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Old 28th April 2016, 03:56 AM   #1
ariel
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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Default Deccani handles?

I was sitting quietly, nursing a glass of Slivovitz, not bothering any one and re-reading Elgood's chapter on Deccani swords.
He bemoans the scarcity of attributable examples and even starts his chapter head-on with the statement that weapons from Deccan are usually attributed kind of by exclusion: neither Vijayanagara, nor Mughal.

And then a thought hit me ( Slivovitz likely played a role): what if this statement could be turned upside down: both Vijayanagara AND Mughal?

I looked at my examples.

The development of "Indian" sword handles stemmed from the Old Indian handle from the South and the Mughal handle from the North. What would we expect to see in the middle, where these traditions bumped into each other, i.e. in Deccan?

The first picture shows:

On the left:

1.Old South Indian handle See the bilateral wing-like handguard.
2. Later development of it, the Basket Hilt, preserving the old pattern of wing-like handguard but with the European-influenced wide D-guard and a stem arising from the pommel for a two-handed grip.

On the right:

Two classical Mughal handles with quillons ending in button-like terminals.

In the middle:

Two tulwars with handles combining features of both: wing-like handguards and wide D-guard of the Vijayanagara tradition ( the left one) AND the typical Mughal quillons.

The second pic shows them from the side: they could have either one or two "wings"
The third pic shows the width of the D-guard: left to right Basket Vijayanagara Firangi, presumed "Deccani", classical Mughal tulwar

Interestingly, Elgood shows a Deccani Tegha with exactly the same handle and even mentions the crooked stem arising from the pommel, asserting that it is a feature of the 17th century ( see the left of the "mixed pattern" ones in Picture 1.

So, here is my question: is it reasonable to assume that the "mixed pattern"
handles are specifically Deccani in their origin?
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Last edited by ariel; 29th April 2016 at 02:16 AM. Reason: adding a pic
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