Origin: Deccan or Hyderabad
Date: 17th century/18th century
Materials: Iron, steel, silver, wood and leather
A Saif (straight sword) with an iconic hilt design.
The dark, iron hilt is highlighted by generous gold ornamentation with many irises, plants and leaves expertly represented. Across the pommel disc, quillons and langets the decoration is presented in attractive overlaid relief. The grip however, and the underside of the pommel disk is silver inlay. The pommel still features its original lanyard ring - a feature that is often lost on swords. The silver inlay and relief/raised work provides a brilliant contrast and all in all produced a fine and stunning hilt.
The blade is straight, a Saif, and stamped with gold inlay. The blade is tough yet flexible, made of spring steel, the preferred steel for these types of sword.
The gold inlay Urdu inscription is yet to be deciphered. However, these inscriptions usually reference royal family names.
The style of decoration can be compared to that of another dated to the 17thcentury from the Jaipur Royal Collection (see Elgood’s Arms & Armour at the Royal Jaipur Court: The Royal Collection, p.115 no.80). The level of detail and sense of movement found in the flowers is also echoed by another gold-inlaid hilt dated to the 17th century which we can find in the al-Sabah collection (see Keene and Kaoukji’s Treasury of the World, exhibition catalogue, London, 2001, p.90 nos.7 and 8). An almost identical hilt with the same complex inlaid decoration is in a private collection (Norlunde 2016, pp.328-330) and another loose hilt was exhibited in 1988 alongside a complete sword with a fine Persian blade (Ricketts 1988, pp.82, 91). A similar decorated hilted sword also belonged to the Nawab of Oudh (1751), Safdar Jang Bahadur, and sold for £10,000 in 2020.
A very nice sword, with a fine hilt. The blade is in great condition making this a sought after piece for any collection.