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Old 7th May 2014, 04:55 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default Interesting Tulwar Sword With Ottoman Turkish Blade

Many of you that have known me over the years know that I LOVE blades that show cross cultural influences from the infinite possibilities that came with the diverse Islamic trade routes.

Here is one I have just acquired that is both of great quality and quite unique.

Here we have a heavy, double knuckle guard tulwar hilt set with a clearly Ottoman blade of "kilij" or "pala" form forged of Ottoman pattern welded steel in a fashion known as "Turkish Ribbon". The blade has an inscription in English reading "Baroda State" with a European style monogram. This is clearly no randomly put together piece, with great thought going into the fit and size of the hilt in relationship to the blade and balance. It is clear it has all been together with its original (and very worn) scabbard for some time.

The history of the Baroda State(present day Vadodara) is very interesting...a part of Gujarat, once independent from the Moghuls, the state kept a close and friendly relationship with the British. In some cases, like education, etc. the state seems to have tried to "out British the British", clearly heavily influenced by them. Their partially Persian made navy was even allied with the British in several engagements.

Though majority Hindu, Baroda State seems to have been very tolerant religiously, clearly trading with the Muslim world and the British among others. This sword would clearly show the influence of such trade.

I bought this blade not sure if it had a pattern or not, as it was polished bright...but I had a suspicion that it did. I tried to etch it myself only to watch the clear Turkish ribbon pattern fade out before my eyes. Knowing it needed a professional's touch, I sent it to Philip Tom for a little "magic and special recipes". The pattern came out in brownish tint, but stayed put, not fading out. I have seen other Turkish ribbon blades that show this same brownish hue, but clearly define the pattern.

Dimensions:

Overall length: 34in.
Blade length: 29.5in.
Widest point of the blade at the base of the yelman: 2in.

Comments or additional info is, naturally, welcomed!
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Last edited by CharlesS : 7th May 2014 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 7th May 2014, 05:22 PM   #2
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Many of you that have known me over the years know that I LOVE blades that show cross cultural influences from the infinite possibilities that came with the diverse Islamic trade routes.

Here is one I have just acquired that is both of great quality and quite unique.

Here we have a heavy, double knuckle guard tulwar hilt set with a clearly Ottoman blade of "kilij" or "pala" form forged of Ottoman twistcore steel in a fashion known as "Turkish Ribbon". The blade has an inscription in English reading "Baroda State" with a European style monogram. This is clearly no randomly put together piece, with great thought going into the fit and size of the hilt in relationship to the blade and balance. It is clear it has all been together with its original (and very worn) scabbard for some time.

The history of the Baroda State(present day Vadodara) is very interesting...a part of Gujarat, once independent from the Moghuls, the state kept a close and friendly relationship with the British. In some cases, like education, etc. the state seems to have tried to "out British the British", clearly heavily influenced by them. Their partially Persian made navy was even allied with the British in several engagements.

Though majority Hindu, Baroda State seems to have been very tolerant religiously, clearly trading with the Muslim world and the British among others. This sword would clearly show the influence of such trade.

I bought this blade not sure if it had a pattern or not, as it was polished bright...but I had a suspicion that it did. I tried to etch it myself only to watch the clear Turkish ribbon pattern fade out before my eyes. Knowing it needed a professional's touch, I sent it to Philip Tom for a little "magic and special recipes". The pattern came out in brownish tint, but stayed put, not fading out. I have seen other Turkish ribbon blades that show this same brownish hue, but clearly define the pattern.

Dimensions:

Overall length: 34in.
Blade length: 29.5in.
Widest point of the blade at the base of the yelman: 2in.

Comments or additional info is, naturally, welcomed!




Salaams.... Just while I get into this post~ heres a reference on Library http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=16083
Whilst searching I also came up with an interesting write up at http://sengars.wordpress.com/2014/0...lhausi-thikana/ though Im not sure Im onto the exact region yet??....the swords look great !

To really understand where it is I have to say(in my ignorance) I had to have a map and I had no idea about the region... here it is...from wikepedia

Quote"Vadodara, also known as Baroda, is the third largest city in the Indian State of Gujarat, after Ahmedabad and Surat. It is the administrative headquarters of Vadodara District. It is located on the banks of the Vishwamitri river, southeast of Ahmedabad, 139 km from state capital, Gandhinagar. Both the railway line and national highway connecting Delhi and Mumbai pass through Vadodara.

Vadodara has a population of almost 1.6 million people (as of 2005). It is the site of the Lakshmi Vilas Palace belonging to the royal Gaekwad dynasty of the Marathas. It is also the home of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, which is the largest university in Gujarat".Unquote.

For the rest of the amazing detail kindly see Wikepedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vadodara

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 7th May 2014 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 7th May 2014, 05:42 PM   #3
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Ibrahim,

Am I missing something? While enjoying both the link to the thread and the article, I am not sure how either is pertinent to the Baroda State sword.

Perhaps I missed something in the links?
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Old 7th May 2014, 06:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Ibrahim,

Am I missing something? While enjoying both the link to the thread and the article, I am not sure how either is pertinent to the Baroda State sword.

Perhaps I missed something in the links?


Salaams Well Charles...you may be...there is a map showing where it is.... and a couple of embellishments like... a similar sword...and I was going to drum up a Baroda Stamp...and since most people never heard of Baroda possibly a short history no? and you did state at the end of your post...

Comments or additional info is, naturally, welcomed! So I did...but it wasn't.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 7th May 2014, 06:35 PM   #5
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Ibrahim,

Thanks for your input minus the 'snark'. Of course comments of a pertinent nature are welcomed, I just didn't see what those two threads have to do with the original one, or how they are related at all.

BTW, you ADDED/EDITED IN the map and info on the state AFTER your last post.

I welcome you to add anything regarding Baroda that has not already been mentioned, or certainly anything regarding the sword or others pertinent to it. I do hope you will not simply 'cut and paste' Wikipedia articles or the like.

The thread was not designed to be controversial, just trying to share my passion for cross cultural blades.

Last edited by CharlesS : 7th May 2014 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 7th May 2014, 07:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Ibrahim,

Thanks for your input minus the 'snark'. Of course comments of a pertinent nature are welcomed, I just didn't see what those two threads have to do with the original one, or how they are related at all.

BTW, you added the map AFTER your last post.

I welcome you to add anything regarding Baroda that has not already been mentioned, or certainly anything regarding the swords or others pertinent to it. I do hope you will not simply 'cut and paste' Wikipedia articles or the like.

The thread was not designed to be controversial, just trying to share my passion for cross cultural blades.


Salaams What is a snark...? some sort of acidic remark perhaps...? Cut and paste is often the best way to explain quickly to people what is going on instead of assuming everyone knows the place is now called Vadodora... I certainly didnt... and if you read my post it did say I was still working on it... so perhaps before jumping in you may have held off for a while while it developed...Anyway ...lets put the snarks aside shall we?... and fill the thread with detail about your great sword... over to you.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 7th May 2014, 09:18 PM   #7
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Actually I have heard the name Baroda many times over the years, mostly with reference to British Raj oriented references from administrative perspective, and honestly never new exactly where it was. I must admit I appreciated the material added Ibrahiim, and also admit that Wikipedia has become sort of a first hit source for me as well. Once I have read whatever material is there I can use it as a benchmark to pursue further as required.

I am constantly amazed that so many people simply don't look things up.so really this data just saved a step for me, and provided data those others would typically not seek.

This tulwar truly is amazing so I also hope we will focus on that. The blade is not only unusual in being a pala blade, and the polish achieved by Philip as always well illustrates why he is a legend with his masterful work .

The hilt also appears to be a superb example of 'bidri' work, with the dramatic dark background and silver.
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Old 7th May 2014, 09:58 PM   #8
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Lovely sword Charles!! ~10 twist rods?

Hi Jim, I thought of Hyderabad when I saw the bidri handle. The Nizams of Hyderabad had strong links with the Ottoman court so maybe a connection there.

This hilt is spectacular though, with very heavy and thick application of silver. I don't recall seeing anything of this type in Hyderabad, usually the silver is not so raised and not so thickly applied.

Emanuel
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Old 7th May 2014, 11:54 PM   #9
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Good point Emanuel! there were indeed strong Ottoman influences in the Mughal Sultanates. If I understand correctly even the shape of the quillon terminals in the rounded end on the familiar Indo-Persian tulwar hilts are Ottoman inspired.
I think Jens has probably the best knowledge of the Bidri work, and though I think it was Rajasthan regional style originally, it became of course more widely seen eventually.

I'm curious about why the Baroda seal or device is etched into the blade. Perhaps this was a diplomatic presentation to an influential individual?
It seems to me there were a good number of British businesses and concerns there and if memory serves there were even swords on British M1853 pattern made by a firm called Rodwell & Co there. I believe these large businesses maintained their own police and security forces, as was apparently a circumstance in many of the provincial areas.
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Old 8th May 2014, 02:52 PM   #10
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Beautiful sword Charles, nice to have an Indian marking on a (sunning) Turkish blade as well.

Your post coincides with some research I am doing in regards to the relationships with India and Turkey. Namely Hyderabad Royalty marrying Turkish royalty.

Pictured below is an image from the national Portrait Gallery, London. Pictured is Nawab Azam Jah, Prince of Berar (1907-1970), Son of the Nizam of Hyderabad, his wife, Princess Durruhsehvar, Princess of Berar (1914-2006), and the Princesses father, Caliph Abdulmecid Khan II of Turkey (1868-1944).

A friend recently told me about another recent Hyderabad/Turkish Royal marriage, but I am yet to chase that lead up.

Hope that is of some interest.

Kind Regards,
Runjeet


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Old 8th May 2014, 03:15 PM   #11
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Interesting stuff Runjeet, and that is some suit the prince is wearing!!

This certainly coincides with some earlier comments.
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Old 8th May 2014, 04:09 PM   #12
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Its an interesting sword you have, and worth researching.
Jim is right, the hilt is Rajasthani, but the decoration has nothing to do with Bidri work.
Susan Stronge: Bidri Ware, inlaid metalwork from India. Victoria and Albert Museum 1985.
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Old 8th May 2014, 04:10 PM   #13
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Hello,

Jim, I believe bidriware originated in Bidar, on the border of modern day Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It would have been part of the Nizam's Hyderabad State.

Runjeet, when I was in Hyderabad I heard that the Ottoman Sultan had high hopes at the turn of the 20th century for the marriages with the Nizam's family as it would provide access to enormous wealth to fund the Empire's modernization and renewal. For context, the 8th Nizam's fortune was estimated at ~$200 billion in the 1960s, making him something like the 6th richest man in history.

Similarly, the Nizams wanted the link to the Empire and the Sultanate, before its abolishment.

I do recall seeing Ottoman kilij in the Nizam's arms collection
.

Charles, I don't know how this ties into Baroda State and I don't want to push the Hyderabad angle too much if it's a dead end, but it illustrates India's ready access to Ottoman blades.

Emanuel
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Old 8th May 2014, 07:30 PM   #14
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Thanks guys, and Jens thank you for the correction on the bidri suggestion.
I have always had problems in understanding some of these processes and metallurgy etc. Actually I thought that the bidri process was alternate to koftgari as it was black against silver as opposed to koftgari being gold.

I find that in the Wiki entry it is an blackened alloy of zinc and copper where patterns are carved into the darkened metal and silver in inlaid by being hammered into the grooves carved by stylus. Apparantly the soil indigenous to regions around Bidar (where the technique originated in 13th c.) is mixed with ammonium chloride leaving the bright silver against a matte black background.

It has been mentioned to me that in the case of this hilt, it is silver koftgari, not Bidri work .

I understand that koftari is gold metal hammered into grooves , but bidri is silver hammered into grooves.

Is there some better explanation as to what the differences are? If bidri is silver against black background and silver koftgari is silver over a black background, what is different?

Emanuel, as you have well noted, the presence of Ottoman influence was prevalent in Mughal courts, and diplomatically oriented arms must have certainly been well known. What is most interesting is this thoroughly British seal added to this remarkable blade.
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Old 8th May 2014, 09:43 PM   #15
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Hi Jim,
Have a look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidriware
In any way the hilt is not decorated in Bidri - no way. Come to think of it, I cant remember to have seen a tulwar hilt decorated in Bidri.
Could be that I have not seen enough tulwar hilts.
Best
Jens
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Old 8th May 2014, 10:36 PM   #16
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Hi Jens,
That was exactly the reference I looked at. So then this is not bidri work on this hilt nor does it occur on hilts especially tulwars.......and this would be 'silver koftgari'? If you have not seen bidri on tulwars.....then that is the final word as far as I'm concerned.......nobody knows tulwars like you do!!!

It sounds like the difference between bidri and silver koftgari is similar to that of tom-ay-toe and tom-ah-toe, but as I note, these particulars are outside my field.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 9th May 2014, 12:06 AM   #17
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So it is koftgari, that explains the thick raised look of the silver.

Jens and Jim, you've forgotten this tulwar with bidri handle.

There were a few in the Chowmahalla Palace collection.

Emanuel
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Old 9th May 2014, 12:53 PM   #18
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Emanuel,
Yes I had forgotten your old thread, but in the time gpne I have learned a thing or two, and I dont think your hilt is bidri.
Jens
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Old 9th May 2014, 01:03 PM   #19
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Bidri is the black alloy, Bidriware is decorated bidri. This is normally done by inlaying silver gold or brass. To do this you need to cut into the bidri and force the decorative metal into the depression. Most bidriware is polished so that the surface of the bidri and the inlay are flush, but I understand Lucknow and Poona made bidriware where the inlay stood proud. I believe bidri hilts are out there but it is quite brittle and hence such hilts would be decorative only.
Koftgari is gold or silver laid onto another metal, almost invariably steel. This is done by hatching the surface of the steel and beating the silver or gold onto it so that the hatching grips the overlay. Usually gold or silver wire is used, but sheet is also possible. With skillful burnishing most of the hatching can be removed so that the result looks like an inlay. However using a loupe will often reveal traces of the hatching. As you can imagine it is also possible to combine both inlay and koftgari to various degrees, to the point where the distinction is decidedly blurred.
Hope this helps
Regards
Richard
PS. The believe the virtue of Bidri is that it does not corrode or taint water and so was used for huqqa bases etc.

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Old 16th May 2014, 09:43 PM   #20
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Yes Bidri ware is very nice - but it is breaks very easily when hit or droped, so it is a question if it would have been a very good material for a hilt.
Jens
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