Date: 18th century
Materials: Steel and Cotton Fabric
INTRODUCING THE FIRANGI
The term firangi derives from the Arabic term ‘al- faranji’ to describe a Western European, therefore meaning Foreigner. The ‘Firangi’ referred to an Indian sword type which used blades manufactured in Western Europe, particularly Germany and imported by the Portuguese. Later, blade-smiths within India imitated the design of European Blades and joined them onto Tulwar or Khanda style Hilts. The foreign blades were used for their characteristics of being long fullered blades. Because of its length the firangi is usually regarded as primarily a cavalry weapon and is used for both thrusting and cutting. Though associated with the Marathas, who were famed for their cavalry the firangi was widely used by the Mughals and those who were under their rule during the 16th-18th century, including the Sikhs and Rajputs. There are various paintings of Mughal Royalty (such as Shah Jahan) holding firangis, suggesting that the Firangi became a symbol of martial virtue and power.
This particular Firangi is a fine example of an 18th century Indian sword, and has a tulwar style blade, being slightly curved in the last quarter. This made it perfect for use while on horse back, similar to the Afghan Pulwar. The blade is single-edged, straight and triple fullered, staying true to the original design and origin of the Firangi sword type. The steel blade is very tough and flexible which meant it was very durable for vigorous combat during the 18th century. The pommel has a prominent stalk, curved by design, to allow the wielder to grasp. This allowed for easy manoeuvring and accurate cutting. The hilt also has a large knuckle guard in the traditional basket-hilt style which is seen on Khandas and other large swords.