawson replied that, although he thought the manucript material was covered by copyright, he would be willing to allow the materials to be circulated, and made the following comment:

"However, there is something appealing to think of my father's work being circulated in samidzat form. If you distribute further copies please ensure you attach the information below; would you endeavor to circulate it also to previous recipients and also to distribute to your e-community: on this basis I would suggest no further action is necessary. If you do ultimately dispose of the original you hold, perhaps in fairness it should be to the archive (below). I attach a picture of Philip Rawson for your interest."

I have replied to his e-mail, assuring Mr. Rawson that I would comply with his wishes and post the biography and picture of his father on this web site, and also send copies of the biography and picture to those collectors who received copies of the work in question.

The following is what Mr. Rawson asked be placed here, and I have sent the picture of Philip Rawson to Lee for posting. Philip Rawson was a very distinguished scholar and artist, and we are fortunate to have had such a talented person take an interest in our passion.

--------------- From Mr. Piers Rawson, son of Philip Rawson ----------------

Philip Rawson, Scholar and Artist 1924-1995

Literary and artistic archive at: National Archive for Art Education, The Lawrence Batley Archive, University of Leeds, Bretton Hall, West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF4 4LG, England, UK


2004 (Provisional) Art and Time, Associated University Presses/Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, USA
1997 Sculpture, University of Pennsylvania Press.
1991 Sacred Tibet. Thames and Hudson, London (and Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese editions.)
1989 Reissue of The Arts of Southeast Asia. Thames and Hudson, London and New York. (See below, 1967)
1987 Reissue in 2nd edition of Drawing by University of Pennsylvania Press. (See below, 1969)
1987 Design. Macdonald, London and Sydney, and Prentice-Hall International USA.
1984 Reissue in 2nd edition of Ceramics by University of Pennsylvania Press.
(See below, 1971)
1983 The Art of Drawing. Macdonald, London and Sydney, and Prentice-Hall International, USA.
1981 Oriental Erotic Art. Quartet, London, Melbourne, New York.
1978 Seeing Through Drawing. BBC Publications, London.
1977 The Art of Indian Asia. Elsevier-Phaidon, Oxford.
1976 The Erotic Art of India. Thames and Hudson, London. (Also US, German, French editions.)
1974 Tao, the Chinese philosophy of Change (with L. Legeza.) Thames and Hudson, London, New York Graphic Society. (in print. US, German, French, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese editions.)
1974 Yoga Art (with A. Mookerjee.) Thames and Hudson, London.
1973 The Art of Tantra.Thames and Hudson, London, New York Graphic Society. Reprinted in the World of Art Series by Thames and Hudson (in print, and Spanish, Japanese editions.)
1973 Tantra Art. Thames and Hudson, London. (pb., 1978, in print. US, Italian, Japanese, Hebrew editions.)
1973 Introducing Oriental Art. Hamlyn, London.
1972 Primitive Erotic Art. Part written and edited. Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London (US, German editions.)
1972 Indian Art. Studio Vista, London.
1972 Tantra. Catalogue of the exhibition planned, designed and curated by PSR. Arts Council of Great Britain (3 editions.)
1971 Ceramics. Oxford University Press, London and Toronto.
1969 Drawing. Oxford University Press, London and Toronto.
1968 Erotic Art of the East. Putnam, New York, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London. (German, Spanish editions. Reprinted 1973.)
1967 The Arts of Southeast Asia. Thames and Hudson, London, Praeger, New York. (Reissued 1989).
1966 The Indian Sword. Royal Danish Arms and Armour Society, Copenhagen, and Herbert Jenkins, London.
1965 Indian Sculpture. Studio Vista, London.
1963 Early Buddhist Paintings of Japan. UNESCO-Fontana, Paris.
1962 Indian music, Art and Dance. Catalogue for exhibition designed and installed by PSR at the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh Festival.
1960 Indian Painting. Tisne, Paris, Zwemmer, London, Electa, Rome.


1997 “Monody and the Shapes of time: a Study of Indian Music” The Contemporary Music Review.
1994 “Woodfire and Chance”, in Studio Pottery, UK.
1994 “Drawing Out Through Space” in Studio Pottery, UK.
1993 “Drawing: Fresh Thoughts” in Drawing, New York Drawing Society.
1992 “Speaking from Maker to User” in American Craft.
1985 “Pot Philosophy: On Being There” in The Studio Potter, USA.
1983 “Echoes: an Introduction” in Ceramic Echoes, Contemporary Art Society, USA.
1981 Special Address to the Ceramic Art Society Conference, New York.
1979 Long article in the New York Review of Books, on A. K. Coomaraswamy.
1974 “Intimate Scaffolding––Cézanne’s Drawings and Watercolours” in Studio International, London, January issue.
1974 Chapter on Early Indian Art, in The Legacy of India, ed. by A.L.Basham. Oxford University Press, London and Toronto.
1973 For the Encyclopedia Britannica, long article on “The Arts of Southeast Asia”.
1973 “The Body in Tantra”, lecture reprinted in The Body as a Means of Expression, Allen Lane, London, 1975.
1967 “The Methods of Zen Painting” in British Journal of Aesthetics.
1966 “An Exalted Theory of Ornament” in British Journal of Aesthetics, reprinted in Aesthetics Today, Thames and Hudson, London.
1964 Indian and Islamic Sections of The Batchworth Encyclopedia of Architecture, London.
1959 Survey of German Art Writing since the War in the The limes Literary Supplement, (anon).
1958 “Techniques of Archaic Greek Sculpture”, in Kurt Badt Festschrift, Munich.
1957 “The Methods of Indian Sculpture” in Oriental Art magazine. Reprinted 1966.
1955 “The Iconography of the Goddess Manasa”, Oriental Art magazine.

--------------- End ----------------

Ian Greaves

[This message has been edited by Ian (edited 11-28-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Lee Jones (edited 12-05-2003).]

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posted 11-28-2003 10:59     Click Here to See the Profile for Andrew   Click Here to Email Andrew     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Thank you so much for this wonderful information. The Art of Southeast Asia resides in my library (thanks to Mark Bowditch), and is one of my favorites on the subject.

Thanks also, to Piers Rawson for his extraordinary generosity.


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Senior Member
posted 11-28-2003 12:02     Click Here to See the Profile for ariel   Click Here to Email ariel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please make a copy for me and let me know where to send the payment.
I shall be out of town Dec.5-11. If possible, I would like to pay ASAP, if not, I shall pay as soon as I come back.
This finding is a gem!!!!
Please assure Mr. Rawson that we shall honor the memory of his father and in no way will use the material in an unethical fashion.
Ariel Barkan
5171 Christine Court
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
e-mail address:

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posted 11-29-2003 00:21     Click Here to See the Profile for Andrew   Click Here to Email Andrew     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tonight, I pulled out my well-thumbed copy of The Art of Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Burma, Java, Bali (Thames & Hudson, UK, 1967; ISBN 0-500-20060-2).

This biography is taken from the inside cover, and I thought it a nice tribute:

Philip S. Rawson was a specialist on Eastern art, and wrote widely on the subject in books and for various publications. During his lifetime he served as a UNESCO expert on museology in India, and organized a number of exhibitions on Indian art in Britain. Among his appointments were Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art, London, Keeper of the Gulbenkian Museum of Oriental Art and Archaeology at the University of Durham, Assistant Keeper of the Department of Eastern Art at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and latterly Dean of the School of Art and Design at Goldsmiths' College, London.

An amazing man.

[This message has been edited by Andrew (edited 11-29-2003).]

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Senior Member
posted 11-29-2003 12:05     Click Here to See the Profile for JP   Click Here to Email JP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have just returned from England and had the opportunity to go through the V&A's collections of Indian, Tibetan and Nepali arms. All the pieces found in Rawson's excellent book are there and are more remarkable than pictured.

Although I only had time to photgraph and study the kukris & koras, I did have a chance to view the many other pieces and everything we have seen in the book was directly at hand. If I had the original manuscript to match with each item I would have arranged to add another 2 days to my research.

The museum staff couldn't have been more helpful and were anxious for information on my particular area of study. They even had lights set up for my photographs!

Susan Stronge has edited a fine book with great reference material called "The Art of the Sikh Kingdoms". Although published a few years ago copies still appear from time to time.

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Senior Member
posted 11-30-2003 00:03     Click Here to See the Profile for Ian   Click Here to Email Ian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Thanks very much for this information. A year or so ago I heard that the V&A collection was being moved out of London to a fairly remote location and that it would be difficult to view the items of interest to us. Your experience would seem to indicate otherwise.

Would you email me directly about people to contact and how to best approach them with regard to photographing the NE India/Indochina swords in their collection. The dao, dha and other swords and knives from NE India and Indochina that are included in Egerton's book were, I understand, part of the old India Museum collection that was formed initially by the East India Company and later taken over by the British Government, before finally being transfered to the V&A Museum (Egerton has comments about the provenance of the items that he catalogued, some of which came from his own collection and others from the India Musuem collection). Also, do you have any contacts at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford or the Tower of London Museum?

Look forward to seeing your book.


[This message has been edited by Ian (edited 11-30-2003).]

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Senior Member
posted 11-30-2003 04:39     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In going through the list of Rawson's works Ian has graciously provided, I can't help noticing it includes quite some philosophical/spiritually related stuffs such as those on Tantra, Zen, Yoga, Tao although his emphasis seems more inclined towards the artistical aspects...very interesting man and of varied talents...

I'm now tempted to pick up some of his works...since my own inclinations have brought me to India thrice (Benares twice)...and find some companion in them now that I'm also beginning to get a little interested in Indo-Persian swords...

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Senior Member
posted 12-07-2003 11:52     Click Here to See the Profile for JP   Click Here to Email JP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The weapons were all put into storage and are difficult for the casual observer to get to. The new location is very discreet and very, very secure.

I will send you an email giving as much information as I can. While most cooperative, they are also quite low key about this type request.

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