Gold Indian Talwar
Date: late 18th century
Materials: Gold, Wootz Steel, Wood and Velvet
A very rare 18th century Deccani Tulwar of exceptional quality.
Typically, most in the west will refer to the Indian Sword as simply a Tulwar (often spelled as Talwar or Tulvar). Tulwar in its simplistic form is used to describe a one-edged sword from the Indian subcontinent. This description originates from the Sanskrit word ‘Taravari’. The Tulwar could be utilised by either cavalry or infantry. The talwar or talvār (Hindi) is the archetypical saber of India. These were used both as weapons and status symbols. The ones used for status were distinguished through their design, use of gold work and other ornamental additions.
The handle is of elegant facetted shape. Examining the hilt style and form, it is very scarce and usually only found on Sosun Pattah swords. The borders of the windows that showcase the possible wootz are decorated with gold koftgari all around with full rose petals in the centre. A very unique design. Its decoration includes leaves and flowers in the typical Mughal style - yet the marriage of this hilt to this shamshir style blade is very unique and is most likely a customised piece. All the koftgari is very nicely executed, and gold overlaid accents nicely contrast with the darker metal. The layer gold decoration along the boarder functions as a decorative border drawing the holders eye to the black, negative, space. The original lanyard is still in tact. A small detail, but usually no longer found on 19th century swords, let alone 18th century. Throughout the hilt, the gold koftgari is 90% in tact. This gold koftgari design is often referred to as Korbandi koftgari and is found on larger Rajasthani hilts with (and without) knuckle-guards. This is the first example we have come across on this type of hilt.
The blade is forged of Wootz Steel with tight swirls throughout the length of the blade. Tight structures indicate good quality and this blade is no different. The blade thickens towards the tip and has a single fuller running down the one side. This blade is a real example of a high quality blade fit for purpose. A scarf weld is also present on the blade, a sign on Indian blades associated with the Rajputs. This was considered auspicious (almost talismanic) and locally referred to as a ‘mala’ (a sacred thread). The blade is of a sirohi type with a somewhat radical curve and yelmen like widening towards the end of the blade.
The tulwar is accompanied by a new scabbard wrapped in green velvet. The bottom chape is made of steel and plated in 24k gold. The top throat ring is pierced with a floral design to match the flowers depicted on the hilt. This too is plated in 24k gold.
Overall, a very nice example of a True Deccani Tulwar with a Wootz blade. Perfect for collectors aiming to add a scarce Deccani sword to their collection. The hilt form and design is extremely rare and alone is sought after.