EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
One thing I would note at this point toward establishing date or period assessment on many forms of edged weaponry in the Indian subcontinent is that it is perhaps one of the most daunting spheres in which to do so.
The continued use traditionally of forms which were in use for many centuries has maintained perpetually with little change in styling or key elements. Most enabling in proper identification and classification is probably the decoration or motif in the hilt, as makers marks and related stamps are typically not placed in these weapons. Most cases of arsenal marks found on weapons are of course post production and only viable in dating in degree, and the numbers of arsenal marked examples is quite limited.
As has been noted, artistic or iconographic sources for establishing the terminus post quem for a weapon form is often questionable or easily compromised. The use of narrative accounts or records may often be defeated in degree by the inarticulate or collective terms used to describe or refer to a particular weapon, and dialectic, colloquial and vernacular terms may vary semantically in translations.
With most published material, authors tend to be either overly optimistic in setting captioned date for a described weapon, or overly cautious. Tulwars will characteristically (almost invariably) be listed as 19th century. Yet these weapons were well in use in the previous centuries.
It is within these existing conditions that we examine and try to prudently assess the date and period of these arms of India. While not 'impossible', it is only achievable in degree with the kind of scrutiny, investigation, analysis and constructive discussion we have always shared here.
We continue to learn, and together.