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Old 18th February 2022, 10:50 AM   #31
fernando
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Default One other angle of it ...

Looks like is beyond doubt that hunting talwars are not meant to be an operational weapon for hunting but a 'show off' item decorated with hunting scenes.
Still one thing to figure out is, why the massive quantity of these blades depict animal versus animal hunting scenes and not animals being hunted by men, be them their chasers (shikharis and mir shikaran) or their mounted hunter lords. Would there be a motive for such strong tendency ?
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Old 18th February 2022, 01:47 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Looks like is beyond doubt that hunting talwars are not meant to be an operational weapon for hunting but a 'show off' item decorated with hunting scenes.
Still one thing to figure out is, why the massive quantity of these blades depict animal versus animal hunting scenes and not animals being hunted by men, be them their chasers (shikharis and mir shikaran) or their mounted hunter lords. Would there be a motive for such strong tendency ?
Hi Fernando,
I was wondering the same thing. In decorated hunting related European examples it either shows the quarry being hunted and/or the huntsman engaged in the hunt. The lack of evidence re edge sharpening may not be definitive but certainly points towards a more ceremonial/presentation and 19thC touristic possibility.
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Old 18th February 2022, 05:34 PM   #33
Jim McDougall
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Originally Posted by mariusgmioc View Post
A quite compelling argument that these tulwars with elaborately decorated blades were NOT actually used for hunting but were merely presentation swords is the condition of their edge.

All the blades of this kind that I have seen, as well as the examples presented here, do not show any traces of use and resharpening on their edges, but have the intact, original edge geometry.
I agree with this observation, in accord with the blades not being sharpened, but I cannot say that I have personally seen or handled these blades myself to concur. Mostly the suggestion that these were 'ceremonial' or diplomatic gifts in js my own opinion based on the cited material from references in my previous posts, as well as personal conversations with some of the authors of references on Indian arms who note that these were not for use in the hunt.

As I have tried to illustrate in previous posts, the use of animals in motif panels on blades in many cases were toward allegorical or metaphoric symbolism important culturally, not just representing hunting scenes.
As shown also previously, the themes changed in Lahore for example from animals and hunting with Mughal rule, to figures in Hindu deities with Rajput and Sikh takeover, but still in similar 'Persian' style.

The blades being decorated, again, as I noted earlier, the bestowal of highly ornate weapons was a keen distinction at durbars and welcoming events, and such weapons worn by courtiers signified status and regal approval (Paul, 1995).

In Europe, the custom of presenting elaborately decorated and sometimes ostentatious weapons as awards and for meritorious purposes to military officers is well known. As far as I have known, these were never carried into battle, let alone the regular dress swords worn by officers.

In European gentry, the hunting sword was often a fashionable item, which is why they have often been classified as 'court swords' (Dean, 1929). However the motifs vary and often were focused on talismanic and heraldic or regalia oriented themes.
Much as with durbars the hunt was typically associated with gathering and interacting of key figures where fashion and status were of utmost importance and weaponry was of course a means of signifying that.

With these kinds of arms, the themes and motifs are typically symbolic and decorative in my opinion, and not designs applied to a weapon to be specifically used for hunting. The themes were either toward cultural or perhaps even dynastic symbolism (Mughals) or religious as with the Hindi deities as noted. In many of the scenes depicted with animal vs. animal, these are possibly to be allegorically intended as certain animals have certain representations in ethnic cultures. In many cases, animals were trained, even to hunt, as with cheetahs in the Mughal courts.
The examples with elephants and humans tumbling obviously may represent mahouts and their matters with these, which ironically were often used in the hunt.

Tipu Sultan, who used the sobriquet, "The Tiger of Mysore", often was depicted allegorically as a fierce tiger, attacking and killing Europeans in various material work, and used 'bubris' (tiger stripes) to decorate most of his weaponry and uniforms etc.

In Persia the lion, and the mythical bird, the Simorgh, are used on blades in these stylings.

As always, the commercialism toward weaponry which seems to have originated in the Victorian period has severely clouded the history of these and many weapon forms.

Last edited by Jim McDougall; 18th February 2022 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 19th February 2022, 02:13 PM   #34
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Default Of E. Jaiwant Paul ...

The only part missing here is when decorated weapons, not being meant to the activity of hunting but a product of traditional culture applied in Indian swords since primordial times, were given at a contemporary (?) stage the name of "hunting (Shikargah) swords".
(Text extract and picture courtesy E. Jaiwant Paul, ARMS AND ARMOUR 2005).


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Old 22nd February 2022, 05:57 AM   #35
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Default Hunting Tulwar (Tulwar Shikargah)

Hi Guys

Jens has suggested I look at these references but sadly I only have Volume 1, if anyone has Volume 2 of Memorials of the Jeypore Exhibition and can scan the following references I would be most obliged.

"Vol. II contains weapons, vases and other stuff. Vol. III only vases and other stuff.
Amongst the weapons in vol. II I found three of these hunting swords. The text is from vol. I.
Plate XXIII, no. 1. Hunting sword, Shikárgah. Steel. Figures of animals, birds, and foliage in high relief on both sides of the blade; hilt an knuckle guard steel. (Karauli Armoury).
Plate XXVIII, no. 4. Hunting sword, Shikárgah. The reverse of Plate XXIII, 1. (Karauli Armoury).
Plate XXIX, no. 4. Hunting sword, Shikárgah. or Sirohi gaj bail. Hunting scenes in high relief on the blade. (Ulwar Armoury).
Plate XXXIX, no. 3. Hunting sword, Shikárgah, with large curve. Covered on both sides, with figures of animals and birds in relief outlined in gold."

I have just received Fighting, Hunting, Impressing Arms and Armour from the Islamic World 1500-1850 and this does contain some information in relation to these Hunting Tulwar (Tulwar Shikargah). I still have 5 books on the way so hopefully these will asist.

Cheers Cathey

Cheers Cathey
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Old 26th February 2022, 12:38 AM   #36
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Default Shikargah

Hi Norman

Thankyou for raising the issue of European Hunting swords of which I have a growing collection. I think the point you raise is more than valid and one I will pursue in my research. If wealthy or highly ranked individuals owned and used very elaborate hunting swords in Europe, I am not sure we can preclude the same practice in the east out of hand.

Even tourist pieces are usually not created in a vacuum, they are based on something that originally had a purpose. I have also previously discarded these heavily engraved swords as mere tourist pieces until I found that they are not as prolific as you would expect and the high-quality examples in watered steel held in important collections has also caused me to rethink my position.

With regard to the sword I own, I have the advantage of being able to compare it to other high quality Tulwars in my collection and also high quality early European swords. Apart from having a serviceable edge this sword is well balanced in the hand and appears to be as functional as my other horseman’s swords. Was it used as a hunting sword or just a ceremonial piece, I have no definitive proof at this stage, and perhaps never will, however I also have no evidence to the contrary? I think the next avenue to explore will be the history of hunting in the East rather than simply relying on available arms and armour related texts.

This will certainly be an interesting area to dedicate some research to and I have been told by a far more experienced collector in this field that this has not been attempted in any detail previously and his view is that it is a gap that should be addressed.

Norman would you be so kind as to send me some high-resolution pictures of your shield, preferably on a white background. You can send these me via the Heritage Arms Society email: heritage.arms.society@gmail.com.

Jim has kindly offered to assist me with this project and I am sure his attention to detail and due diligence will keep me from going to far off track.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 26th February 2022, 02:39 AM   #37
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Default East meets West or Vice a versa

Hi Guys

Just to confuse things a little more, this Hunting Sword is Spanish but heavily influenced by the Moors. It was the late Claude Blair that confirmed this connection and identified SAN RoqE on the blade as Saint Săo Roque the Patron Saint of Dogs.

This sword is difficult to date as it is the only example I have come across, however Claude believed it to be Circa 1810.
Nationality: Probably Cordoba, Argentina?
Overall Length: 62.4 cm (24.6 inches)
Blade length: 46.5 cm (18.3 inches)
Blade widest point: 4.5 cm (1.8 inches)
Marks, etc: Blade engraved decoration to 2/3rds and the name SAN RoqE. Decoration includes dear, standing man with hat, double headed eagle and ˝ man with hat as well as decorative foliage.

Description
HUNTING SWORD Hispanic origin circa 1800 (Cordoba, Argentina?). Purchased by the previous owner from an antique shop in London in 1949. Ornate silver hilt includes a carved horn dog at the top of the grip connected to the lower end of grip by a silver chain. Silver work to leather scabbard, end missing. All silver fitting very tight and well made excellent quality. Double-headed eagle is included among the complicated decoration deeply chiselled into the blade. The name SAN RoqE [San Roque] is the Spanish form of that of the French saint known in English and French as “Saint Roch”. He was very popular, and many churches and religious institutions were dedicated to, or named after him.

General Remarks
General workmanship is extremely fine and typical of European hunting swords; however its provenance is somewhat mysterious in that the design and look is Spanish, but with a distinct Moorish flavour.

When considering the name SAN RoqE on the blade it is interesting to note that there is a small city called San Roque in Colombia, and there is silver in Colombia, men with hats, deer and eagles. Regarding the dog in the hilt, this may relate to the legend of Saint Săo Roque which says that when Săo Roque was contaminated with the plague, he retired to the forest, and only survived because a dog brought him daily a piece of bread. In some countries this Saint is considered the patron of dogs.

The piece has a very strong Moorish or oriental flavour, both in the shape of the sword, as in the decoration. Acid etching (aqua forte) decoration is thoroughly used on the blade of this sword, and this technique was of common use in Toledo, were artisans were taught to use it centuries ago from the Moor invaders.

It was through correspondence with the late Claude Blair that the Spanish origin, combined with Moorish influence was confirmed. This sword despite being very ornate does show signs of period use.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 26th February 2022, 03:21 PM   #38
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This is a fascinating example, and I know I have seen one either similar or perhaps this very sword in references someplace (it'll drive me nuts til I find it). The example I recall had that same SAN RoqE inscription.
I am thinking it may have been seen in "The Lore of Arms" (William Reid, 1920/1984 repr) but dont have it at hand. I know I included it in notes on Spanish weapons I was compiling.

The Moorish distinction is well noted, and what it most interesting is the 'yataghan' type forward curve, the wire wrapped grip neck (as on Islamic swords such as shamshir, and often on hangers etc. ). This feature has been seen on Spanish colonial swords in the central and south American sphere.
Note the 'karabela' hilt nimcha which is Arab but circulated throughout Mediterranean regions and into the Spanish sphere through trade routes in their colonies in Morocco.

I think the Cordoba, Argentina attribution is correct, as this resembles the machete like knife/sword known as the 'facon' in these South American regions.
The allegoric zoomorphic 'dog head' seems in accord with the San Roque legend.
Note the resemblance in the rearward extension of the blade at forte, resembling those of many facon.
Similar machete type swords with these kinds of zoomorphic pommels are known in Central American and tropical Mexican regions as well.
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Old 26th February 2022, 04:53 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey View Post
... I think the next avenue to explore will be the history of hunting in the East rather than simply relying on available arms and armour related texts.

This will certainly be an interesting area to dedicate some research to and I have been told by a far more experienced collector in this field that this has not been attempted in any detail previously and his view is that it is a gap that should be addressed....
Will this one be useful ?

http://thelastwilderness.org/wp-cont...a-Chimalgi.pdf


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Old 26th February 2022, 06:24 PM   #40
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Hi,
A relevant passage from the article that Fernando highlighted.

"The hunt was masterminded by a group of local hunters called ‘shikharis’, which was headed by a ‘mir shikaran’ or the head shikari."

An Indian painting 19thc.

An Indian steel bow.

Regards,
Norman.
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Old 26th February 2022, 06:26 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Cathey View Post
Hi Norman

Norman would you be so kind as to send me some high-resolution pictures of your shield, preferably on a white background. You can send these me via the Heritage Arms Society email: heritage.arms.society@gmail.com.

Cheers Cathey
Hi Cathey,
No problem.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 26th February 2022, 06:32 PM   #42
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Hi,
This should be of interest. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/30963
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 26th February 2022, 08:20 PM   #43
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Addendum to my post #38,
I found some notes referring to that San RoqE inscription and a rough sketch of an apparent example I was looking at with an oddly shaped grip, the same type of 'choil' form at blade forte below grip neck.
These seem to be an atavistic form in the style of Mediterranean dirks, which are often inscribed and with high relief scenes on blades, and the blade with this feature which has often been termed the 'Mediterranean notch'.

While obviously this is a more a sword than dirk, it is atavistic in recalling the forward curved form called falcata (or macheira) as an Iberian sword of 3rd-4th c.
Online entries refer to these as 'la falcata de Almedinilla' near Cordoba in Andalusian Spain. Andalusia was of course the Moorish region until the Reconquista of 15th c. but that heritage remains. In entries concerning the village of Almedinilla, it is noted that a unique feature culturally there is the use of hunting scenes decoratively used on curtains etc.
While perhaps not pertinent, seemed worthy of note.

These examples are of the falcata type, and seem to have often favored stylized horse head pommels.

Cathey, just to add more........nada in the Reid book, so still no idea where I saw the other example.
From, "Gauchos: The Vanishing Frontier" R.Slatte, 1992 p.74

"...all Gauchos carried a sheathed knife, or facon, ranging up to 27" in length, thrust through the back in tirador (belt). "
"..this sword like knife was repeatedly outawed because of the mahy murders committed by facon wielding Gauchos, and shrank to a more modest length by end of 19th c,.
Although firearms became more common during the last quarter of the century, the facon remained the favored weapon"


Of course, this deviates from the shikargar theme here, but as the scope is expanding further, and chiseled blades are discussed just wanted to add these notes.

In considering the scope of the hunt as practiced in the 'East', I am wondering if this is just Middle East and Asia, including Orient, or in the regions formerly regarded as 'Moorish' such as Andalusia.
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Old 27th February 2022, 07:58 PM   #44
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Red face Spelling San Roque ...

You will notice that the skilled (but possibly illiterate) engraver failed to include the 'U' in San Roque's name. But if you look twice, it is visible that he later became aware of the flaw and included a tiny 'V' in the name, as in the old days the 'U' was written with a 'V'.


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