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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Indian talwar sword Reply to topic
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Bernard Delor




Location: France
Joined: 19 Nov 2010

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 1:43 pm    Post subject: Indian talwar sword         Reply with quote

Hello,

here is a talwar sword I've just bought.
Some days ago, I had posted these photos on another forum - so maybe you already have seen them - but I wasn't yet the owner and so I failed to get any comment...

Now that it's mine, I hope you will have some comments about it !

The blade is obviously forged and it's a nice work. It has unusual (at least to me) small serrations. It doesn't seem to be neither pattern welded, nor wootz steel.
Most of the handle koftgari has gone. The metal "scratching" for the kofgari is very light, I had to use a binocular microscope to see it.
The handle has been fixed with some modern (white) material, but the old one (brown) can still be seen inside.

I have been told this sword might be from north India, begining XIXth century. Any opinion ?

Regards.



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Last edited by Bernard Delor on Sat 20 Nov, 2010 8:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bernard, I saw this when you put it up on Vikingsword. This is a really nice and somewhat unusual example. The tight serations of the blade edge are a great feature. The fullering of the blade seems to have a Turkish feel to it.
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Bernard Delor




Location: France
Joined: 19 Nov 2010

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Allan.
Yes the serrations are very small and regular. Also growing larger to the tip of the blade. Never saw this before !
I am not shure about the origin because the handle looks more indian than turkish. But I wonder if may not be a later addition to an earlier blade. There is some "rusty" mark on the blade that doesn't seem to fit exactly the handle shape.

Closup photo of the serration and blade "rusty" marks :



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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,492

PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The handle is Indian. The blade could well be. It isn't a normal tulwar blade, but there were many strange examples (some nice ones in Tirri, Islamic Weapons). Widening towards the tip isn't that rare in tulwars, double-edged tips are fairly common. Serrated is rare, but known. But overall, even without the serrations, this is an unusual blade (but less unusual than some of the ones in Tirri!).

North India is a good best guess. Even if the original handle was something different, that's still a good guess.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yep the hilt is of definite Indian form, the fullering just remineds me of some Turk kilijs i've seen, usually examples where the blade widens where the false edge begins in the front quarter of the blade as this blade does. The kohftari work on the hilt seems in very good shape, looks to be 70-80% intact. Its certainly possible that the blade could be married up to a more recent hilt. Given the region where the hilt predominates, there was certainly plenty of interaction and trade between cultures and the practice of rehitling blades can be found all over the world ( many good kaskara have older European blades ).
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Karl Schlesien





Joined: 15 Sep 2010

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 4:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can you tell me what is the filler material between hilt and blade? Is it the metal lead?


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Bernard Delor




Location: France
Joined: 19 Nov 2010

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2010 3:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Karl Schlesien wrote:
Can you tell me what is the filler material between hilt and blade? Is it the metal lead?


It seems to be some kind of modern epoxy sealant. Inside the hilt some of the ancient sealant remains :



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Greg Thomas Obach
Industry Professional



Location: Elliot lake
Joined: 17 Dec 2003

Posts: 59

PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2010 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

it does look like a modern glue/epoxy... but the old resin pitch mix can sometimes look grey aswell.. ... i've seen a dark variety and a lighter grey type


to me, it does look all Indian ... very nice blade and handle... ! and sweet fullers

just a small correction in my opinion... there is nothing Persian about the blade.... its odd to see so the title Indo/Persian.... as both cultures are very distinct and do not deserve a blanket title in any respect... its like saying thats a "roman/viking" sword....


Greg
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Bernard Delor




Location: France
Joined: 19 Nov 2010

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2010 8:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Thomas Obach wrote:
just a small correction in my opinion... there is nothing Persian about the blade.... its odd to see so the title Indo/Persian.... as both cultures are very distinct and do not deserve a blanket title in any respect... its like saying thats a "roman/viking" sword....
Greg


Yes you are right ! I have changed the title.
The blade also has an indian taste to me. Maybe I should check for wootz after all. The fact is that I wouldn't like to change anything to it's current aspect, so...

Another thing that looks strange to me : the koftgari on the handle is still almost there, but it is totally gone on the pommel. I would have been waiting just for the opposite, as the hzndle is more exposed to wear than pommel !


Last edited by Bernard Delor on Sat 20 Nov, 2010 10:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Greg Thomas Obach
Industry Professional



Location: Elliot lake
Joined: 17 Dec 2003

Posts: 59

PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi B

there is a way to tell without etching the blade..

check the spine of the blade... ... many times wootz blade will have these long lines on the spine.. they look like cracks (but are actually air bubbles from the top of the ingots..
- sometime they are hidden ...by hammering soft iron wire in the grooves and sanding them flush... ... still it is possible to see the hints of the long lines on the spine of the blade...
- the bubbles are the reason that you alway forge the ingot and leave the top as the spine of the sword..

oh... and not all wootz swords have this... some are perfect

and no, it doesn't affect the performance of the blade....

myself i'd do the same...and keep it mint... again very nice piece !

Greg
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Bernard Delor




Location: France
Joined: 19 Nov 2010

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2010 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had a very close look at the blade. I found some forging flaws, but I can tell for shure it's not wootz, neither pattern welded steel.
Thanks to all of you for comments and advices.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,492

PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2010 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Thomas Obach wrote:

just a small correction in my opinion... there is nothing Persian about the blade....


I agree.

Greg Thomas Obach wrote:
its odd to see so the title Indo/Persian.... as both cultures are very distinct and do not deserve a blanket title in any respect... its like saying thats a "roman/viking" sword....


Indo-Persian would be a poor blanket title for all Indian and Persian cultures, but it has it's proper place and use. Politically, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. Culturally, their cultures. Arms-wise, their arms.

Shouldn't be a blanket term, but a restrictive term, to exclude south India, and other parts of non-Persianised India. In practice, it sees use as a blanket term, a descriptive term that expresses ignorance rather than knowledge.

(The relevant dynasties were Afghan and Central Asian Turks, not Persian, but they were Persianised, using Persian as their literary language (and court language?).)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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