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Old 20th June 2019, 01:08 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, 02:37 AM   #2
ariel
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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 02:57 AM.
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Old 20th June 2019, 06:13 AM   #3
Jim McDougall
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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, 07:33 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, 09:59 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, 01:58 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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Last edited by Jim McDougall : 20th June 2019 at 02:09 PM.
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