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Old 3rd October 2019, 11:20 AM   #1
AHorsa
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Default 3 Pulwars

Hi There,

I just acquired these three Pulwars. But it is actually not my field of collection, so I would be very happy if one can help me with them.
The overall-lengths are 93cm, 87cm and 73cm for the small one.
The middle on has an inscription on the blade, which is not readable and also I do not get it on an image clearly.

Is it possible to date them?
And are they all from Afghanistan or also from India?

Looking forward to your feedback.

Thanks and best regards
Andreas
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Old 3rd October 2019, 01:15 PM   #2
ariel
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Honest munition grade examples. Blades are likely Indian trade, the decorations by the hilt were likely made locally.

I would polish their spines close to the hilt: if you find a longitudinal seam(“crack”), that may indicate wootz blade. Then, polishing and etching the entire blade would be justified.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 01:47 PM   #3
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Of course, these items are from Afghanistan. It’s not entirely clear to me why Ariel decided that the blades were “Indian trade”. But perhaps he will explain his point of view in the following posts. The presence of "ricasso" in this case cannot be a decisive attribute relating the blade to India.
In my humble opinion, blades may be of local origin. Because in Afghanistan there were many masters who made blades (by the way, including Indian masters). I will assume (I am focusing on handles Pulwars) that these Pulwars were made in the second half - late 19th century.
I agree that you need polish their spines close to the hilt. But I think that this applies only to the lower Pulwar. Although perhaps Ariel will show wootz blades of such form and decor as your first two (Unfortunately, I cannot recall such examples. But, Ariel has much more experience.).
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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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Old 3rd October 2019, 03:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
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?


Jim, it is absolutely known that in Herat and Kabul there were private workshops producing edged weapons (blades). This was written by English officers in their memoirs. Most of these workshops in Kabul at the end of the 19th century were included in the Mashin Khan factory in Kabul and produced edged weapons for the army.

Of course, a significant part of the blades (and the sabers itself) came from India and Persia. But this did not stop the Afghans themselves from making blades.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 04:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Jim, it is absolutely known that in Herat and Kabul there were private workshops producing edged weapons (blades). This was written by English officers in their memoirs. Most of these workshops in Kabul at the end of the 19th century were included in the Mashin Khan factory in Kabul and produced edged weapons for the army.

Of course, a significant part of the blades (and the sabers itself) came from India and Persia. But this did not stop the Afghans themselves from making blades.



Thanks very much Dima, I do recall of course that many workshops were in the Mashin Khana factory complex in Kabul, but was unclear on their production of blades beyond the military ones. It stands to reason there were numbers of individual makers in native regions, its just that it does not seem widely known.
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