A Rajput Tulwar for comment and help with translation (again)
Hi all, I have another piece to share, this time a nice tulwar sword.
It is probably familiar to some of you because it has been sitting on a well known dealer's site for quite a while before I decided to acquire it.
It has an earlier form of rajput hilt and a very nice wootz blade with a scarf weld at the forte.
On the flats there are several inscriptions applied in punched dot technique, which are usually attributed to the bikaner armoury and another inscription in perso-arabic script chiseled into the spine.
Since I cannot read hindu scripts at all and I cannot deciver the rough (Urdu, Persion or other?) inscription on the spine either I again want to ask for help from you guys.
I am not able to translate the Gujarati script, but I believe this example belongs to the Bikaner armory in Fort Chintamani. Confiscated weapons were numbered for the Bikaner armory with these dot-work markings.
True, though usually there is only a sigle inscription. This one has a whole lot more written on it, it would be great to find out more about it.
I dont think there is more than one text inscription on the blade - if it is a text inscription, as I cant read it.
I am, however, surprised to see there are two of the 'starting' Bikaner marks - the rest are numbers. As we dont know how these numbers were used in the armoury, we can only read the numbers, and start to wonder.
That the Bikaner mark has been used twice it unusual, and it seems as if it has been 'written' by different people.
As noted, it is certain this tulwar has been in the Bikaner armory, and perhaps the secondary markings in the typical stippled manner would suggest some administrative protocol in its tenure there.
As Jens has probably studied tulwars and weapons with these markings more than anyone I have known, and well notes that Bikaner markings were typically numbers, it seems doubtful that any textual inscription might be included unless some abbreviated note.
With the 'script' on the spine of the blade, I am inclined to think it may be a kind of 'Arabesque', that is, an 'interpretation' or decorative addition. The script does not seem cohesive or matching letters of either Gurmukhi, Devangari or Urdu....but closest would probably be Urdu, which is written in Nasta'liq.
If applied by someone who did not normally write in this but was copying it this could explain.
As I have understood, a good number of weapons were deaccessed from this armory some years ago and collectors markets well stocked with them.
This is a most interesting example and apparently with some intriguing history with these markings and that scarf weld.
Thank you for the replies!
I haven't even noticed that there are two Bikaner-specific lines present in that whole jumble. Perhaps the sword was 'on loan' for a while and had to be reshelfed when it came back to the armoury, who knows?
As for the inscription on the spine, I am sure I can recognize some roughly executed nasta'liq letter groups, but on other 'letters' I'm drawing a blank and there is a conspicious lack of diacritic dots. I assumed this was due to bad hand writing and a lack of pattern recognition on my part, but a pseudo inscription executed by someone illiterate in the script is of course quite possible, which would be a bit disappointing.
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