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Old 10th July 2019, 02:23 AM   #1
Katar_arms
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Default Unknown Tulwar Markings

Hi everyone,

This is my first post so I wanted to kick it off with a number of stamps that I can't identify and would love some input! I firstly have two on what I think are 18th Century India tulwar and Tegha, another on a 19th Century Indian Tulwar and finally one on a 19th Century? Balkans Bichaq. If anyone has an ideas on the province of the tulwars and tegha that would be great! Also the semi basket hilt tulwar is very strange. It has a copper dome on the disc hilt with remains of gold koftghari within the gaps, has anyone ever seen something similar before? Thanks guys!
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Old 10th July 2019, 02:08 PM   #2
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Default Bichaq

Hi,
I don't know anything about Indian swords, but your bichaq looks like second half 19th c to me, and Greek, because this type decorative engravings on the blade is a Greek thing (also on Cretan daggers). However, nobody can provide further information without enlarged pic of the blade.
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Old 10th July 2019, 03:20 PM   #3
Jens Nordlunde
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I dont know much about the bichaq but the numbers seem to be arabic.
1224(?) if this is correct it should be AD 1809.
From what I can see from your pictures, the markings seem at be copies of European marks, giving the blades a 'quality' stamp so to say.

When you photograph, please try to do so outside, it is best if it is clouded, as the light will be better. Using electric light gives too many shadows.
Please show the whole sword, then the details, the next sword and the details. This way it is far easier to see which details belong to which sword, and show the sword upwards or we will have to scroll all the time to read the text.
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Old 10th July 2019, 08:35 PM   #4
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Good stuff just look for Fringia you will get a lot of information's from Jim and others about pulwar tulwar....
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Old 10th July 2019, 08:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katar_arms
It has a copper dome on the disc hilt with remains of gold koftghari within the gaps, has anyone ever seen something similar before? Thanks guys!


yes on Indian shields
unfortunately for you, your talwar ou tulwar was restored with bits from an Indian shield...
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Old 11th July 2019, 05:32 PM   #6
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It would appear these tulwars are assemblages of components from old Indian armouries which may have been put together some time ago. The blades are Indian (having the distinct blunted edge near the hilt) and the markings are somewhat impressively executed versions of well known Styrian blade marks.
There is a great deal of consternation and debate over the meaning of the FRINGIA word and its variations, however it is generally found on sword blades through East Europe.
It would appear that the 'sickle marks' (dentated arcs) and 'cogwheel' arrangements with what appears to be perhaps 'ANDREA' (Ferara) may reflect same usage on Solingen blades.

These kinds of blades were well known in the trade entrepots in India, and the marks were widely copied, and impressively done often (as seen here) to assert 'quality' as Jens has noted.

It is interesting to see the shield disc, or what appears to be one, on the tulwar pommel. Similar radiating designs are well known inside the pommel disc, but the dome is atypical, and incongruent with the securing nut.

I would agree with the latter 19th c. on the bichaq, but can only presume the inscribed panel on the blade is in the manner of many Ottoman blades including yataghans of various forms.
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Old 13th July 2019, 12:02 PM   #7
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Attached is an example of an Indian blade with copied European stamps.
Notice how uneven the stamps have been made, on one side the letters start 20 cm from the quillon block, and on the other side only 12 cm from the block.
Hilt made of copper with remnants of its original gilding. Mughal 17th century.
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Old 14th July 2019, 02:42 PM   #8
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One can wonder why the stamps sometimes are in such a bad state, as they are supposed to mean 'European quality'.
Maybe the stamps themselves were worn, or the one who put the stamps on the blades did not care very much. Another question is, why the two stamps with the letters, are placed differently on either side of the blade.
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Old 14th July 2019, 06:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
One can wonder why the stamps sometimes are in such a bad state, as they are supposed to mean 'European quality'.
Maybe the stamps themselves were worn, or the one who put the stamps on the blades did not care very much. Another question is, why the two stamps with the letters, are placed differently on either side of the blade.



If I may speculate, the notion of European 'quality' was likely much in the manner of many cultures who regard 'foreign' items and forms as 'exotic' or 'impessive'. It is well known that the Mughals were intrigued by European herbals and other such references, and ironically symbols and devices such as sigils and the like had filtered into European occult from Islamic sources.

Then much of this cross diffused back into the culture through the Mughals.
European blades of vintage were regarded as of well venerated quality, and I think possibly less than crisp or well placed stamped would suggest such character.

On the other hand, stamp dies did tend to deteriorate with use of course, and the resulting marks reflected this. This is seen in all manner of stamps in Europe as well as many others, and probably why makers changed and had auxiliary forms. In North Africa the dies for the well known crescent moons degenerated over years, to where the marks became almost indiscernible.

In antiques, it is of course well known that furnishings are often refinished with 'distressing' and discoloration or patina to give it 'character'.
A handsome Mughal sword with 'venerable' European blade would be highly desirable and auspicious, so Indian makers may have employed these markings accordingly to allude to such character.
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Old 18th July 2019, 03:29 PM   #10
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I think Ulfbrecht on the European forum Hand and a Halfsword (post 10) explains it very good.
More decoration cost more money and these things were very costly even in those day's. Blade marks don't have to be perfectly symmetrical, variations will occur depending on how worn the punch was and if the punch and the hammer were perfectly vertical when the marks were placed.
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Old 18th July 2019, 04:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
I think Ulfbrecht on the European forum Hand and a Halfsword (post 10) explains it very good.
More decoration cost more money and these things were very costly even in those day's. Blade marks don't have to be perfectly symmetrical, variations will occur depending on how worn the punch was and if the punch and the hammer were perfectly vertical when the marks were placed.



Jens, thank you for bringing Ulfbrecht's very pertinent and well described comments on the markings 'punch' circumstances, most well placed in this discussion.
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Old 20th July 2019, 08:41 PM   #12
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I think 'Katar arms' have lost interest in the subject - so why did he ask the question?
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Old 20th July 2019, 09:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
I think 'Katar arms' have lost interest in the subject - so why did he ask the question?



Unfortunately not that unusual when guys ask something then just disappear
At least we have an opportunity to have some discussion and often learn some things as we spend the usual hours researching. Most dont realize this stuff doesnt just come off the top of our heads (wish it did!), so we have to dig up the notes and references to answer the questions.
Hopefully Mr. Katar Arms was satisfied with the results added here.
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Old 25th July 2019, 05:42 PM   #14
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Hi guys,

My apologies in my disappearance! I was on holiday for a couple of weeks and have just got back to reorganising my life! Thank you all so much for your valuable input.

Firstly, Sorry for the image quality and ordering. I haven't had posted at all on the forum so I'm still getting used to the layout and systems used to upload files.

In the case of the Bichaq; the dating from Jens translation is 1809 but the stamp doesn't indicate a specific bladesmith and is more just a general stamp you would expect to see from an ottoman, in this case greek blade? Surely the type of marking indicate some significance? There are many similar yet different types of markings on yataghans and bichaqs but do they have any relation to anything apart from "Ottoman markings ", perhaps even religious?

The Tulwars are interesting in the sense that they have Indian ricassos but european blades, were the blades forged then shipped to India or were ingots of steel shipped where they would then be forged in India? I've heard that due to European blades being cheaper but still high quality they were bulk traded into India. The tulwar which had the sickle markings is also a pattern welded blade. Were europeans able to forge high quality pattern welded blades (I've had people state that shear steel was more common place in european blades)? The sickle markings are also, as Jen mentions in the example he posted, higher on one side than the other. Is there any reason for the asymmetry of the stamps? Surely if you want to convey quality of a blade (or even counterfeiting) you would make them as true to an example as possible? I will retake some images for clarity and showing the asymmetry of the stamps. Is there any reference sources that you could suggest which markings indicate region, manufacturer, date? Also, why is it that Indians had steels such as wootz yet they insisted that european metal was better than the standard metals?

Thank you so much for the information you have shared and effort you have put into researching! Apologise again for the lack of communication, holidays tend to keep you away from the internet! I will be reposting some images for clarity.
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Old 25th July 2019, 05:50 PM   #15
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Also it seems I have to wait in order for posts to be moderated.
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