Talwar with Mamluk style blade decor
Overall length

75.8 cm

Blade length

65 cm

Blade thickness

Base 4 mm

Middle 3.5 mm

5 cm from tip 2.2 mm

Blade width

Base 36.5 mm

Middle 33 mm

5 cm from tip 21 mm

Weight without scabbard

755 grams

Point of balance

14.5 cm from hilt

Materials

Iron, steel, silver, pitch.

Origin

Punjab region, north India.

Dating

18th or 19th century

Provenance

From a European collector

Price €750, -

Interested?
Anything similar for sale?

Contact me

Introduction

There is a small group of Indian talwar with blades that are chiseled in mamluk form. We have had one with a purely Indian talwar style blade that was related to the Maharajah of Ratlam, dated 1744-1755 with a hilt dated 1759, which was sold earlier this year. Another, with a much more Persian-style blade, is listed here which has a hilt that points towards Punjab manufacture.

 

This example

The third example in this style. This one is simpler and more humble in execution than the preceding pieces. The wide blade is of typical Indian talwar form, with a moderate curve, two narrow grooves on each side, and an edge bevel that starts a few centimeters from the hilt.

Like with the others, the Mamluk style blade decor only features on the right side of the blade.

 

Mamluk style blade decor on talwar

 

On the little square it is written in Arabic:

لا فتى إلا علي لا سيف إلا ذو الفقار‎

lā fatā ʾillā ʿAlī; lā sayf ʾillā Ḏū l-Fiqār

"There is no hero like Ali; There is no sword like Dhu-l-Fiqar"

 

Along the line, in Persian:

ﺷﺎﻩﻣﺮﺩﺍﻥﺷﻴﺮﻳﺰﺩﺎﻥﻗﻮﺓﭘﺮﻭﺭﺩﮔﺎﺭ

Šāh-e Mardān Šir-e Yazdān Qovvat-e Parvardegār

The King of [Brave] Men, the Lion of God, the Power of the Creator

 

It is very interesting to see the Persian inscriptions use two Persian words to refer to God: Yazdān ﻳﺰﺩﺎﻥ (with ancient Iranian origin “Creator of the Good”) and Parvardegār ﭘﺮﻭﺭﺩﮔﺎﺭ (also with Persian origin meaning “Creator”).

Further the “king of men” is a title of Ali in Persian next to Šir-e Xodā ﺷﻴﺮﺧﺪﺍ (lion of God). The latter in Arabic is Assadollāh ﺍﺳﺪﷲ (Lion of God), which is also used as the title of Ali in Persian. King of men is a special expression as “men” refers to the Persian javānmardi.

-Dr. Manouchehr M. Khorasani

 

Mamluk style talwar inscription 2

 

On the left side of the blade is written in a mix of Arabic and Urdu:

ﻋﻠﻰﻭﻟﻰﷲﺗﻠﻮﺍﺭﻛﻰﺯﻳﻌﻨﻰﺻﻔﻰﷲ

Ali Wali Allāh Talwār ki Ya’ni Safi Allāh

"Ali the friend of God, a Talwar, which means “the Chosen of God”."

 

and, again;

لا فتى إلا علي لا سيف إلا ذو الفقار‎

lā fatā ʾillā ʿAlī; lā sayf ʾillā Ḏū l-Fiqār

"There is no hero like Ali; There is no sword like Dhu-l-Fiqar" 1

 

Hilt

It is mounted in a talwar hilt of classic Punjabi style. Hallmarks of this style are the slightly forward inclined guard quillons, and the comparatively fat-bellied grip section. They are often of hakim khāni style where there is no pronounced V between grip and guard.

The hilt comes with traces of silver decoration, now largely gone through handling but the crosshatched underground remains to be seen. The work consisted of decorative borders and roundels.

 

Conclusion

A relatively humble fighting talwar but with Mamluk style blade decorations that put it in a rare and illustrious group of pieces with similar decor. It is not the first of this group to have hints towards a Punjabi origin.

The text is very Islamic in nature but references to the mythical sword of Ali, Ḏū l-Fiqār, are also found on Hindu swords at times, such as our Rajput talwar from Ratlam referenced above. A result of centuries of interaction between Hindus and Muslims in northern India.

 

Notes
1. Thanks to Abdallatif Ali Alnakkas and Dr. Manouchehr M. Khorasani for helping with the translation of this part. 

Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

Chiseled with a rare type of decor on the base, and with two Islamic inscriptions.

€6500,-

With Persian style blade, showing Indian workmanship.

€3300,-

Presented by the local Dai nobility to a British customs officer in 1936.

€2000,-

With markings attributing it to Jalore.

€2000,-

An interesting South Indian style katar with an imported European blade.

€750,-

With a hidden compartment for a small utility knife.

€2500,-