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Old 28th April 2016, 02:56 AM   #1
ariel
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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 01:16 AM. Reason: adding a pic
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Old 29th April 2016, 06:20 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Ariel, this is an intriguing ponderance! and I visualize you in a winged tufted leather easy chair, wearing a smoking jacket with your snifter of cognac in one hand and trusty 'Elgood in the other.

Actually I think you are pretty much on target, and its always fascinating when we get these 'in between' transitional cases. The Deccani classification as you know is an extremely broad conundrum in analysis of hilt forms, and Elgood notes it is particularly difficult to attribute them with certainty to specific states.
However it would seem most likely that these 'middle' swords with the Mughal type hilts retaining the 'winged' feature of the Hindu khanda would have been from Deccani regions.
The Hindu's were of course reluctant to relinquish certain features of their traditional swords' hilts as these often were key to apotropaic imbuement as well as religious symbolism.
As the Mughal Sultanates took over, many of the Vijayanagara types of hilts were likely amalgamated with the Mughal forms as these weapons filtered through the Bijapur regions.
I think the 'tegha' you mention from the Elgood article was listed as 17th c. so it would seem this time frame may well suit these unusual hybrids.

Well that's my take, think I'll grab a long neck!!!
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Old 29th April 2016, 10:39 AM   #3
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Jim,

Smoking jackets, winged chairs and cognac are for sissies: tee shirt, plastic stool on the deck and 120 proof Hungarian Slivovitz my son brought me from Budapest is more like it:-)

But on a more serious note: I am glad you agree: perhaps we can add Deccani handles to the Udaipuri ones ( as per Jonathan Barrett) to the frustratingly short list of Indian handles with definitive provenance.

Perhaps I should write a paper :-))))

To celebrate this momentous insight your next longneck shouds be India Pale Ale. Bottoms up, man:-)

Last edited by ariel; 29th April 2016 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 29th April 2016, 02:19 PM   #4
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Ariel:

When looking at hybrid examples, I am always of two minds. Does this represent temporal hybridism or geographical hybridism? In other words, are we looking at a transition between two forms that occurred over time (i.e., temporal evolution within a specific region), or, as you suggest, the mixing of two different styles in an intervening region?

Without provenance of specific pieces, I don't think one can distinguish between these two possibilities.

Ian.
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Old 5th March 2018, 04:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Ariel:

When looking at hybrid examples, I am always of two minds. Does this represent temporal hybridism or geographical hybridism? In other words, are we looking at a transition between two forms that occurred over time (i.e., temporal evolution within a specific region), or, as you suggest, the mixing of two different styles in an intervening region?

Without provenance of specific pieces, I don't think one can distinguish between these two possibilities.

Ian.
Very true.
The "geographical" hybrid would be consistent with pure Deccani origin.
The "temporal" one might me Mughal with Southern influence or Southern with the Mughal one.

But the epicenter ( or initial point) of such a transition would still be likely to occur at the point of maximal clash between the two, wouldn't it?
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Old 5th March 2018, 09:44 PM   #6
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I remembered seeing a similar one, and it came back to me: in the Elgood's paper on Deccani swords

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...808#post197808

there is a sword with very similar handle, that is attributed to Deccan
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Old 6th March 2018, 06:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
...
But the epicenter (or initial point) of such a transition would still be likely to occur at the point of maximal clash between the two, wouldn't it?
Or the point(s) at which one was (eventually) supplanted by another. Without more information, I don't know how to distinguish geographical from temporal transition.

Ian.
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Old 29th April 2016, 02:46 PM   #8
Jens Nordlunde
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Ariel, there are a few things, which should be taken into consideration when comparing these hilts. The different parts is India were influenced from different parts of the outside World - but from where?

During the Deccan Sultanates there was a heavy influence from Turkey, while the Mughals were influenced from Persia, and I dont think these two areas changed their fashion, in this case the looks of the hilts, with the same speed.
It is likely that Deccan was more conservative when it came to changes. But diring wars and trade different hilt types did 'travel' over very big distances, and this could also have been part of the change of fashion.

The hilt (no 4 from left) you show in the first picture is interesting.
Have a look at the way the hand guard ends, no animal head and no flower bud - it just ends, which is quite unusual, although it has been seen before. This could be a Deccani hilt, but the strange thing is, that I have a hilt where the hand guard ends in the same way, and I am convinced that my hilt is Mughal, wwith a very fine gold inlay of the decoration.
One could ask if this way of ending the hand guard is Deccani or is it Mughal. I dont know, and I have not yet researched these hilts, but as they are not so common I find it, untill I have learned some more about them, likely that they come from the area.
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Old 29th April 2016, 05:02 PM   #9
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Jens,
I see now what you meant in your PM.

But I do not see a particular problem here as related to the "mix".
The winglike guard and the wide D-guard are unquestionably inspired by Vijayanagara; the general configuration of the hilt and the quillons are unquestionably are just Mughal. The ending of the D-guard might have been a newly-formed Deccani or a purely Mughal feature.

No matter how many additional "Southern" or "Northern" features we find, the very idea of the "mix" remains intact.


Ian,
I also do not see much difference between the temporal and geographical transitions: of course they occured together. Any external influence penetrates a particular geographical region gradually. From there the hybrid product may even spread elsewhere (and be further modified there) , but it will also take time. Thus, both transitions occur in unison and often in waves.

In a way, it may be similar to the relative syncretism of Islam/Hinduism in Deccan.


Overall, my point is that this particular hilt pattern combines both Vijayanagara and Mughal elements, i.e. the postulated mixed form that would be expected in Deccan, at a point of clash between the two traditions.

Of course, actual, attributable examples of Deccani weapons with such hilt are needed to substantiate the hypothesis. In this regard Elgood's Tegha may serve as one example. Are there others?
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Old 29th April 2016, 05:08 PM   #10
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Yes there was a 'mix', especially after the Mughals had taken DEccan and posted soldiers and rulers to represent them, but I think the 'development' went slower in Deccan than in other parts of India - although I can prove this yet.
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Old 18th November 2017, 04:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Ariel, there are a few things, which should be taken into consideration when comparing these hilts. The different parts is India were influenced from different parts of the outside World - but from where?

During the Deccan Sultanates there was a heavy influence from Turkey, while the Mughals were influenced from Persia, and I dont think these two areas changed their fashion, in this case the looks of the hilts, with the same speed.
It is likely that Deccan was more conservative when it came to changes. But diring wars and trade different hilt types did 'travel' over very big distances, and this could also have been part of the change of fashion.

The hilt (no 4 from left) you show in the first picture is interesting.
Have a look at the way the hand guard ends, no animal head and no flower bud - it just ends, which is quite unusual, although it has been seen before. This could be a Deccani hilt, but the strange thing is, that I have a hilt where the hand guard ends in the same way, and I am convinced that my hilt is Mughal, wwith a very fine gold inlay of the decoration.
One could ask if this way of ending the hand guard is Deccani or is it Mughal. I dont know, and I have not yet researched these hilts, but as they are not so common I find it, untill I have learned some more about them, likely that they come from the area.
A hilt with a guard similar to your from the Prince of Wales Museum in Bombay.
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Old 19th November 2017, 10:36 AM   #12
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Hi Kikhari,

Yes you are right. Do you know wat the text says to the hilt you shows?
Mine is Mughal 17th century.
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Old 5th March 2018, 09:41 PM   #13
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What many not seem to realise is, the influence from the outside areas, like Persia, Turky and others.
So like I have said before - use your books.
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