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Old 10th June 2020, 08:40 AM   #1
GePi
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Default Another translation request of a stamp on a pulwar blade

Since I got such a quick and expert response on my last post here is another head scratcher.

It concerns a pulwar with a well made blade, which I believe was made in northern India. Besides some imitation european blade markings it also has a stamp at the forte, containing some writing in Arabic script which I cannot make out at all.
I have seen quite a few blades with these kinds of stamps, the most famous probably being the Sword of Dara Shikoh at the V&A. I do not think that I have seen two identical ones.
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Old 10th June 2020, 09:42 AM   #2
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Wow, what a beauty!
And the blade is fantastic. It seems to have the characteristic "Indian ricasso." Pretty sure made in Northern India.
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Old 10th June 2020, 12:48 PM   #3
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WOW!!! is right. Beautiful blade and hilt.
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Old 10th June 2020, 10:35 PM   #4
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Can you send a closer shot of the inscription?
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Old 11th June 2020, 04:05 AM   #5
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Okay, with a whole lot of fiddling I think I managed to trick my cell phone camera into being a bit less crappy for a second, but I don't know if it is enough
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Old 12th June 2020, 12:00 AM   #6
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Don’t think it’s Arabic/Persian. Can’t help with Devanagari or any Indian alphabets I’m afraid
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Old 12th June 2020, 03:28 AM   #7
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Hi,

I don't see there is any Devanagari script in the stamps.


regards,
Bhushan
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Old 12th June 2020, 05:37 AM   #8
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All right, thank you for giving it a shot though.
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Old 12th June 2020, 02:21 PM   #9
Jens Nordlunde
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The stamp may not contain any letters, as it coulld be the sword smiths mark.
I have tulwars with round and square stamps, some of them are with names, but one of them looks more like two men fighting - so no name, but a sword smiths mark.
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Old 12th June 2020, 03:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
The stamp may not contain any letters, as it coulld be the sword smiths mark.
I have tulwars with round and square stamps, some of them are with names, but one of them looks more like two men fighting - so no name, but a sword smiths mark.


It's true for the stamp to the right (I have a similar stamp), but the stamp to the left has letters and even diacritic dots.
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Old 12th June 2020, 04:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
It's true for the stamp to the right (I have a similar stamp), but the stamp to the left has letters and even diacritic dots.


True, that's why I was sure it actually had some meaning. Perhaps it's just nonsensical, made by someone illiterate in the script. I'm pretty sure I have seen indian blades with meaningless inscriptions in latin or pseudo-latin script. Quite strange for a blade of this quality though...
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Old 12th June 2020, 05:28 PM   #12
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I think they are made to look as though they are Arabic/Persian letters, reflecting the prestige associated with Persian swordsmiths, but in fact signify something else. I have seen similar designs, but cannot remember where. Would be interested to see other examples
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Old 12th June 2020, 06:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
I think they are made to look as though they are Arabic/Persian letters, reflecting the prestige associated with Persian swordsmiths, but in fact signify something else. I have seen similar designs, but cannot remember where. Would be interested to see other examples


I actually sifted through my refererence picture collection when I got the sword months ago to compare it to other examples.
I thought I could not get to these because I am away from my home computer right now, but I just remembered that I have all my pictures mirrored on a USB stick that I have with me. Silly me
None of these are in my collection of course, so the magnification is even worse. But you can see they are very diverse, quite a few pulwars among them and one of the rajput tulwars even has a trisula mark.
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Old 12th June 2020, 06:28 PM   #14
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Thanks very much! Interesting mix of Persian and other things made to resemble Persian inscriptions. I recognise Dara Shikoh’s sword from the V&A in there
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Old 12th June 2020, 06:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
Thanks very much! Interesting mix of Persian and other things made to resemble Persian inscriptions. I recognise Dara Shikoh’s sword from the V&A in there


Yep, that picture is better than the one on their website. I think I photographed this one out of one of Robert Elgood's books.
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Old 18th June 2020, 10:00 PM   #16
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As far as I have understood, these cartouches in that same exact location at that quadrant of the blade forte are typically on N.Indian (subsequently also Afghan in those times) swords, and the script is Urdu.
It is compelling to consider possibly an arsenal or makers mark, but I have never seen proof of either.
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Old 21st June 2020, 06:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
As far as I have understood, these cartouches in that same exact location at that quadrant of the blade forte are typically on N.Indian (subsequently also Afghan in those times) swords, and the script is Urdu.
It is compelling to consider possibly an arsenal or makers mark, but I have never seen proof of either.


On that note, look what I just now found while semi-randomly browsing around on instagram.
I find this rather interesting, the only variation is with the characters in the upper right corner. Maybe it is some kind of 'serial number'?
And it is even the same pattern of hilt.
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Old 22nd June 2020, 10:07 AM   #18
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I think that the interpretation by Kwiatek #12 might be correct: it was a prestige thing without any meaning.
This practice is still in use among the Chinese fakers: inscriptions on pseudo- European blades in randomly picked Latin letters. I have also seen a slew of “Russian” shashka-like objects with stamped or deep etched markings in Russian alphabet without any meaning or with gross spelling errors. Those are fakes.


But the blades shown here cannot be labeled as such by any means: they are excellent old fighting examples with small marketing “enhancements”. One step off the “Assadulla” blades clearly dated as 19th century or excellent rapiers marked with names of famous masters. After all, bladesmiths all over had families to feed :-) .That’s why we do not use the word “fake” for them: just mention that the inscription is a more highbrow “spurious”:-)
I would not hesitate for a moment paying good price for any of those.
As a matter of fact I did: a pulwar with a North Indian blade marked with a round " Persian" stamp at the ricasso and, for a good measure, with a "pseudo European" inscription on the blade itself.
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Last edited by ariel : 22nd June 2020 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 22nd June 2020, 03:15 PM   #19
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Red face Anyone?

Sorry to be persistent; but every now and then after we have gotten some new members with language skills I haul this picture out.
Can any of you new guys read this inscription that is partially overlaid with an armory mark?
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Old 23rd June 2020, 03:34 PM   #20
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Rick, I asked a colleague of mine to look at this for you.
It reads: 72 RASDUL. 72 relating to an armory or rack number, while Rasdul is a proper name, likely the owner's.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 04:49 PM   #21
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Hi,
Here is one of mine, a Tulwar with possible Afghan connections, the pinned hilt. Again an inscription that has so far defied identification possibly because it may be just be nonsensical.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 06:50 PM   #22
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Just a side comment: as per Elgood, pinned handles might have originated in S.India/Deccan, and NW India was chock full of them.

You are absolutely correct to be careful about the Afghani origin: pinned handle is perhaps the weakest attributative sign. IMHO, only the “pulwar” handle and the system of blade fullers can provide decent evidence.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 07:30 PM   #23
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Thank you very much Oliver!
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Old 24th June 2020, 11:33 AM   #24
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Hi,
The scabbard fittings might have a bearing on the origin?
Regards,
Norman.
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