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Old 20th June 2019, 02:08 AM   #1
RAMBA
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Default Indian Tulwar with Rare Hand Guard

Here I have a Indian Tulwar with a hand guard feature I have not seen often. It has a great balance to it. I was surprised.

Length is 92 cms

Blade to hilt is 79.5 cms

Pommel disk is 6 cms across. Hilt being 17 cms from the tip of the pommel to the tip of the langet.

Good distal taper. Back edge of spine from tip for around 23 cms is as sharp as blade. Tip rounded with age.

Thanks
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Old 20th June 2019, 03:37 AM   #2
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I like these guards very much.
Elgood in his paper about swords from S. India shows several of those and attributes them to Deccan.
One should always remember however lthat blades and handles very, very often came from different areas.
As to the rounded tip: it may not be from age; Indian swordplay practically did not employ stabbing, a lot of Indian swords had their tips not sharp, but rounded just like yours.

Last edited by ariel : 20th June 2019 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 20th June 2019, 07:13 AM   #3
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I am not sure of which 'paper' is meant, but in looking at Elgood's "Hindu Arms and Ritual" it does seem that 'beaded', 'serrated' or 'scalloped' edges on the hilt elements was indeed a feature favored in south India, particularly Mysore.

There was of course the presence of the East India Co. in India through the 18th c. and the Siege of Seringapatam in 1799. After that the Company maintained nominal control and presence there, and there was notable influence in many of the arms.

This hilt seems to have the vertical counterguard (side guard) known also as a single lobe guard (B. Dean, 1929) which was popular in variation on certain British spadroon type officers swords and court swords. The scalloped edge on the pommel disc seems to recall the 'piecrust' tables of English furniture 18thc.
The blade itself resembles British hanger blades on mid 18th c. and indeed, the rounded edge was often seen on European blades for effective slashing cuts.

Possibly this unusual hilt form with this vertical half circle (single lobe) as opposed to the bilobate guards of British small swords of the time, and using the long popular beaded or scalloped motif on edges may reflect those English influences.
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Old 20th June 2019, 08:33 AM   #4
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Hi Ramba

This is a chilanum half-guard.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...hlight=chilanum

Normaly these pieces are attributed to the 17th c.
You have Indian experts on this forum they will tell you more.
Half-guard looks like an European influence?

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Old 20th June 2019, 10:59 AM   #5
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Jim,
I am referring to the “Swords of Deccan”. It is stored in the “Classics” collection here.
I am not sure the half- or full guards were inspired by the European examples. IMHO, these handles combine both Mughal ( Tulwar) and the Hindu ( Khanda-like) elements, kind of syncretic style that had developed in Deccan Sultanates.
And, yes, many Deccani chilanums carry handles of a similar general idea. What’s good for a goose is good for a gander.
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Old 20th June 2019, 02:58 PM   #6
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Thanks Ariel, I had forgotten that excellent work! and you are right, this 'half guard element along with the beading or scalloping (not sure of proper term) seems well known in Deccani edged weapon hilts.
As Kubur has noted, it is seen on 'chilanum' as a 'half guard' as well (illustration added).

I agree with you that the European influence would appear unlikely as this type of guard did not appear until late 18th century, and then in limited instances such as the court swords I mentioned.

In Elgood's article on the Deccan, a khanda of late 16th c. with similar decorative motif as well as a tegha of late 17th, suggest that the style existed there well prior to the European forms I suggested.

It seems the chilanum form, according to the Bijapur manuscript of the 'Nujum al Alam/ (1570) existed at least that early, but of course the frequency of this style decoration or the half guard is unclear.

In the example of chilanum illustrated, the holes along the scalloped edge can be seen also. It appears that as often the case in Indian arms either hilt styles or perhaps actual hilts were often transferred to full size sword blades.
In this case, the 'half guard' element seems amalgamated with a tulwar hilt, primarily a Mughal weapon style.

At the Siege of Adoni (1689) many Deccani weapons were captured and taken by the Mughals, and many ended up in the armory at Junargarh Fort in Bikaner.
Perhaps this tulwar was a product of such joining of styles, recalling the Deccani hilt forms. This example shows remarkable age, but is in iron rather than the brass or yellow metal preferred in Deccan, and as noted, is basically the Indo Persian style tulwar hilt of regions to the north. Obviously there are exceptions, but the Indo Persian tulwar is typically regarded as from north of the Deccan.

It is also tempting, given the character of the blade on this example, to consider that perhaps it may be a German hanger blade of 17th c which were among those traded to Marathas in latter 17th. It does seem to carry similar back fuller style, later imitated by Birmingham swordsmiths from examples they imported in early to mid 18th c.
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Old 20th June 2019, 07:24 PM   #7
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Guys

I'm not sure that Elgood 2011 is the best reference...
I like pdf but i prefer books...
For me the best reference is Elgood 2015 in his Jaipur book
look at pages 128-129 sword kota or bundi
The discussion fits perfectly to the sword posted
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Old 20th June 2019, 09:44 PM   #8
Jens Nordlunde
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Kubur, try Sultans of the South. Arts of Indian's Deccan Courts 1323-1687. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2008. Robert Elgood, Swords in the Deccan in the Sixteenth and Sewenteenth Centuries; Their Manufacture and the Influence of European Imports. Pp. 218-233.
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Old 20th June 2019, 09:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Kubur, try Sultans of the South. Arts of Indian's Deccan Courts 1323-1687. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2008. Robert Elgood, Swords in the Deccan in the Sixteenth and Sewenteenth Centuries; Their Manufacture and the Influence of European Imports. Pp. 218-233.



That’s the one we have in our Classics.
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Old 20th June 2019, 10:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thanks Ariel, I had forgotten that excellent work! and you are right, this 'half guard element along with the beading or scalloping (not sure of proper term) seems well known in Deccani edged weapon hilts.
As Kubur has noted, it is seen on 'chilanum' as a 'half guard' as well (illustration added).

I agree with you that the European influence would appear unlikely as this type of guard did not appear until late 18th century, and then in limited instances such as the court swords I mentioned.

In Elgood's article on the Deccan, a khanda of late 16th c. with similar decorative motif as well as a tegha of late 17th, suggest that the style existed there well prior to the European forms I suggested.

It seems the chilanum form, according to the Bijapur manuscript of the 'Nujum al Alam/ (1570) existed at least that early, but of course the frequency of this style decoration or the half guard is unclear.

In the example of chilanum illustrated, the holes along the scalloped edge can be seen also. It appears that as often the case in Indian arms either hilt styles or perhaps actual hilts were often transferred to full size sword blades.
In this case, the 'half guard' element seems amalgamated with a tulwar hilt, primarily a Mughal weapon style.

At the Siege of Adoni (1689) many Deccani weapons were captured and taken by the Mughals, and many ended up in the armory at Junargarh Fort in Bikaner.
Perhaps this tulwar was a product of such joining of styles, recalling the Deccani hilt forms. This example shows remarkable age, but is in iron rather than the brass or yellow metal preferred in Deccan, and as noted, is basically the Indo Persian style tulwar hilt of regions to the north. Obviously there are exceptions, but the Indo Persian tulwar is typically regarded as from north of the Deccan.

It is also tempting, given the character of the blade on this example, to consider that perhaps it may be a German hanger blade of 17th c which were among those traded to Marathas in latter 17th. It does seem to carry similar back fuller style, later imitated by Birmingham swordsmiths from examples they imported in early to mid 18th c.


Very very interesting - I note that the blade does not have a ricassso. Which it should as has been previously suggested to me with Indian made blades. The blade is thin flexible and light. I assume when you say 17th C you mean 1600s - 1700? Not 1700s.

This is all very interesting.
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Old 20th June 2019, 11:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAMBA
Very very interesting - I note that the blade does not have a ricassso. Which it should as has been previously suggested to me with Indian made blades. The blade is thin flexible and light. I assume when you say 17th C you mean 1600s - 1700? Not 1700s.

This is all very interesting.



17th century in our parlance means 1600s.
The blade as noted is likely to have been one of the German blades which were traded into India in latter 1600s, and into 1700s. The article by Robert Elgood as noted in previous posts is superb and will give you great insight to those circumstances.
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Old 21st June 2019, 06:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Kubur, try Sultans of the South. Arts of Indian's Deccan Courts 1323-1687. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2008. Robert Elgood, Swords in the Deccan in the Sixteenth and Sewenteenth Centuries; Their Manufacture and the Influence of European Imports. Pp. 218-233.


Hi Jens,
Yes I mentionned it and I think your date is no correct, it's 2011.
For the other members who don't have access to the reference that i mentionned, i scanned the pages.
Ramba it might be interesting for you...
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Old 21st June 2019, 06:37 AM   #13
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the other pages
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Old 21st June 2019, 08:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
the other pages


Thanks Kubur - this makes it all very interesting - This is why one posts these things up to get a good discussion going. I do see the similar styles here.
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Old 21st June 2019, 08:57 AM   #15
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I have uploaded some more images.
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Old 21st June 2019, 10:21 AM   #16
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Regarding guard additions and perforations I share two I've had with those features (hopefully I can attach the photos correctly):
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Old 23rd June 2019, 11:46 AM   #17
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The half guard is not found to often,i always felt that it was a transitional variation
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Old 23rd June 2019, 12:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward F
The half guard is not found to often,i always felt that it was a transitional variation



Hi Edward,
That is a most reasonable observation, but in many ethnographic forms, especially in India, there is typically not a linear progression in hilt development, or at least that can be defined accurately.

Most weapon forms are very traditional, and take from early types, but often with subtle and often very regional or sometimes personal preference features. The 'tulwar' (with 'Indo Persian' hilt) for example, often has certain features which some have tried to characterize regionally, or into periods, but this has proven mostly futile. In most cases such things are accomplished by looking into decoration aspects.

In the case of these half guards, it would seem as has been shown, that there was certain favor toward these kinds of hilt elements which were seen on some of the 'chilanum' type daggers. It is not uncommon to see such transfer of dagger hilt styles (invariably personal) to full size swords in cases to more personalize them as well.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that in India, variation was not unusual with traditional hilt forms which were in use for centuries with no notable changes in a progressive style overall. That is perhaps what is so exciting and challenging about identifying them.
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Old 23rd June 2019, 04:37 PM   #19
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Does this show a timeline on hilts,Maybe I think in the early swords you can see changes over 2 or 3 hundred years.depending on the type of use the sword would have the hilt would change.Their are not that many half guard swords around so they may have come from a single area or just made for very few that wanted half guard protection or the just didn't the the rub of full guard on their hip.
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Old 23rd June 2019, 07:44 PM   #20
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I agree with Jim: there were 2 main tendencies with Indian handles: one purely local/tribal, and we indeed have major difficulties pinpointing their places of origin, and another, with merging of local variants with influences from another culture. IMHO, Tulwar with a side guard belongs to the latter. I have some of those, too. Again, pure IMHO, the most logical place for such collision would be Deccan.

Your archaic ones likely belong to the third group that is almost unique and where Rawson might have been correct: local progression of Old Indian into full-blown Khanda form. The D- guard of the latter was likely influenced by the European examples, but the solid shield-like guard might have been a completion of the archaic double-wing construction

I an skating on a very, very thin ice here, but the advantage of this Forum is our ability to express half-baked preliminary ideas and adjust them according to critical comments. Our entries here are not a real book, where everything needs to be researched to the minute comma.
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Old 24th June 2019, 03:05 AM   #21
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Very well said Ariel, and thank you.

In the photos you have shown Edward, the first two are what are regarded as 'ancient' forms of 'khanda' which correspond to forms seen in iconographic sources, and existed in a spectrum of similar forms over many centuries.
The 'winged' guard as described was a commonly known feature.

In the next photo (left) is the tulwar of discussion, which has the raised half guard and seems plausibly influenced by such features found on some 'chilanum' daggers, a knife typically regarded as Deccani. This broad area of influence covers roughly the entire central band of the Subcontinent. These broad regions are most dynamic through diversity of cultures, religious and tribal, as well as the incursion of foreign trade and colonial factions.

Next (right) is the 'Hindu basket hilt' which is essentially a khanda which derives from the ancient form, but is believed to have the wide guard extended to complete a hand guard up to the pommel. This is generally held to have evolved from European influence post 1600 and with Marathas, filtering into Rajput and Sikh use as well.

Next is another of these. Then another of the 'ancient' indiginous khanda forms.

The next two are tulwars (Indo Persian hilt) the one on the left is Mughal and open hilt, which I personally regard as 'court' type weapons, usually highly decorated and with no extended guarded hilt features. Naturally there is nothing to preclude actual combat use or other........but Rajput and Sikh used usually hand guard forms.
These are seen on the right photo.

It was once declared in Stone (1934) that the katar (transverse grip) puch dagger was an exclusively Hindu weapon. That assessment was quickly discounted by the many Mughal examples known.

Your note on personal preferences due to issues with some hilt features for on reason or another is certainly a matter of incidence, but not a cause for alteration of a hilt feature in general. These kinds of things took place in European settings with some military sword types (British 1796 disc hilts cut down due to uniform chafing), but Indian weaponry was hardly regulation, and varied in often wide degree.

As Ariel has well noted, here we are a discussion forum, and we are free to express ideas, observations, and examination of examples where we all expect critical comments. Quite frankly I much appreciate your open expression and thought through comments, and always appreciate anyone ready to take on the daunting challenges of classifying Indian arms.
We are all learning together, and helping each other do so.
Thanks for the great input.
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Old 24th June 2019, 12:53 PM   #22
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Some similarity/influence in the pierced and beaded guard type on this 17th C Khanda.

Early Hindu Khanda
17th century
Patissa, India
Very rare sword type
Pierced guard

C - Swords and Antique Weapons - Gavin Nugent.
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Old 28th June 2019, 08:02 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAMBA
I have uploaded some more images.

Just a side note, that could very well be a patterned blade, welded or better. Hilts such as these tended to be favoured by the upper classes and tended to have better blades than most. I have a very similar one with a copper dome similar to that of a pulwar that sits atop its semi-basket hilt. Would interest me to know why that is even there, I'll post pictures...eventually. First post, so still getting used to the etiquette
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Old 1st July 2019, 12:35 PM   #24
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Here is another Patissa. Western India. Probably late 15th century. Total length 100 cm, blade length 89 cm. See cat. pp. 350-353.
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Old 1st July 2019, 09:43 PM   #25
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Here is another picture.
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