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Old 16th October 2019, 01:41 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default Tulwar info please.

Hi,
I seem to remember getting this sword in a job lot about 10yrs ago and consigning it to the garage along with a few other bits. I found it today during the 25yr clear out, cleaned it up a little, definitely needed a bit of cleaning, and wondered if you could help me with the usual where and when. At first glance before cleaning I thought it was probably a 20thC touristic item and it might still be but as per photos there is evidence of gold work on the blade and possibly on the hilt. The blade is forged and sharp with a makers mark? near the hilt. The resin in the hilt does look to have some age to it. The hilt appears to be cast bronze not brass. Any info or ideas would be helpful.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 16th October 2019, 02:06 PM   #2
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Judging from the photos is difficult, but from what I see there is nothing "touristy" about this blade. Generally the "touristy" stuff is characterised by heavily decorated (mainly etched) blades, without a properly shaped cutting edge with blades of low carbon content that bend easily.

You seem to have a honest 19th century (my guess) Tulwar meant for business (the business being fighting).

While the photos do not appear to show an Indian ricasso, the general shape of the blade appears Indian to my eyes. But of course, better photos including the markings would be very useful.

Many old, rusty Tulwars have wootz blades and yours may be one... but this is a lottery.
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Old 16th October 2019, 02:15 PM   #3
Jens Nordlunde
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Norman, have a look at the form of the attached. On the back of the blade there is an inscription refering to Amir Kamar who ruled in Sind from 1811 to 1828 AD.


Is the makers mark a katar? If yes then I have a surprise for you.
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Old 16th October 2019, 05:57 PM   #4
Norman McCormick
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Hi Guys,
Thanks for all the information and the interest.

Hi Jens,
The mark could very well be the outline of a Katar. The periphery of the mark where it is not protected by the langets is a bit faint, use I guess. I have added another image which I think gives a better view of what's left of the mark. The steel has very little spring, I suspect it would not break if overly bent but would take a set. Better a bent blade than a broken one though. The cast decoration on the langets is noticeably more worn on one side consistent with the sword having been suspended on the left hand side edge down.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Last edited by Norman McCormick : 16th October 2019 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 16th October 2019, 07:35 PM   #5
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What would be the procedure to determine wootz?
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Old 16th October 2019, 08:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mross
What would be the procedure to determine wootz?


Polish it, then etch it, on a small area. If yes, then the whole blade.

I have made a thread about this long ago.

Here:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21732
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Old 16th October 2019, 09:33 PM   #7
Jens Nordlunde
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Long ago I read somewhere, that in north west India no contract or deal was signed without the drawing of a katar. To this comes, should should anyone not keep to the deal, he should comit suiside - ok, it mostly came to a cut on the arm - but some had several cuts!
The pictures shown below are, I am sure from the forum, but I dont know to whom the sword belongs.
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Old 16th October 2019, 09:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Long ago I read somewhere, that in north west India no contract or deal was signed without the drawing of a katar. To this comes, should should anyone not keep to the deal, he should comit suiside - ok, it mostly came to a cut on the arm - but some had several cuts!
The pictures shown below are, I am sure from the forum, but I dont know to whom the sword belongs.


The marking appears to be a Katar, albeit somehow different from the one in your example. However, drawing a katar is one thing and puncing/engraving one on the ricasso of a blade is something different. Anyhow, a very interesting story. It would be great if you remember/find the source.


The presence of this marking appears to confirm the Indian origin of the blade.

It is a real pity there are no documented sources regarding the Indian swordsmihs & armory marks.

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Old 16th October 2019, 10:36 PM   #9
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The upper pommel is concave: either NW India or Afghanistan.
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Old 17th October 2019, 05:23 PM   #10
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Long ago I read somewhere, that in north west India no contract or deal was signed without the drawing of a katar. To this comes, should should anyone not keep to the deal, he should comit suiside - ok, it mostly came to a cut on the arm - but some had several cuts!
The pictures shown below are, I am sure from the forum, but I dont know to whom the sword belongs.



I recall our discussions and observations on this Jens and it was years ago!
Egerton, (1880, p.137):
Notes that before 1835 no deed or agreement was binding unless guaranteed by the mark of the katar, and if broken required 'traga' (dramatically suicide, but realistically simply blood drawing). The bards of Gujerat were guardians of 'traga' and seldom ever appeared without the katar. "...a representation of which was scrawled beside their signatures, and rudely engraved on their monumental stones"

This entry refers to the people of Kathiawar and specifically the Kattees of Gujerat.
These regions were south of Afghanistan, Sind and Baluchistan but still effectively part of the 'Northwest' sphere so understandably likely to have features of the swords of these areas.
It seems also understandable that these 'katar' marks on these blades might be associated with these Kattee's and their keen use of the katar symbol.

I only added this detail as I think it is perhaps key in the character and possible classification of this tulwar , as Jens has well noted.
Truly a remarkable example Norman, and well parallels the one Jens has entered in comparison.
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Old 17th October 2019, 08:30 PM   #11
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Hi Jim, Jens et al,
Many thanks for your insight and interest in this piece. It just goes to show that everything requires a little investigation before jumping to conclusions. I hadn't really looked closely at the sword before consigning it to the garage pile but it turns out that it has an interesting tale to tell after all.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 17th October 2019, 09:52 PM   #12
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Thank you Jim for clarying the quote:-).
Norman, you are welcome:-).
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Old 18th October 2019, 03:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Thank you Jim for clarying the quote:-).
Norman, you are welcome:-).



Quid pro quo Jens, for the many years of sharing key data, examples, ideas and helping me learn on Indian arms.
Norman, pretty exciting find buried in your trove there!!! What else you got stashed in that garage???
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Old 18th October 2019, 04:33 PM   #14
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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.
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Old 18th October 2019, 05:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
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.
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Old 19th October 2019, 05:04 PM   #16
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Old 19th October 2019, 05:22 PM   #17
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Just flipping back a few pages in library viewing http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5748
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Old 19th October 2019, 09:21 PM   #18
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It is an interresting link Ibrahiim, but unfortunately the markings of the Indian weapons seem to be far more complicated than this.
I am researching it on and off, but I still have a long way to go, before I can say - now I really have news.
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