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Old 13th April 2016, 06:12 AM   #1
Panzerraptor
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Default Kora

Hello again. I'm back and I'd like to share a new acquisition that I managed to obtain just yesterday: the unique sacrificial blade - the Kora. This is the fourth sword to my collection.

I guess I could get into a little backstory, which is a bit fun. Last month, I was browsing the net and I found myself on an auction site. Feeling bored, but a bit adventurous, I found a listing featuring a listing for a "Indo-Persian Sword with Two Shields" with the starting bid at about 10 GBP. After about a couple of days, the final price was 110 GBP, and guess who has two thumbs and won that lot. This guy!lol Anyway, after week of playing the waiting game with the auctioneer and another couple weeks waiting for validation with the shipping company, I managed to get the two swords and the kora at such a low price, I feel like I made off like a bandit!lol So I left the shields in the box still wrapped and have the kora on my wall in all its glory.

Anyway, enough of my gloating, onto the main point. The kora I obtained is roughly twenty-seven inches in length with a sharp curve at the end and a flange. This signature feature is clearly a sign that the weapon in my possession was most likely created for ceremonial purposes as, from what I understand, the versions used for battle were thinner, lighter, and had a smaller flange and curve. There is some light decoration along the blade with a sun with either a gold/brass central face and a war god on opposing sides of the flange and then figures within squares near the hilt of the sword (one of which covered in gold or brass). Speaking of the hilt, this kora's grip has a strange configuration. From what I've seen, kora hilts usually have a pair of disc shaped plates on opposing sides of the leather wrapped handle or at least a simple hand guard. However, this specimen has a metal hilt with balled ends on the crossguard and a remnant of a spike at below the familiar bottom disc. Perhaps this sword is a hybrid carrying a simplified khanda grip?

Anyway, I'm guessing this Kora is either 18th or 19th Century and hailing from Nepal based on the accompanying shields. Of course, I'm not entirely sure if that's the case. Can anyone help me assess this beautiful sword?
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Old 13th April 2016, 09:07 AM   #2
Timo Nieminen
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It's an Indian tulwar hilt. Sometimes one sees these hilts on Nepali weapons.

In this case, I think it's Bengali. Some past discussion of these:
http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?p=56083
... and I've seen similar elsewhere described as Bengali. If you google for "tulwar kora", you should a fair number of examples.
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Old 13th April 2016, 06:00 PM   #3
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Definitely Indian.
Miguel
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Old 13th April 2016, 06:52 PM   #4
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Congratulation for the brilliant acquisition!
Now that's a bargain!

Both shields and sword seem to be Indian to me.
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Old 14th April 2016, 08:40 PM   #5
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So is there anything I need to know about maintaining this sword? I use mineral oil and a good towel to clean my swords every couple of weeks or so.
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Old 17th April 2016, 10:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Congratulation for the brilliant acquisition!
Now that's a bargain!

Both shields and sword seem to be Indian to me.


So few authentic items that we congratulate the other participants with the items that were made in the late 19th - early 20th centuries as souvenirs for the Europeans?
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Old 17th April 2016, 10:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
So few authentic items that we congratulate the other participants with the items that were made in the late 19th - early 20th centuries as souvenirs for the Europeans?



Hmmm... you might be right...
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Old 17th April 2016, 11:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
So few authentic items that we congratulate the other participants with the items that were made in the late 19th - early 20th centuries as souvenirs for the Europeans?


Why the sarcasm?

A Forumite showed pics, honestly described the story and politely requested help.

A condescending snark was not asked for and was not deserved.

Last edited by ariel : 17th April 2016 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 17th April 2016, 12:06 PM   #9
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Panzerraptor,
These items date from the end of 19 to the beginning of 20 century. They are ceremonial. They might have been produced as tourist items, but Oliver Pinchot in his book of the late R. Wagner collection had shown a khanda with very similar decorations. In his comment, items of such decorative abundance were produced for the Dehli durbars ( 1877,1903,1911), all-India assemblies at the coronations of British Kings, them being also The Emperors of India. Every Rajah brought a retinue armed to the teeth with very "show-y" weapons. Theatrical? Historical? Depends on the point of view of a collector.

Unless you are specifically interested in the battle-proven weapons, these shields and kora reflect prevailing trends in Indian arms culture of that time.
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Old 17th April 2016, 05:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Why the sarcasm?

A Forumite showed pics, honestly described the story and politely requested help.

A condescending snark was not asked for and was not deserved.



My question (in any case not sarcasm) was not addressed to the author of the topic. My question to participants who began to admire an item that is a souvenir.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
These items date from the end of 19 to the beginning of 20 century. They are ceremonial. They might have been produced as tourist items, but Oliver Pinchot in his book of the late R. Wagner collection had shown a khanda with very similar decorations. In his comment, items of such decorative abundance were produced for the Dehli durbars ( 1877,1903,1911), all-India assemblies at the coronations of British Kings, them being also The Emperors of India. Every Rajah brought a retinue armed to the teeth with very "show-y" weapons. Theatrical? Historical? Depends on the point of view of a collector.

Unless you are specifically interested in the battle-proven weapons, these shields and kora reflect prevailing trends in Indian arms culture of that time.


I'm surprised how can compare the elegant sword from the collection of Wagner and rough souvenir sword that we are discussing.
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Old 17th April 2016, 06:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
My question (in any case not sarcasm) was not addressed to the author of the topic. My question to participants who began to admire an item that is a souvenir.



I'm surprised how can compare the elegant sword from the collection of Wagner and rough souvenir sword that we are discussing.


You find these crudely decorated weapons made with flat sheet type metal in the way of swords, daggers and axe heads etc.
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Old 17th April 2016, 06:10 PM   #12
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Erroneously I mentioned khanda. Sorry.
I meant # 4-21.
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Old 17th April 2016, 06:50 PM   #13
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Tegha number 4-21, a little closer to the subject under discussion.
But:
1) and it is much more elegant, than the subject discussion.
2) I would love to see photos of the Hindu with such Tegha in the Durbar.

And in Book can write anything you like In Russia we have a saying: "Paper endure all" .... I prefer facts rather than captions for pictures in the album for a coffee table.

Last edited by mahratt : 17th April 2016 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 17th April 2016, 07:31 PM   #14
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I wish there were more "coffee table albums" like that...

I tend to respect Oliver Pinchot's opinions. Obviously you do not. To each his own. Pity you cannot comprehend his wise and nuanced insights: you might have changed your mind.
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Old 17th April 2016, 07:58 PM   #15
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Again, I see only the words ... No photo Hindu on Durbar with the same sword..... But I'm not surprised)))
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Old 17th April 2016, 08:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Again, I see only the words ... No photo Hindu on Durbar with the same sword..... But I'm not surprised)))


Folks, what else can I say?
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Old 17th April 2016, 08:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
I wish there were more "coffee table albums" like that...

I tend to respect Oliver Pinchot's opinions. Obviously you do not. To each his own. Pity you cannot comprehend his wise and nuanced insights: you might have changed your mind.



Very well said Ariel!!! and I am with you 150% re: Oliver !!!
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Old 17th April 2016, 08:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Erroneously I mentioned khanda. Sorry.
I meant # 4-21.
Is there a picture of this one?
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Old 17th April 2016, 09:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Is there a picture of this one?


Here is the this sword.
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Old 17th April 2016, 09:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Very well said Ariel!!! and I am with you 150% re: Oliver !!!


Jim, that's fine - trust people! I repeat to you the question that asked ariel (ariel not answer). You know Durbar photo, for example, in Delhi, which has a similar sword?
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Old 17th April 2016, 11:25 PM   #21
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Just to make sure, my weapon is likely a 19th Century Indian kora/tulwar hybrid crafted for royals? Sounds awesome! I figured that this weapon was ceremonial based on the design and flange size, but I wasn't sure where it was from or who could've actually used it. Also, I forgot to mention that this item still has an edge along the inner curve.

Also, I think I've seen that kind of tegha before. A month or so before, a similar specimen had been circulating around some auction sites and eBay. Though when it was listed, I wasn't sure it was the real deal. Maybe I should take it seriously the next time it ever shows up.

Anyway, about cleaning it. Is there a specific way of doing it for this sword other than the usual mineral oil/paper towel method? Also, are the colored portions of this sword brass or gold?
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Old 18th April 2016, 03:35 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzerraptor
Just to make sure, my weapon is likely a 19th Century Indian kora/tulwar hybrid crafted for royals? Sounds awesome! I figured that this weapon was ceremonial based on the design and flange size, but I wasn't sure where it was from or who could've actually used it. Also, I forgot to mention that this item still has an edge along the inner curve.

Also, I think I've seen that kind of tegha before. A month or so before, a similar specimen had been circulating around some auction sites and eBay. Though when it was listed, I wasn't sure it was the real deal. Maybe I should take it seriously the next time it ever shows up.

Anyway, about cleaning it. Is there a specific way of doing it for this sword other than the usual mineral oil/paper towel method? Also, are the colored portions of this sword brass or gold?


I probably bad writing in English This sword (Kora) - a souvenir of the late 19th - early 20th century for Europeans. And a souvenir of poor quality. yellow metal on the blade - brass.

And the question to all participants. Guys, anyone of you has a picture Durbar Square, where there are people with sword-Kora?

I will be happy to see such a photo.

Last edited by mahratt : 18th April 2016 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 18th April 2016, 09:25 AM   #23
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The hilt type on the Khunda in your original post Panzerraptor, is not uncommon in Nepal on their swords, but rarer on their Khunda
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Old 18th April 2016, 09:51 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzerraptor
Just to make sure, my weapon is likely a 19th Century Indian kora/tulwar hybrid crafted for royals? Sounds awesome! I figured that this weapon was ceremonial based on the design and flange size, but I wasn't sure where it was from or who could've actually used it. Also, I forgot to mention that this item still has an edge along the inner curve.


Well, let's not exaggerate:-)
This is a ceremonial weapon 19-20 century, but the purpose of its creation is unknown. More likely it is a purely decorative piece, although the style of decoration is of the pattern that was thought to be used for arming retinues of Rajahs attending Delhi Durbars in an attempt to look colorful and lavish.

That was exactly what I wrote in post #9. Weapons cannot talk and the individual stories of them cannot be known . That's why we cannot be categorical and insist on our version of their origin and purpose. Stating with certainty that it is a cheap souvenir is just as incorrect as claiming that it was produced for a particular celebration and searching for positive or negative evidence. As was said, buy the weapon, not the story:-))
And I agree with Timo: more likely Bengal.
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Old 18th April 2016, 11:29 AM   #25
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Unfortunately, no one can prove to you that this is a ceremonial weapon. Because no evidence of this - no. You will not find any one pictures of India, where the ceremony would be with such swords))) Books that are written dealers or to assist in the implementation of the collection - it is not the best source of knowledge .... And if there is no evidence that it is the sword for the ceremony, it turns out that it is a souvenir sword.

Always nice to believe that you have in your collection "ceremonial sword", and not old souvenir. But the truth is that the this sword - this souvenir

Dont be upset. We all (with few exceptions) at the beginning of the formation of its collections made similar mistakes.

Last edited by mahratt : 18th April 2016 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 27th April 2016, 01:29 AM   #26
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I'm with Mahratt, I like to see supporting examples whenever possible.

This photo is from a 1903 edition of National Geographic, commemorating the Delhi Durbar held in that year, which celebrated the accession of Edward VII. In the photo is a no-nonsense character in fanciful armor (some of it repurposed from an elephant armor) holding a massive sword of the sort someone pictured above; although it is sheathed, the type can be determined from its size and shape. I no longer have a hard copy of that NG, but I am sure that someone who has the time to do so can find it online. There was a later reissue of the photo in the 1930s or 40s that was colored. Both refer to "The Executioner" in the title, but it looks to me like a posed photo designed strictly to awe European guests.

Delhi Durbar weapons are usually very well made, but not always. Some were actually carried or worn to the Durbar itself by the nobility. Others were carried by lesser attendees. And still others were offered for sale to guests to commemorate their visit, either in the bazaars or hotels; the range of quality from one to the next is enormous.
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Old 27th April 2016, 03:38 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot
I'm with Mahratt, I like to see supporting examples whenever possible.


This famous photo. Unfortunately, the sword in the scabbard, and we can not say how this sword looks. I think it looks like this:
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Old 27th April 2016, 03:42 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot
And still others were offered for sale to guests to commemorate their visit, either in the bazaars or hotels; the range of quality from one to the next is enormous.


That is what we now call - souvenirs?
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Old 27th April 2016, 11:46 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot

Delhi Durbar weapons are usually very well made, but not always. Some were actually carried or worn to the Durbar itself by the nobility. Others were carried by lesser attendees. And still others were offered for sale to guests to commemorate their visit, either in the bazaars or hotels; the range of quality from one to the next is enormous.


Oliver,

No arguments about it.
But calling the "for sale" items "souvenirs" would not be correct, IMHO.
Any item connected with an historical event acquires special aura and meaning.


A lavishly illustrated booklet sold to the visitors to the Statue of Liberty is a souvenir. A genuine official programme of the unveiling ceremony of the same Statue of Liberty is a true antique object worth collecting ( I recently saw it being bought by Rick from the "Pawn Stars" for several hundred bucks:-)))

Thus, if one could provenance the Kora in question to the actual Durbar event, it would be a worthwhile collector's item.
Unfortunately, we cannot. However, we also cannot dismiss such a possibility. And that was the entire gist of my comment to the current owner.


I really do not think that this forum needs sarcastic and supercilious snarks addressed to the novices who are genuinely seeking information.

Last edited by ariel : 27th April 2016 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 27th April 2016, 06:31 PM   #30
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I really like the stories that are concoct (because they have no real evidence)

What for is encouraging new participants in the forum, telling them beautiful legends? Does anyone have some real evidence that this bark, as we are discussing here, used to Durbar? Or at least it was prepared to Durbar? I'll be glad to see such evidence.
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