Talwar hilt overall
Dimensions

17 cm long

Disc pommel 63 mm

Materials

Iron, silver, wood.

Origin

Rajasthan, India.

Dating

19th century

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Description

A charming iron hilt for an Indian talwar.

The overall form is called hakim khāni, characterized by a rounded grip section that flows smoothly into the crosspiece, as opposed to the hakim shahi style with a pronounced V shape in the transition. Hakim khāni may refer to Hakim Khan Sur, a Pashtun warrior who fought the Mughals and died in a battle in 1574.

Talwar hilt comparisons

Two talwar hilts as illustrated in Hendley's Damascening on steel or iron as practiced in India. 1892.
Left: Hakim khāni
Right: Hakim shahi

 

The hilt is overlaid with silver, the decor consisting of lines and dots with zig-zag borders. Some circular groups of dots are highly stylized flowers.

 

Comparable examples

A few such hilts turn up in Rajput armories, among others in Mehrangarh Fort or the Rathores in Jodhpur under accession numbers ARM/76/105 and ARM/76/204. Dr. Elgood describes them in his Rajput Arms & Armour and dates one at 1870-1890 and the other at 1875-1900.

The execution of this hilt compares favorably to most mass-produced silver overlaid tourist items of the period. To execute geometric patterns with this kind of precision does take considerable skill. The common floral decoration has plenty of room for error, but these geometric schemes do not.

 

Quality comparison

This talwar hilt (left) compared to a mass-produced tourist katar (right).
While there is stylistic similarity, notice the higher level of precision on the pommel.

 

 

Silver overlaid talwar hilt
Silver overlaid talwar hilt
Silver overlaid talwar hilt
Silver overlaid talwar hilt
Silver overlaid talwar hilt
Silver overlaid talwar hilt
Silver overlaid talwar hilt
Silver overlaid talwar hilt

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