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Old 19th July 2021, 06:43 AM   #1
Cathey
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Default Tulwar with Cartouche/Singnature? on Blade

Hi Guys

Back in 2005 I purchased two Tulwars with Hilts decorated in Gold koftigari and plain curved blades, one has a cartouche on the blade and the other an inscription inside the knuckle bow. They have been sitting on the wall totally ignored since we brought them. Yesterday, I decided to take them down along with three other examples I have had since 2002. I have now re-photographed them and thought I should post them one at a time to see if someone can assist me with the correct identification and potentially decipher the scrip on the blade. Sadly the script on this one is impossible for me to read but I hope someone may have seen it before and be able to decipher it.

This Tulwar is 36” 91.4 cm overall, blade 31 ¼” 79.4 cm, blade width 1 4/8” 3.7 cm, inside grip 3” 7.6 cm and weight 0.968 grams.

Any assistance will be much appreciated.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 19th July 2021, 11:45 PM   #2
TVV
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Are you absolutely sure the blades are plane, in other words, have you tried cleaning and etching a small window to check for a pattern?
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Old 20th July 2021, 08:05 AM   #3
Ian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV View Post
Are you absolutely sure the blades are plane, in other words, have you tried cleaning and etching a small window to check for a pattern?
I was thinking the same thing. Your close ups seem to show the hint of a pattern to the steel.
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Old 23rd July 2021, 08:22 AM   #4
DavidFriedman
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Gorgeous
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Old 23rd July 2021, 05:18 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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Cathey, this is truly a superb example with the koftgari and profuse botanical decoration in such great condition, as well observed by the others.

Tulwars are not only difficult to accurately identify specifically to geographic regions but to date as the hilt form was used over hundreds of years.
However in this case we can estimate this example as the form typically produced in one of the numerous centers in Rajasthan, and probably 18th century.

In G.N.Pant ("Indian arms & Armor", 1980) the author makes a valiant effort to establish regional and other categories for the various types of tulwar hilts. However these serve best only as identifiers in description for purposes of discussion in my opinion, as typically hilts were produced in these locations in Rajasthan and often sent to other regions for decoration and mounting.

The floral decoration as well as clearly the Islamic detail on the blade establish this to be most certainly a Mughal tulwar. It is quite likely the blade is wootz as suggested, and it would take more detailed examination to determine what is in the cartouches, which follow the style placed on most Islamic blades of this quality and as on Persian examples. It is indeed possible this is a Persian blade as typically present in Mughal courts.

These kinds of Mughal tulwars were prevalent in the northwestern regions and from Rajasthan eastward to Delhi but of course followed the Mughal Sultanates and princely states under that rule. While in some degree they found use in the central 'Deccan' southward in Mughal domains, the tulwar is mostly in my view a weapon of the northern regions.

I wish I could be less vague, but I just wanted to add at least some comment on what is agreed a most beautiful example of the Mughal tulwar.
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Old 25th July 2021, 03:24 PM   #6
ariel
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Very good tulwar!


One would definitely wish for such elegant and high class tulwar to have a wootz blade and a cartouche with some famous name, but the previous owner performed a barbaric cleaning operation with the coarsest sandpaper. I cannot see much pitting; likely he removed just old patina. He did not even try to leave the cartouches untouched, this vandal! I hate overeager lovers of everything shiny.

Still, please try to polish a window and etch it.

Unless it was a Sirohi ( which, BTW, was highly esteemed by the contemporaries), you may find ( my guess) Indian “ salt and pepper” wootz.
First, I would polish the spine by the handle to look for the “crack”. It might be filled with some soft metal or left unfilled: in any case it would signify wootz.

Good luck!
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Old 26th July 2021, 05:53 AM   #7
Cathey
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Hi Guys

The picture of the Cartouche has been enlarged so much it looks like the blade has been overly cleaned however this is not the case. I think the camera picks up scratches that are not visable to the naked eye. The blade is plain, but apparently that is not uncommon for this type of Tulwar. I have since been advised by a collector who specilises in this area that the shape of the hilt and the floral decoration place it as Punjabi. The cartouche looks to be Islamic, and he has seen a similar cartouche previously which read "there is no sword greater than the zulfikar, and no greater warrior than Ali".

I think the Cartouche has simply rubbed away with age, but confess it does look quiet grainy when blown up as I have done here. This sword came to me with a second one of Sikh origin that also has a plain blade.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 26th July 2021, 07:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey View Post
I think the Cartouche has simply rubbed away with age, but confess it does look quiet grainy when blown up as I have done here. This sword came to me with a second one of Sikh origin that also has a plain blade.

Cheers Cathey
I saw that. And I have another hypothesis.
Non Muslims don't like Muslim inscriptions on their weapons (with some exception, the Greeks for example).
It seems that the inscription was scratched* /removed, maybe by a Sikh owner...

* I'm not talking about the etching to fix the koftgari.
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