A Talwar hilted Wootz Shamshir
North India, Lahore/Punjab – Late 18th to early 19th century
Materials: Steel, Gold, Iron, Resin
A fine ‘talwar‘ hilted ‘shamshir‘ from the Lahore or Punjab region. The ‘shamshir‘ is of Persian origin and is often referred to as ‘lion claw’ due to its heavy curve representing a claw. The grips vary by region and are traditionally fitted with a pistol grip hilt with horn or ivory slabs, full steel or mounted on an Indian ‘talwar‘ hilt such as our example here.
A typical Islamic ‘talwar’ hilt, of ‘Hakim Khani‘ form decorated in koftgari on a blackened background. Representing cartouches filled and surrounded with a floral and foliage design. The knuckle guard is looping into a small knob which is fully decorated as well and functions to catch the opponents blade. The pommel is disc shaped and features a small dome which is also decorated in the same manner. The hilts of these swords were fitted with a kind of resin of which a small residue is still seen in the transition from blade to hilt.
Made of the highly praised Persian crucible steel with a high contrast wootz pattern. The blade has a deep curve, single edge and a slightly rounded spine running down towards the tip. The well visible wootz pattern is consistent throughout the entire blade. The point of balance is approximately 20cm from the forte making it surprisingly easy to handle. The end of the forte of the blade is decorated with crosshatched golden cartouche and a line of ‘Urdu‘ calligraphy running toward the mid section. Although it is partially faded and suffered from pitting, it is still readable.
Condition: Very good, the blade suffered from two old rustspots which are treated, some of the calligraphy is worn on the blade and the sword comes without scabbard. The blade has a small crack which seems to be on the forging line on the spine. The hilt is in good shape, some minor ware and dent due to its age.
Blade spine thickness: 5.5mm
Blade length: 75cm
Total length: 87.5cm
– Worcester Art Museum acc.nr. 2014.460
– Ravinder Reddy’s ‘Arms & Armour of India,Nepal & Sri-Lanka‘
– Peter Dekker’s Mandarin Mansion Glossary
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