Shamshir

ARM/ 76/ 11
95 (Length) 9 (Width)

Curved shamshir blade with fine dark watering, single edged with no ricasso. 18th century. Persian. The blade is perfectly flat, has engraved upon it a series of gold cartouches containing Nastaliq inscriptions. There is also a Biduh.

The hilt has a pommel in the form of a parrots head and most unusual pregnant looking grip and conventional tulwar quillons and languet. The original decoration of this hilt is Mughal or Deccani, probably 2nd half of the 17th century.

* Islamic inscription Cf. 76 / 19 for inscription

Shamshir

ARM/ 76/ 17  – Shamshir – SWORD
91.5(Length)9(Width)

Watered steel Persian curved blade with fuller, no ricasso and cut away spine, there are two cartouches on the blade inlaid in gold containing Nastaliq inscription. The blade is of good dark watered steel, 19th century and the cartouches are inspired by the earlier work.

The hilt takes the form of makara bitting at a hare, the hare forming the knuckle guard. There are tiger heads forming the quillons. In other respect the hilt follows tulwars designs. The hilt is made of steel and is deliberately heated till that it retains brilliant blue sheen. There are gold flowers and foliage is open design in relief superimposed on this blue ground. Details of the makara head, the hare and the tiger’s heads are also highlighted and the animals have green and red glass eyes. Glass is backed by foil to make it reflective.

There are many hilts of this kind which are clearly modern copies. However there needs to be an original hilt and this is probably it. The hilt was probably made in the latter part of 19th century and is fairly contemporary with the blade.

Peter Hawkins says the hilt is perhaps 1900-50 made for wedding ceremony in Jodhpur.

Tulwar

ARM/ 76/ 52 – Tulwar – SWORD
86.5 (Length) 10.7 (Width)

19th century Indian sabre blade, single edge, ricasso and false edge. The entire blade is chiseled on both sides with hunting scenes in relief unusual abstract design at the forte. The chiseling on the blade is 20th century.

The hilt is of late Karan Shahi form and maybe 18th century but the decoration is 19th century or later.

Scabbard of green velvet with pierced copper gilded mounts.

Hilt of a Talwar

ARM/76/717 – Hilt of a Talwar
30 (Length)14(Width)

Karan Shahi hilt of 18th century form. It bears the inscription on the pommel disc in Marwari

‘Shri Mataji Sahay Tarwar Roop Singh Champawat Sanvat 1803’

Translation – May goddess be with the tulwar of Roop Singh Champawat, V.S. 1803 (Vikram Samvat 1803 minus 57 = CE 1746)

The hilt itself can plausibly date to 1746. Part of the decoration is clearly reworked, for example the lotus and the Tulsi design on the upper part of the pommel. The problem is to decide what if anything of the decoration is original? The hilt has evidently been cleaned and shows very little sighns of wear. It is extremely unusual to find an inscription of this kind on a sword hilt and piece must be regarded with considerable skepticism

Kubri

ARM/76/721 – GUPTI
36 (Length)12(Width)

Literally hunch-back because of its exaggerated loops, a fakir’s crutch made of bent tubular steel, used as a rest for the armpit or chin as an aid to meditation and usually concealing a stiletto in the hollow haft section which unscrews. See Turkish muttekas for an object serving a similar purpose.

This is a fine object with beautifully turned and looped steel ending in a well chiseled lotus bud. The blade too is of exception quality with a reinforced forte and points and a nicely re-curved blade. 17th -18th century

The metal tubular haft with its foot is now missing.

Tulwar

ARM/ 76/ 14 – SWORD
96.5(Length) 10(Width)

Watered steel Persian shamshir blade with single edge, flat blade with unusually square edged spine. The dark watering is very fine and there is a good step pattern (kirk-narduban).. There is gold cartouche of generous proportion containing a Quranic exortation. Beneath this is curious, European looking scroll, containing within it a very small stylized cobra and three Islamic numerical. A former curator, Naval Krishna has read a 16th century date from these numbers and presumably largely from this has attributed the sword to Mughal Emperor Akbar. However, this argument cannot be sustained. The scroll cartouche is certainly not Mughal and is possibly derived from the motto beneath military cap badget. The two cartouches are in fact modern since the gold work and the calligraphy are the same. If we now consider the blade without the distraction of the cartouches we have a very fine blade which to bear the inlaid signature of the maker. The fact that it does not suggests the blade is later, a view supported by the very square edged back. Dark watered blades of this kind were exported to India from Khurasan in the 18th – 19th centuries and this is probably the origin of this blade.

The hilt combines Mughal and Rajput features and is one of a group. The bright steel beaded edge used to profile parts of the hilt has a Deccani feel. The gold work in a chequered pattern is extremely well done but at present the date and place of manufacture is unknown.

Shamshir

ARM/ 76/ 50 – Shamshir – SWORD
98(Length) 12(Width)

Fine broad shamshir blade with blade step pattern (kirk-narduban). The watering is extremely faint due to polishing on one side and on the other side it has disappeared. This maybe an attempt to suggest that this laminated blade has one side wootz and the other side sakela. Two faced blades of this kind appear to have been popular in the Deccan at the time of Aurangzeb. This sword dated from that period and is made in Persian style without a ricasso. It is more likely that the highly polished blade is the result of Rajput preference for shiny steel, which suggests frequent usage. 2nd half of the 17th century.

The hilt is a very fine creation from Purtabgurh, a small State near Chittor, which is famous for this distinctive work. In this instance the hilt is clearly an exhibition piece from the 19th century. It consist of a silver lion’s head and mane with foil back, pale red garnet eyes, the detail which is echoed in smaller scale on the quillon terminals. The sword has a facetted grip and unusual broad quillon block all decorated with gold figures, animals and flowers in manner derived from Kotah miniature painting, against a green or blue transparent enamel ground. Among the figures are Europeans armed with firearms hunting tigers. The sword has a knuckle bow in which it is inscribed ‘H H RAJAH OF PURTABGURH’.

Khanda

ARM/ 76/ 56 – Khanda – SWORD
98(Length) 13(Width)

Typical late 19th century khanda blade of dark watered steel with round tip and razor edges. The blade is braised with gilt silver strap has a channel in which there are small pearls, this feature is called ‘motipata’. There is an inscription on both sides of the blade in Devanagari script, Sanskrit language. Only one side:- In Sanskrit – Shaktra Yachhaya Nav Bhunsa Ma Ya Shhruru Maa Sa Shubham Berah Benni Bidarann Beriyaa Sataatnni Shamsher. Translation – In the auspicious month of Chait (the month after Holi), this (form of tulwar or name of person) will kill the enemies, this Shamshir is capable of killing thousands. The inscription on the other side in Sanskrit to be read. The hilt is of typical khanda basket form with deeply dished pommel containing a dome pommel cap and a short forward curved spike ending in a button. The decoration to this hilt relies on bright steel outlived with contrasting gold koftgari work. The gold work is 2nd half of 19th century or later. The hilt contains padded brocade lining with silver wire edging, 2nd half of the 19th century. Pink velvet scabbard with late gold embossed and pierced band woth the type applied for weddings.

*Devanagari inscription

Katar

ARM/76/722 – KATAR –
42 (length) 7(Width)

Karan Shahi hilt of 18th century form. It bears the inscription on the pommel disc in Marwari

Very finely worked katar with long triangular blade with bright steel edges and slight re-enforcing at the point. There are well made hollowed ground fullers on either side of the central rib and these sunken panels are of water steel contrasting with the edges at the forte, there is a raised panel comprising of a lotus and peacock both decorated with gold koftgari work. The hilt is jeweller’s tour de force in gold and silver, the entire hilt decorated with a profusion of a closely packed animals, birds, gods, people, angles, vegetation and buildings. Clearly the katar is not very old despite the grip design which is late 17th century as can been seen in the Adoni pieces at Bikaner. The decoration might reasonably be attributed to Kotah or Bundi .

Urdu – ‘Mian Sarsar Ram ki jah’

Translation –‘The grace of Mian Sarsar Ram’ This appears to be a humorous inscription.

Translation – May goddess be with the tulwar of Roop Singh Champawat, V.S. 1803 (Vikram Samvat 1803 minus 57 = CE 1746)

The hilt itself can plausibly date to 1746. Part of the decoration is clearly reworked, for example the lotus and the Tulsi design on the upper part of the pommel. The problem is to decide what if anything of the decoration is original? The hilt has evidently been cleaned and shows very little sighns of wear. It is extremely unusual to find an inscription of this kind on a sword hilt and piece must be regarded with considerable skepticism

Sword of Ajit Singh

ARM/76/738 – Sword of Ajit Singh
94 (Length) 5(Width)

Straight double edged Spear pointed blade with great weight and length with single central fuller. The steel appears to have some wootz mixed in with sakhela so that the blade has unusal mottled effect. It is almost certainly made in Sirohi and we know that the steel was imported from Bombay. Given the skill of the sword smith which is likely that this construction was intentional. The base of blade has a chiseled Hanuman who is Famous for his strength and therefore admired by warriors. On the other side of the forte there is engraved portrait of Durga riding her lion with rudimentary cartouche emulating Mughal practice positioned above that. There is also a lotus forming the apex of the cartouche, the symbol of the goddess. There is also a round cartouche on the blade containing Devanagari script which is probably genuine that reads a ’MATAJI SAHAY SHRI HINGLAJ MAHARAJA SHRI AJIT SINGHJI’ A part is not illegible.

Karan Shahi hilt polished bright steel with wide quillons and domed quillon terminal. The hilt combines Mughal and Rajasthani concepts in its design and is likely to date 2nd half of the 17th century. It lacks the decorative disc from the top of the pommel disc, normally a sun motif. The sword was probably used for ritual purposes as it is too heavy for comfortable use. Faded green velvet scabbard of uncertain date.