Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Cut steel decorations on Indian arms (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=25378)

ariel 6th November 2019 06:54 AM

Mahratt,
Please relax: I like my sword. You may think it is a newly-made souvenir, but I think otherwise and do not wish to spend my breath arguing with you.

Also, please stop bombarding me with serial requests to answer your queries and do not try to sound sarcastic. It does not work on me: I choose people whose opinions to value and whose to ignore and somehow you do not belong to the former.

Perhaps, you may wish to just ignore my posts; this will improve the atmosphere on this Forum as well as your personal disposition. Follow Pushkin’s advice:” ... when dark thoughts enter your soul, uncork a bottle of champagne or re-read The Marriage of Figaro”.

mahratt 6th November 2019 07:14 AM

Ariel,
I'm glad you like your "sword". And I'm completely relaxed, because this souvenir "sword" is not in my collection;)

I have long noticed that you are trying to call all the questions uncomfortable for you on the forum "sarcastic." This is a very convenient position. This position attracts moderators who ask to stop the discussion. This allows you not to answer questions that you have no answers :)

I am surprised that you do not follow your own ideas and do not ignore my messages. More precisely, you ignore my messages, but only when you have nothing to answer. For example, as in the question with "knives allegedly bought by the Tsar in Bakhchisarai in 1837."

You probably have a constant lack of champagne at home .... But I am ready to send you a gift "The Marriage of Figaro" in Russian ;)

mahratt 6th November 2019 07:27 AM

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I think now that we have figured out the "unique sword", we can return to the main topic of discussion.
Given that for such swords as Pata, the blade is fixed with rivets, this mount is probably quite strong.

Jens Nordlunde 6th November 2019 09:23 AM

Quote - I think now that we have figured out the "unique sword", we can return to the main topic of discussion. - end of quote.


Sorry Mahratt, but I think you losst the overview, as the main topic is not rivets, but Cut steel decorations on Indian arms.

mahratt 6th November 2019 10:29 AM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Sorry Mahratt, but I think you losst the overview, as the main topic is not rivets, but Cut steel decorations on Indian arms.


Yes, Jens, you are absolutely right. Forgive me for my inattention. It’s just that the topic has gone a little from the main direction. But I think that Pata, which I showed in the subject, is also suitable for discussing steel jewelry on Indian weapons. Here, the steel decorations on top are decorated with gold.

Well, another example of steel jewelry. By the way, I will be very grateful if you express your opinion on the dating of this Katar

mariusgmioc 6th November 2019 06:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Well, another example of steel jewelry. By the way, I will be very grateful if you express your opinion on the dating of this Katar


Beautiful Katar, but more detailed photos would be welcomed.

My guess is that the blade is one piece with the "bolster", then the arm guards and the transverse grip are forge welded to form one single piece.

Many of these Katars were made for the foreigner collectors around 1900, and yours may be one of them.

I have seen earlier examples in wootz, but it does not appear to be the case of this one... or is it?

mahratt 6th November 2019 08:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Beautiful Katar, but more detailed photos would be welcomed.

My guess is that the blade is one piece with the "bolster", then the arm guards and the transverse grip are forge welded to form one single piece.

Many of these Katars were made for the foreigner collectors around 1900, and yours may be one of them.

I have seen earlier examples in wootz, but it does not appear to be the case of this one... or is it?


It is quite possible this is 1900. I'm not sure about the dating. Therefore, I ask the views of the forum participants.
I will try to make better photos at the weekend.
Blade - wootz :)

Jens Nordlunde 7th November 2019 03:10 PM

Yes better pictures would be nice.
How big is the katar?

ariel 8th November 2019 01:08 AM

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Jens,
I appreciate and respect your wish to concentrate on decorative elements of Indian weapons, but just want to show 2 South Indian swords of interest. Seems to me, that spear-like construction and fortified tip were indeed encountered in South India.
That would be my last deviation from your request. Sorry for disrupting the flow of information.

ariel 8th November 2019 01:36 AM

The "hunting scene" on this katar is interesting: apparently it was not " deep etched", but rather carved. If the blade is indeed wootz, that would support the notion that wootz was not hardened for fear of losing the pattern. As per Kirill's info, the hardness of wootz did not exceed 20-25 Rockwell unites.

As to the quality of carving, I am going on a very long and thin limb:-)
The figures are not sharp and lack elegance of earlier examples. Elgood has several examples of similar quality and attributes them to the late 19th century. Those were intended as wedding gifts and souvenirs. By that time katars virtually lost their fighting purpose.
Jens, when better pics become available, could you correct my amateurish dating? My artistic appreciation is not highly developed, I am a " slash and burn" type :-) who is trying to learn new tricks. It is hard....

mahratt 8th November 2019 02:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Yes better pictures would be nice.
How big is the katar?


Total length 19 inches, blade 10 inches long and 2 inches wide

Kubur 8th November 2019 10:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Yes better pictures would be nice.
How big is the katar?


Can we see the transversal bars pleeease?

Jens Nordlunde 8th November 2019 03:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Jens, when better pics become available, could you correct my amateurish dating? My artistic appreciation is not highly developed, I am a " slash and burn" type :-) who is trying to learn new tricks. It is hard....

I dont think you are far from the correct date, as from the pictures I have seen so far, my guess would have been the same. It seems to be a very nice, but locally made katar, so now I hope for better pictures/details.

Yes there are a number of spear heads of this form, see Elgood: Hindu Arms and Ritual, p. 192, and yes they are south Indian. Sorry Mahratt, I know that not all have the book, but as there is copyright on the pictures, I dont like to show this one.

Jens Nordlunde 10th November 2019 08:36 PM

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What I had in mind when I started the link was more like this.
There are a lot of peacocks, but to find them, you either need my catalogue, or to look after what peacocks looked like in the late 16th or early 17th century.

mahratt 10th November 2019 08:49 PM

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Unfortunately, it turned out that I - bad photographer;) And I can’t take a good picture of my кatar.
But, I found my кatar on the website of Artzi Yarom (аlthough he did get into my modest collection not from Artzi). So I decided to put a photo and description from the Artzi website:
http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=2351
"Kаttar push dagger, North India, probably late 18 C or there about. The heavy blade 10 inches long and 2 inches wide is forged from fine Indian wootz steel ( crystalline) and finely chiseled with hunting scenes on both sides: Tigers, elephants and horse riders. Heavy armor piercing tip. Total length 19 inches".
I think no one will have any doubt that Artzi saw wootz on the blade of this кatar?
The only thing I disagree with is the dating of кatar - the late 18th century. I think that my кatar can be dated to the first half - the middle of the 19th century.

Kubur 10th November 2019 10:03 PM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
The only thing I disagree with is the dating of кatar - the late 18th century. I think that my кatar can be dated to the first half - the middle of the 19th century.


Well dealers have to sell so they are always optimistics...
19th c is reasonnable, look at this one in the British museums
Acquired by King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, during his tour of India in 1875-76.
You have a nice katar by the way

:)

mahratt 11th November 2019 02:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
19th c is reasonnable, look at this one in the British museums
Acquired by King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, during his tour of India in 1875-76.
You have a nice katar by the way

:)


Thank you!
The dating of my кatar with the 19th century, and not with the 18th century, does not bother me. I am not trying to find "very old unique rarities";)

mahratt 11th November 2019 06:49 AM

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An interesting Indian bazuband from the collection of my friend.

Jens Nordlunde 11th November 2019 02:34 PM

Its a very nice bazuband.
I have often wondered how they, with the primitive tools they had, were able to make these steel cuttings.


For those of you who like riddles. Have a look at the pata I showed. There are a lot of peacocks at the edge of the gauntlet. If you dont see them, look for how the peacocks were shown in the 16th to 17th century.

Silver John 17th November 2019 03:09 PM

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Encouraged by Jens on a separate thread, I have decided to post the only Indian piece I own with cut steel decoration.

A modest tulwar, sadly missing the pommel disc. The blade is a decent size; 77cm long and the piece weighs 670grams, but the handle is absolutely tiny, with only 7cm of room for the hand.

I would be very interested in any comments.

Jens Nordlunde 17th November 2019 03:40 PM

Silver John, thank you very much for posting:-).


Is the hilt silver plated - or was it?
Its interesting to think of, how much this hilt have been used to be worn like it is. A grip of the size of 7 cm does not surprise me, as I think most grips are about this size. The missing disc is interesting, but have relatively often been seen.
Intersting blade, which could be European, or maybe an Indian copy, as these stamps were copied a lot in India.

kronckew 17th November 2019 04:32 PM

We see the removed disks quite often, I suspect they get removed deliberately by owners who either have larger hands or prefer a more western sabre cutting style.

ariel 17th November 2019 05:14 PM

That was Tirri’s idea.
Yes, from time to time we do see Tulwars with no pommel disk. But we see many, many more with semi-attached wobbly disks, some even with signs of attempted brazing. There is no way to exclude deliberate removal of disks from time to time, but IMHO in the majority of cases it was an unintended loss due to forging defect/poor craftsmanship.

Kubur 17th November 2019 07:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
IMHO in the majority of cases it was an unintended loss due to forging defect/poor craftsmanship.


Yes I agree... they were badly smelted.
Disks are important to keep the sword well in hand.
or disks were removed as demilitarized equipment - in short to not beeing used...against British or others...

"A grip of the size of 7 cm does not surprise m"

As Jens wrote it's common and it's very handy as your hand is really stuck between the guard and the disk...might have been useful in a battle...

Jens Nordlunde 17th November 2019 08:14 PM

Yes Ariel is right, that was Tirri's theory - and so far we dont know if it is correct.


Kubur, the thing about the handle was not from me, but from Krochew #52.


Anyway, missing disc or not, lets have a look at the tulwar.
The hilt is very vorn, and the blade seems to be quite old as well - so how old would you think it is?
To be save, I would say early 18th century, but it could be older. Bids are open :-).

ariel 17th November 2019 11:25 PM

Paul writes in his book that the pommel disk was there for a purpose: it created a very tight grip, and this tightness resulted in the emotion of “josh”, something that can be loosely explained as aggressiveness, daring, absence of fear. Perhaps, a better translation would be “amok” or “berserk”.
Perhaps.
Realistically, tight grip and the disk immobilized wrist movements, forcing the fighter to slash from the elbow or the shoulder. As a result, in conjunction with curved Tulwar profile, it essentially eliminated the possibility of stabbing movements. This was repeatedly stressed by European travelers.

In part, this limitation could be more or less overcome by curving the index finger over the quillon or by the European “ thumb ring” . But then, which finger are you more willing to sacrifice?

Silver John 18th November 2019 04:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Is the hilt silver plated - or was it?


It’s hard to tell, the entire handle was a rusty brown when I bought it. I have rubbed it down with 000 wire wool as mineral oil which has revealed a few tiny flecks of gold at the edge of one of the motiefs, but no obvious silver yet. I still have some cleaning to do, so I might find some yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Its interesting to think of, how much this hilt have been used to be worn like it is.


Indeed! And I photographed the “good” side, the other is far more worn. It’s almost impossible to see in the picture, but the same pattern that is near the cross guard is also on the palm swell of the handle, just much more faint. An arrangement of flowers in rows, 1,2,3,2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Intersting blade, which could be European, or maybe an Indian copy, as these stamps were copied a lot in India.


I had wondered about that. The blade has Indian features like the stepped spine and large ricasso. I had hoped to reveal a pattern in the blade by etching it, but my initial test panel did not reveal anything at all. Perhaps it is European and so no pattern is to be found?, or perhaps I just need to use a different acid for etching.

Many thanks for the comments!

Nihl 20th November 2019 03:33 AM

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Just to add to the examples in this thread, here are three pieces I have with cut steel decoration; a pata and bara jamdadu, both from the 17th century, and an early 19th century pata. All of them have floral/vegetal decoration of some sort, though the 19th c pata is quite an exception as it has both a zoomorphic "face" as well as a makara on either side of the gauntlet. The bara jamdadu also probably has a stylized pair of peacocks on it somewhere :)

kronckew 20th November 2019 08:09 AM

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cut Steel hilts were popular on court/mourning swords early 19c too, I wonder if they aquired a teaste for it from the Indian portion of the Empire...

Jens Nordlunde 21st November 2019 11:00 AM

Nihl, it is very nice steel cut decora tions on your patas.


Hindus and Muslims both used floral decoration, but not for the same reason.
To the Muslims it was pure decoration, but to the Hindus it was often a representation of a diety.


Kronckew, yes the Europeans also used steel cut decoration, but I dont think they used it as much as the Indians.


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