Talwar with southern style hilt | Peter Dekker's Mandarin Mansion: Antique Arms & Armor

Talwar with southern style hilt

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style



Overall length: 91.3 cm / 35.9 inch
Blade length: 79 cm / 31.1 inch
Thickness: forte 6 mm, middle 4.5 mm, near tip 2 mm
Blade width: forte 41 mm, middle 33 mm, near tip 24 mm
Weight without scabbard: 841 grams
P.o.b. 16 cm from center of cross


Origin: India.
Materials: Iron, steel, gold, wood, leather.
Dating: Probably 18th century.


Description

An Indian talwar with curved hollow ground blade with a narrow dorsal groove and false backedge. The blade with a brass dot inserted in the blade at the base, visible from both sides. The right side is stamped with a maker's mark near the base with some abstract stamps further up the blade on this side. The blade in unrestored but good condition, no nicks, cracks of losses in the blade's contour. The steel is stiff and springy, with only minor pitting. There are traces of a forge folded construction.

It has an interesting iron handle with pierced, beaded rims that are generally associated with southern Indian arms, like those encountered in the Tanjore armory when it was disbanded in the 19th century. At the same time, the general feel of the piece is more northern. The hilt shape and its decorative features remind strongly of a sword that belonged to Mughal emperor Akbar (reigned 1556-1605) that is inscribed with a 1560 A.D. date, now held in Mehrangarh fort, Johdpur.1

It has a knucklebow resembling the "stirrup hilt" found on European military sabers from the 18th century. The end of the guard is shaped like the head of a parakeet, a common motif on Indian arms. They were revered creatures presumably because -like parrots- they can learn how to speak and were sometimes able to recite parts of Vedas chanted in temples by worshippers. The bird is also associated with the goddess Andal, a Tamil poet and saint devoted to Vishnu.

The hilt is decorated with gold damascening of floral motifs and there are also remains of golden chevron decor on the inside of the knucklebow.


Conclusion

An interesting talwar with a rather unusual hilt with pierced and beaded rims, work that reminds of the arms associated with the Tanjore armory. The piece is probably "inspired by" rather than actually made in Tanjore.



SOLD



Interested? Questions?
Contact peter@mandarinmansion.com



Notes to description
1. Thanks to Peter Willems of Helgot for bringing this sword to my attention.



An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style

An Indian talwar with pierced iron hilt in the southern style



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