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Old 18th November 2016, 01:51 PM   #1
Likhari
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Default Carved ivory handles on Indian edged weapons

As this is my first post, at the outset, I must introduce myself. I was born and raised in India but currently reside in the US. I am a descendent of Sikh warriors who were renowned for their sword fighting skills and I cut people daily for a living (as a surgeon); hence my interest in edged weapons.

I have followed this forum for the last few years and have been much impressed by the percipient Rand Milam, the insightful Jens Nordlunde, the erudite Oliver Pinchot, the contentious but always entertaining Ariel Barkan, the resourceful Ibrahiim al Balooshi, and the sagacious Jim McDougall. May they long continue to enlighten us in this our shared passion.

Carved ivory handles are quite common on Persian edged weapons but I have come across several interesting Indian swords and daggers with intricately sculpted handles.

Rober Hales in his gorgeous book Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime’s Passion illustrates several beautiful handles and has one right on the cover.

Here are some examples from the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Prince of Wales Museum in Bombay, Oriental Arms, and my personal collection.
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Old 18th November 2016, 06:07 PM   #2
mariusgmioc
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Welcome to the forum and thank you for the photos!

Never seen a Tulwar hilt made of Ivory. Or is it something else?

The second one doesn't seem to be ivory?!?
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Old 18th November 2016, 06:13 PM   #3
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Default Sword

The finely carved ivory handle on the sword seems to be very dark, the guard also seems darkened. In old collections you sometimes see the use of shellack as a protective covering and over years it can turn very dark. Is there any chance the ivory handle was covered with shellack that has turned dark?

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Old 18th November 2016, 10:46 PM   #4
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Фото 1 имеет много общего с этой темой

Photo 1 has a lot to do with this topic:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=Ariel
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Old 23rd November 2016, 05:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saracen

Photo 1 has a lot to do with this topic:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=Ariel



I think it is a valid and astute comment.

Any thoughts?
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Old 19th November 2016, 12:47 AM   #6
Likhari
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The astute Mr. Milam is right as always !

This sword is in my collection. The handle is indeed ivory and it is covered with shellac that has darkened over the years.
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Old 19th November 2016, 08:26 AM   #7
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NAMASTE
GREETINGS FROM NEW ZEALAND LIKHARI,NICE SWORD,THE NAMES YOU MENTIONED ARE GREAT EXPERTS,I ALWAYS FOLLOW THEM TOO
BEST REGARDS RAJESH
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Old 19th November 2016, 01:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Likhari
The astute Mr. Milam is right as always !

This sword is in my collection. The handle is indeed ivory and it is covered with shellac that has darkened over the years.



Excellent workmanship! Can I see the whole sword please... so I can envy you more?!

The double horse is also yours? What is it?
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Old 19th November 2016, 03:01 PM   #9
Likhari
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Here are some more examples. Some from Sotheby's.

The interesting elephant head handle would of course have been attached to a tulwar blade that would have been used as a sword worn to the royal court instead of a true battle sword as it would be too delicate for any rough use.
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Old 19th November 2016, 03:26 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum Likhari, and thank you for your kind words.

Like Marius mendtions, it would be nice to see, not only details of your weapons, but the whole weapons as well. I fact there is a rule on the forum, that no details should be discussed, before the whole weapon have been shown.
I know the rule is not always followed, but I think it is a good rule.

I have only one dagger with an ivory hilt, with an animal head, and the blade is not Indian, but more likely South Asian. See catalogue pp. 61-62 for further informations.
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Old 19th November 2016, 05:30 PM   #11
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The two horse handle belongs to a sword in the Prince of Wales Museum in Bombay photographed by Moin.

What is very interesting about this sword is the fact that it combines an iconographic representation of Nandaka (The Hindu God Vishnu) on the handle with an etching of what looks like the Ayatul Kursi in Arabic on the blade. Possibly a reuse of the blade but all the same it does show the composite culture of the Indian Subcontinent and represents exactly what makes the study of Arms and Armour so fascinating to me.
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