Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Although there, in the last years, have been published a number of books on Indian arms, we still know very little about the trade/production and decoration/re-decoration.
Some is known, but a lot is still missing, like some of the markings on the blades. Were they made at the time, or were they made later, if yes, when?
We will, no doubt, move on in our knowledge, but it will be slow, and with some uncertainty untill we find enough evidence to be able to say - that is how it was.
Very well said Jens, and through the years we have often tried to move forward with observing and trying to classify such things with Indian arms. At best, the arms themselves are often enigmatic let alone the decoration, but the markings such as these curiously placed 'katar' (?) and others defy explanation.
We have tried to determine arsenal marks many times, and aside from a couple we somewhat isolated, Bikaner (and its stipled dot patterns) was the only one definitely identified. In that instance, we can be relatively certain many, if not most of the arms there had the markings added later, as they were obviously captured (the Adonis cache largest) and marked as stored.
The only means we have of doing this is to examine examples with like markings, and with some consistency, hopefully some 'Rosetta weapon' (the linguistic breakthrough) with provenance will give us the answer to the location or armory.
Many of the marks seem established as 'talismanic', such as the trimurti (three dots) which are often found in strategic locations on the blade. These may well have been added at the time the blade was made. Many marks on blades were probably placed at manufacture as they alluded to certain quality, magic or power in the blade itself. These were selling points for the blade which was locally hilted for clients .
As we know, most references on arms, including Indian arms, steer away from subjective analysis of markings, decoration or elemental features.
Robert Elgood's "Hindu Arms & Ritual" is the first reference as far as I have known to reach into metaphysical and more subjective elements in weapons, in this case Indian arms. Aside from that, the only such attention (I have been aware of)that has been afforded weapons and the subjects of religious and supernatural applications has been in the world of the keris.