Thread: 3 Pulwars
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Old 3rd October 2019, 03:22 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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These Afghan sabers are always most attractive to me, and these more rugged examples in my view reflect that kind of demeanor fitting to the Afghan warrior.

It would seem that the bottom example, while the fluting in the grip resembles the hilts of a number of Rajasthani examples, in which that design seems to parallel ewers and other items with this motif......has a blade of the shamshir form and of course does not appear to have the 'ricasso'.

The center example has the distinct yelman, which I have always taken to be a characteristic of many Indian tulwar blades of 18th c. This was a peculiarity I was looking into as I was studying a British officers saber of 1796 with an almost identical feature in its blade.

Both first and second examples seem to have the 'ricasso' feature which Rawson terms the 'Indian ricasso'. I have never fully grasped why that feature nor term was regarded as characteristic only on Indian blades, but perhaps it was to differentiate from the Persian shamshir which does not have this blade feature.

With the number of Indian tulwars which were known in Afghanistan, effectively diaphanously filtered through the regions known a the Northwest frontier, it seems reasonable to see how many blades from India ended up in 'Afghan' context. Remounting blades, as in most native cultures, was pretty much a regular thing.

It has always seemed odd that while we know many blades, copying European and other forms, were produced in India, especially in Rajasthan, we are seldom, if ever, made aware of sword blade making in Afghan context. We know that in producing guns such as the jezail, components such as EIC locks were copied in addition to using existing examples, but the barrels were typically imported from Persia or other regions in India's northwest. While the Afghans certainly could produce barrels, they simply usually didn't.

I wonder if that may have been the case with blades?
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