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Old 7th May 2021, 11:17 AM   #1
Badgerbag
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Default Tulwar, Talwar ID help please.

Hi, I picked this up in a 2nd hand shop in England about 50 years ago, and know nothing of its history. The crude EIC stamp Iíve always assumed was East India Company, and the 65 in the middle could mean anything. There are no other markings on it.

If anyone could shed any light on its origin (presumably India) or age I would be very grateful.

Many thanks
Tim
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Old 7th May 2021, 03:22 PM   #2
Nihl
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Quite striking geometry on that hilt! Yes, I would assume the EIC is East India Company. This whole piece was likely made in the mid-late 19th century, though the unusually angular hilt makes geographical attribution a bit difficult. I would say probably northwest/central Indian, based on the fact that the Rajputs were fans of tulwars with (relatively) spiky hilts, but it's possible it could've been made further south too. Many south indian hilts, when not elaborately chiseled/pierced/etc., were of relatively plain form, meaning they're a pain in the butt to track down lol. Regardless, I'd say north Indian is probably your safest/best bet here.
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Old 7th May 2021, 08:02 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
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I am with Nihl on this, and this is pretty much the well known styling on many tulwar hilts from Rajasthan, as noted the Rajputs are known to have had these sharply defined bulge in center grip.
The EIC device is post 1857 after the dissolution of the East India Company proper into the Indian government with Queen Victoria emplaced as the Empress of India . Eventually the acronym became EIG (East India government), but I think this blade is probably 1800s+ as is the hilt.
These tulwars were produced for use not only in many of the native cavalry units during the Raj, but private British sponsored enterprises had their own security forces.

It is pretty much futile to geographically or regionally assess or classify tulwar hilts (despite the valiant efforts of G.N.Pant, 1980) unless there is distinct decorative motif. There were many locations in Rajasthan where hilts were produced and exported throughout the princely states to be mounted and decorated etc. Tulwars were not particularly favored in the south though the Deccan saw considerable presence with Mughals using them.

From Kutch, Gujerat, Rajasthan, Sind, Baluchistan, Punjab, Delhi, the Northwest regions into what is now Afghanistan......tulwar country.
The British Raj in India, fascinating history!

This tulwar is a great example of that history in the weapons used.
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Old 7th May 2021, 08:46 PM   #4
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East India Company ceased to exist as a colonizing force after the Sepoy Rebellion in 1859. So, this tulwar is most likely first half of the 19th century.
And the geometry of handle is, IMHO, just a well known Udaipuri. Most likely Mughal.

However, things can be more complicated: handles and blades were interchangeable, and a chance of getting the original pair is not very high.
That's why Elgood wrote that Indian swords in the Victoria and Albert Museum , mostly collected before ~1870, have not original handles, but those in the Wallace collection ( bought after ~1870) sport original ones.
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Old 7th May 2021, 09:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel View Post
However, things can be more complicated: handles and blades were interchangeable, and a chance of getting the original pair is not very high.
Well I agree but this statment applies to at least of 80% of ethno swords, not only Indian ones...
From Takouba to Katana
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Old 8th May 2021, 12:10 AM   #6
Jim McDougall
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[QUOTE=Kubur;262367]Well I agree but this statment applies to at least of 80% of ethno swords, not only Indian ones...
From Takouba to Katana[/QUOTE

Very well noted, in the ethnographic spheres, blades were inclined to circulate note only for generations, but even centuries. In the Sahara, we know that numbers of medieval blades entered trade networks centuries ago, and it would be impossible to know how many incarnations they experienced before finally collected into European hands.
It is pretty standard traditionally to remount blades as they were handed down, and if traded into new region, of course the locally favored styling would be adapted.

Udaipur was but one of the numerous Rajasthan centers for blades, and the Pant reference suggests that this 'peaked' style grip came from that location. However it seems this 'style' could have been broader in use and applied to occurrence in other of the Rajasthan centers as well.

Defining these hilts as to which denomination used would be difficult as well but these seem more inclined to Rajputs and Sikhs, and others. These pyramid/triangle shape marks on blades and materials were in use much later, as noted after the 'Sepoy Rebellion' (1857) and more into 1870s+ The old East India Co. standing lion marking was used on gun locks into 1840s.

East India Company prior to these type government marks never placed bale marks on their sword blades (as told to me by David Harding, "Small Arms of the East India Company" many years ago.

Regarding the pairing of blades and hilts, there was a standing supposition some years ago that hilts and blades were deliberately kept disconnected in storage in armories to defeat ready arming of insurrections, but this was I believe disproven. It was more a matter of imported hilts being paired with stocks of blades in arsenals as required by the princely states and principalities outside those being outfitted by British suppliers by the 1870s.
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Old 8th May 2021, 03:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur View Post
Well I agree but this statment applies to at least of 80% of ethno swords, not only Indian ones...
From Takouba to Katana
Undoubtedly, sword handles, especially made of organic material, h a tendency to deteriorate and were replaced. That was true also with full-metal handles as well.
But generally, the style of a handle remained the same.
India, however, was a multiethnic entity with decidedly ethnic styles. And that helps to figure out the blade/handle compatibility. Also,some styles of handles help in dating. And on top of that, there are minute details differentiating age and locality of manufacture.
In the majority of cases compatibility and lack thereof is doable by super-specialists of the Elgoodís caliber. Jens can do it with katars like few others.

I can pick up the crudest differences only.....
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