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Old 27th June 2012, 10:45 PM   #11
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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LOL!Gene, No doubt a fry cook wielding one of these monsters would be pretty scary

Elgood in "Hindu Arms & Ritual" addresses the 'tegha' conundrum by noting that the Persian word 'tegh' (Steingass, 1973) =sword, glaive,falchion, knife razor, but in India the word tegha is used for the blade of a sword or knife. He notes further that Rawson (1968) brought the heavy, curved blade of 17th century swords into this, and emphasizes that the tegha term has nothing to do with 'headsmans swords'. (p.265).

Turning to Rawson (1968, pp.6,18,19) he describes the tegha as a broad blade with backward curve. He then notes that strictly speaking tegha is a word in Arabic for blade, but 'following Egerton' it is used to describe a tulwar blade with 'exceptionally deep backward curve'.
He notes there are two types of tegha, one Muslim, the other Hindu. In these descriptions they are both again deep backward curve with no mention of heaviness in the blade. The key differences however are in the hilt one with tulwar form the other with Hindu basket hilt.

Here's where it gets complicated....going another step back to Egerton, the original source (1880, p.117). Tegha is described as short broad heavy blade with two grooves (#536 from Codrington collection 30" blade 2" wide).
He then (p.123) describes a sword (nimcha, tegha,goliah) with the handle with tiger stripes from Seringpatam as from Hindustan c.1780 and is a small sword with slight curve.
Completely contrary to the tegha descriptions and the nimcha is even more puzzling.

We go to 'goliah' (p.123) a heavy sword 'slightly bent' and worn by men of rank.

on p.105 the tegha is described as broad curved sword used by Hindu Rangars and 'Mohammedan Rajputs'.

It seems like the string of misinterpretation evolved through the early writers into the work of Rawson, with Pant and later Elgood trying to address the conundrum as well as possible. As can be seen here, the tegha is regarded as a word which has been apparantly misconstrued by early writers attempting to classify sword types with entirely conflicting results.

I'm glad you noted that the use of the term had become a trend among some collectors, interestingly this phenomenon is exactly where we get the phrase 'collectors term' for many of the misnomers often still with us. It seems that it is popular to assign catchy terms or descriptive terms to some sword types with particular features to rather elevate thier attraction, most often in sales descriptions and catalogs. These are of course less than productive in cases like this where identification of sword forms is quite difficult as it is.

Naturally I would also welcome the input and opinions of the specialists, but these are the observations from my own point of view after reviewing the standard references.

All the best,
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