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Old 2nd February 2013, 11:18 AM   #1
Atlantia
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Default Anglo-Indian Momento of Sam Brownes 22nd Cavalry in fine Koftgari

I thought you chaps might enjoy seeing this anglo-Indian steel cigarette box decorated to the 'legendary' Frontier force during it's time as the "22nd Sam Brownes Cavalry" (1904-1921).
It's of interest to us for several reasons of course. Not just the connection with the frontier force, but also the quality of the koftgari is very good and is directly comparable with that which was used to decorate the weapons that we regularly discuss. It's also interesting to see an example of early 20thC koftgari art that's datable to such a short period.
I love these 'fusion' items.

All comments welcome of course.

Sam Browne's 22nd Cavalry
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Last edited by Atlantia : 2nd February 2013 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 2nd February 2013, 07:50 PM   #2
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I was once told by a Sikh that Sialkot was (and probably still is) the centre of manufacture for koftgari on steel of this type.
Regards
Richard
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Old 2nd February 2013, 09:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
I was once told by a Sikh that Sialkot was (and probably still is) the centre of manufacture for koftgari on steel of this type.
Regards
Richard


Hi Richard,

That's interesting. We see this exact type of Koftgari on many Dhal, Kula Khud and other items that I've long thought were made to supply the British in the first half of the 20thC.

Regards
Gene
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Old 9th February 2013, 11:48 AM   #4
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Suprised at how little interest this has engendered.
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Old 9th February 2013, 11:53 AM   #5
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Didn't see the post before! Very attractive item and as you note very connected to the work seen on weapons as well.

I wish I had the time and funds to pursue collecting non weaponry items as well from the cultures I'm interested in - it really does give a more complete picture of the societies that manufactured the weapons we love.
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Old 9th February 2013, 08:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
Didn't see the post before! Very attractive item and as you note very connected to the work seen on weapons as well.

I wish I had the time and funds to pursue collecting non weaponry items as well from the cultures I'm interested in - it really does give a more complete picture of the societies that manufactured the weapons we love.



Hi Iain,

You are a Gentleman!
Thank you for taking the time to answer.
From the number of views it would appear that many don't bother any more.

Weapons are just part of my collection. I love metalwork and woodwork as well.
I can't just collect weapons because when it comes to collecting I can't bring myself to specialise or 'walk on by' something that catches my eye.
... That and the fact that I have a lady in my life who wouldn't take kindly to living in a house that looks 'too much' like an armoury.

I've been examining the various styles of Koftgari in my own collection on both weapons and other items spanning the thick end of two centuries and the 'seeming evolution' of style is quite interesting.
Especially with the dates of some being clearly defined, it makes for interesting research.

Regards
Gene
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Old 9th February 2013, 09:18 PM   #7
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Hi Gene,

Well mate, as you know, I've been appreciating this - it's stunning to say the least - and I'd love to see some close-up photos of the koftgari posted in this thread as well.

Was the design engraved/chiseled into which wire was hammered (as with bidriware) or was it hammered flat into cross-hatched grooves?

Best,

Chris
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Old 9th February 2013, 10:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Hi Iain,

You are a Gentleman!
Thank you for taking the time to answer.
From the number of views it would appear that many don't bother any more.

Weapons are just part of my collection. I love metalwork and woodwork as well.
I can't just collect weapons because when it comes to collecting I can't bring myself to specialise or 'walk on by' something that catches my eye.
... That and the fact that I have a lady in my life who wouldn't take kindly to living in a house that looks 'too much' like an armoury.

I've been examining the various styles of Koftgari in my own collection on both weapons and other items spanning the thick end of two centuries and the 'seeming evolution' of style is quite interesting.
Especially with the dates of some being clearly defined, it makes for interesting research.

Regards
Gene



Hi Gene,

Its always interesting to hear about the variety of objects many here collection. I have to admit to being limited in my own collecting to the point of being a bit ridiculous. Letting myself buy a spear likely from the Congo a few weeks ago was a big step! :P I am quite lucky when it comes to the lady of the house - she complained rather loudly when I mentioned perhaps shifting some of the displays out of the study/ now her work room. Perhaps I'll just remove the sharpest ones.

For me any type of craft from a culture I'm interested in is interesting. I'd very much like to get some Nupe brass bowls for instance or Tuareg jewelry.

Returning back to the cigarette box - I too would be interested to see more photos. Forgive my ignorance but the inlay is brass correct?
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Old 10th February 2013, 12:06 AM   #9
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This is a fantastic item Gene, and quite frankly, any regimental regalia of these Indian cavalry units is outstanding in itself. These regiments of the British Raj are probably the most colorful and rich in history of all, and years ago were my collecting passion (read obsession!).

As you have noted, the Frontier Force units were indeed legendary, and Sam Browne was the very fiber of the type of men in these units. The uniforms and regalia worn by these units' officers was amazing, and the crossbelts were often resplendant with hallmarked silver mounts, prickers for thier percussion pistols, and the brass unit emblems were the most addicting (and rare) collectibles ever!

As I have mentioned here before, I once was most honored to visit the late Brigadier Francis Ingall, author of his autobiography "Last of the Bengal Lancers" at his home near San Francisco. As a young cavalry officer he led one of the last mounted cavalry charges in the early 1930s on plains in the Khyber district on the Northwest Frontier. He had been with the 13th Bengal Lancers (Watsons Horse), and I was able to handle his swords and see some of his memorabilia. Over the mantle of his fireplace was a beautiful portrait of his faithful charger 'Eagerheart', and the Brigadier looked wistfully at it from time to time as he recalled amazing tales from the frontier there. It was something I will never forget.
I will also never forget winning two lances in an auction in London, and picking these up at air freight/customs in Los Angeles, and driving them home down the 405 freeway with these out the T-top of my Corvette...much to the curiosity of several Highway Patrol officers!!

For anyone interesting in more on the pageantry of these colorful and amazing regiments, I would recommend:

"An Assemblage of Indian Cavalry Uniforms", Chater Paul Chater.

"The Armies of India" Major G.F.MacMunn, London C.F.Black 1911
reprinted numerous times

"An Assemblage of Indian Army Soldiers and Uniforms"
Michael Glover, 1973

"Indian Cavalry Regiments" A.H. Bowling, Almark, 1971

For the adventurous, "Punjab Frontier Force" R. North, 1934, would be worth trying to find.

Thank you for sharing this magnificent item Gene, and any item of regimentally marked 'kit' from the regiments of the British Raj is in my opinion profoundly pertinant. Nicely done!!

All the very best,
Jim
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Old 10th February 2013, 12:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
From the number of views it would appear that many don't bother any more.
Hi Gene
I'm one of those, he watch and didn't comment, it's because (I talk about myself)
at evidence, the Koftgari work, it's Indian, and I haven't a knowledge about it

if it was; Egyptian, Syrian even Ottoman, be sure that you should receive comments from my part

in addition to my collection of; Islamic edged weapons, I have at least 2 other hobbies
- Islamic Antique talismanic/magic bowl (Tasset el Khrada)
- Islamic chapelet (Prayer beads)

but our forum title, has, as mention "Ethnographic Arms and Armour"
no mention about domestic objects, even if they are quality

by the way, my "Tasset el Kharda" (antiques), yet, all are engraved,
come from Syria, Egypt, Middle Asia, and some from Turkey Ottoman,
no one of them has Koftgari work
best regards

ŕ +

Dom
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Old 10th February 2013, 11:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laEspadaAncha
Hi Gene,

Well mate, as you know, I've been appreciating this - it's stunning to say the least - and I'd love to see some close-up photos of the koftgari posted in this thread as well.

Was the design engraved/chiseled into which wire was hammered (as with bidriware) or was it hammered flat into cross-hatched grooves?

Best,

Chris



Hi Chris,

Thanks for coming in on this one
Excellent question.

This kind of kotfgari is characterised by the mixture of the broad leaf (hawthorne?) pattern that is now so familiar because fo the modern koftgari work's heavy use of a similar style and the very fine and far more labour intensive koftgari often seen on earlier pieces.

If we look closely at the two pictures below, I've tried to illustrate the construction techniques involved using worn areas of the koftgari.
The ruler is in centimetres and millimetres to show how fine this detail is.
The larger silvered areas and leaves are applied into finely incised crosshatching, as are some of the finer foliate patterns.
However, much of the very finely detailed work has been applied into patterns punched into the steel with a fine point.
Where the koftgari is worn or was heated until liquid in the original application process the 'pin holes' in the steel underneath have become visible.

The modern koftgari artisans would save considerable time by avoiding this process and concentrating on the crosshatching and larger pattern technique.
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Last edited by Atlantia : 10th February 2013 at 12:21 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 10th February 2013, 01:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
Hi Gene,

Its always interesting to hear about the variety of objects many here collection. I have to admit to being limited in my own collecting to the point of being a bit ridiculous. Letting myself buy a spear likely from the Congo a few weeks ago was a big step! :P I am quite lucky when it comes to the lady of the house - she complained rather loudly when I mentioned perhaps shifting some of the displays out of the study/ now her work room. Perhaps I'll just remove the sharpest ones.

For me any type of craft from a culture I'm interested in is interesting. I'd very much like to get some Nupe brass bowls for instance or Tuareg jewelry.

Returning back to the cigarette box - I too would be interested to see more photos. Forgive my ignorance but the inlay is brass correct?


Hi Iain

LOL, that's how it starts! With one spear

The white metal inlay is of a reasonable silver content and oxidises to a dark grey quite quickly (as is often the case).
The 'gold' coloured inlay doesn't tarnish unless stained by rust from the surrounding metal. So possibly actually gold. Possibly a very yellow maleable copper alloy

If we compare this box, which was clearly made to cater to Eurpean 'colonial' tastes, with an earlier more traditional type the contrast is stark.
The construction of the earlier box is of pieces of indivicually shaped wrought iron (lots of them) held together with carefully recessed handmade screws and brazed seams.
In the close-up picture below of the bottom of the foot, the 'ripples' in the wrought iron and the patterns of crosshatching where the silver koftgari from the underside of the foot has worn away are clearly visible, giving us a tantalising glimpse into the construction of these fine pieces.

Best
Gene
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Last edited by Atlantia : 10th February 2013 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 10th February 2013, 02:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
This is a fantastic item Gene, and quite frankly, any regimental regalia of these Indian cavalry units is outstanding in itself. These regiments of the British Raj are probably the most colorful and rich in history of all, and years ago were my collecting passion (read obsession!).

As you have noted, the Frontier Force units were indeed legendary, and Sam Browne was the very fiber of the type of men in these units. The uniforms and regalia worn by these units' officers was amazing, and the crossbelts were often resplendant with hallmarked silver mounts, prickers for thier percussion pistols, and the brass unit emblems were the most addicting (and rare) collectibles ever!

As I have mentioned here before, I once was most honored to visit the late Brigadier Francis Ingall, author of his autobiography "Last of the Bengal Lancers" at his home near San Francisco. As a young cavalry officer he led one of the last mounted cavalry charges in the early 1930s on plains in the Khyber district on the Northwest Frontier. He had been with the 13th Bengal Lancers (Watsons Horse), and I was able to handle his swords and see some of his memorabilia. Over the mantle of his fireplace was a beautiful portrait of his faithful charger 'Eagerheart', and the Brigadier looked wistfully at it from time to time as he recalled amazing tales from the frontier there. It was something I will never forget.
I will also never forget winning two lances in an auction in London, and picking these up at air freight/customs in Los Angeles, and driving them home down the 405 freeway with these out the T-top of my Corvette...much to the curiosity of several Highway Patrol officers!!

For anyone interesting in more on the pageantry of these colorful and amazing regiments, I would recommend:

"An Assemblage of Indian Cavalry Uniforms", Chater Paul Chater.

"The Armies of India" Major G.F.MacMunn, London C.F.Black 1911
reprinted numerous times

"An Assemblage of Indian Army Soldiers and Uniforms"
Michael Glover, 1973

"Indian Cavalry Regiments" A.H. Bowling, Almark, 1971

For the adventurous, "Punjab Frontier Force" R. North, 1934, would be worth trying to find.

Thank you for sharing this magnificent item Gene, and any item of regimentally marked 'kit' from the regiments of the British Raj is in my opinion profoundly pertinant. Nicely done!!

All the very best,
Jim



Hi Jim,

Thank you for your kind comments.
These fusion pieces really do tick all the boxes for me.

I've told you before buddy, I'd love to have seen you that day in your green vette!

Even though the 22nd Sam Brownes Cavalry are on the stroke of midnight for Cavalry in general, they still had quite a noteworthy career.

I can certainly see why one might become immersed in this interesting episode of history.

Best
Gene
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Old 10th February 2013, 03:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom
Hi Gene
I'm one of those, he watch and didn't comment, it's because (I talk about myself)
at evidence, the Koftgari work, it's Indian, and I haven't a knowledge about it

if it was; Egyptian, Syrian even Ottoman, be sure that you should receive comments from my part

in addition to my collection of; Islamic edged weapons, I have at least 2 other hobbies
- Islamic Antique talismanic/magic bowl (Tasset el Khrada)
- Islamic chapelet (Prayer beads)

but our forum title, has, as mention "Ethnographic Arms and Armour"
no mention about domestic objects, even if they are quality

by the way, my "Tasset el Kharda" (antiques), yet, all are engraved,
come from Syria, Egypt, Middle Asia, and some from Turkey Ottoman,
no one of them has Koftgari work
best regards

ŕ +

Dom



Hi Dom,

Don't forget your astrolabes.

We often find ourselves pontificating over the dating of Koftgari objects.
I'm sure you'll agree that not only does this box have a direct military connection, but also that it's an example of koftgari that is directly comparable with those Dhal, Kula Khud, Bazu-band, even some steel hilts, shafts and decorated blades that we regularly discuss. So having datable examples of this type of decoration is supremely helpful for identification and research purposes.

I've got some eygptian and ottoman syrian inlaid metalwork, but there isn't such a connection with the weapons and armour.

Best
Gene

Last edited by Atlantia : 10th February 2013 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 10th February 2013, 04:31 PM   #15
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Hi,
Just to add a 'sharp and pointy' aspect to the proceedings here's an officer of the Regiment with the 1912 Officers Pattern Sabre.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 11th February 2013, 06:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi,
Just to add a 'sharp and pointy' aspect to the proceedings here's an officer of the Regiment with the 1912 Officers Pattern Sabre.
Regards,
Norman.


He WAS a snappy dresser! The box could well have held his very own ciggies!
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Old 12th February 2013, 12:28 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Don't forget your astrolabes.
Hi Gene,
don't flash on my astrolabes, all are just a replicas,
my personal capital didn't allow me to buy a genuine one at minimum 40/50 KEuros,
it's hopeless, at least for me
no one has a Koftgari work
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
...snip... So having datable examples of this type of decoration is supremely helpful for identification and research purposes.
I'm fully agree with you
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
I've got some eygptian and ottoman syrian inlaid metalwork, but there isn't such a connection with the weapons and armour.
one day, for some one, the translation of the Koftgari on a beautiful tray,
gave a date, and think remember me, a Sultan name inside a thugra
all the best

ŕ +

Dom
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Old 14th February 2013, 07:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom
Hi Gene,
don't flash on my astrolabes, all are just a replicas,
my personal capital didn't allow me to buy a genuine one at minimum 40/50 KEuros,
it's hopeless, at least for me
no one has a Koftgari work
I'm fully agree with you
one day, for some one, the translation of the Koftgari on a beautiful tray,
gave a date, and think remember me, a Sultan name inside a thugra
all the best

ŕ +

Dom


HI Dom,

Despite their comparative youth Your astrolabes are beautiful items.

Yes indeed, the Syrian tray!
Much thicker inlay of course. Much of it made by laying thick wires side by side to create a solid.
Interesting technique!

Best
Gene
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Old 14th February 2013, 11:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Despite their comparative youth Your astrolabes are beautiful items
never mind, if I'm subject to censure
here my most beautiful Islamic astrolabes 2 over 9 ... (replicas for indo-Persian)
and my third treasure, an Islamic talismanic bowl in "tombaq" (Ottoman antique)

enjoy ... as well as me, when every day, I see them with pleasure

all the best

ŕ +

Dom
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Old 15th February 2013, 04:15 AM   #20
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Getting in here late on the interesting discussion. Beautiful boxes Gene. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th February 2013, 04:16 AM   #21
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Also love the change in icon, Gene!
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Old 19th February 2013, 10:58 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom
never mind, if I'm subject to censure
here my most beautiful Islamic astrolabes 2 over 9 ... (replicas for indo-Persian)
and my third treasure, an Islamic talismanic bowl in "tombaq" (Ottoman antique)

enjoy ... as well as me, when every day, I see them with pleasure

all the best

ŕ +

Dom


Some good looking items there Dom!
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Old 19th February 2013, 11:01 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathaniel
Getting in here late on the interesting discussion. Beautiful boxes Gene. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing!


Hi Nathaniel,
Thanks buddy
Gald you like the new avatar.

Best
Gene
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Old 19th February 2013, 11:18 AM   #24
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A fine box Gene - congratulations (I had not noticed it before now)

Regards.
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Old 21st February 2013, 09:21 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
A fine box Gene - congratulations (I had not noticed it before now)

Regards.



Hi Colin,

Thanks very much, I'm really suprised nobody else has brought their koftgari into this thread!

Best
Gene
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