Pattern welded talwar
This item has been sold.
Overall length

Sheathed 89.3 cm

Sword 85.6 cm

Blade length

73.5 cm

(Tip to center crossguard)

Blade thickness

Base 7 mm

Middle 5.2 mm

Start backedge 4.3 mm

5 cm from tip 3 mm

Blade width

Base 40 mm

Middle 35.5 mm

Start backedge 38 mm

5 cm from tip 23 mm

Weight

991 grams

Point of balance

19 cm

(to center crossguard)

Materials

Sword: iron, steel, gold, resin

Scabbard: wood, silk-velvet, silver, resin

Origin

Kingdom of Marwar, Rajasthan

North India

Dating

Second half 19th century

Provenance

Robert Hales

A British Private collection

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Introduction

Ever since I saw this talwar depicted in Robert Hales' book "Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour; a Lifetime Passion" I was mesmerized by the unique and consistently executed pattern. One day I found myself in Great Britain discussing this very sword with a friend, who casually mentioned he now owned it. Serendipity! We agreed on a price, and the next day, to my own surprise, it was mine.

 

Talwar in book Hales

This talwar on top of the page in
Robert Hales, Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour; a lifetime passion. Page 183.

The description in the book reads:

"435. An Indian tulwar with an exceptional blade. The iron hilt is covered with gold koftgari decoration. The pattern-welded blade is a tour de force of the Indian smith's skills, and exhibits an exceptionally complex design. This pattern may be unique, although gun barrels are occasionally seen with a similar pattern resembling the surface of an orange, cut across the segments. The velvet-covered scabbard has a silver locket and chape. Rajasthan, probably Udaipur, 19th century. See Leo S. Figiel, On Damascus Steel, 1991."

 

The "explosion damascus" talwar

The broad blade with a gentle curve has a raised backedge. It is forged with a high carbon edge plate between two slabs of layered steel, of types that highly contrast after an etch. The slabs are manipulated in a way that they show a striking pattern of what looks like fireworks explosions. It was finished with an etching that created a topography where you can feel the somewhat raised layers. The edge was burnished, as was the custom in the north. Apart from the novel look, the consistency of the pattern is very impressive. 

explosion damascus talwar

The hilt of the Marwar style is mostly associated with the Rathores of  Jodhpur State, but was also made in Udaipur. It has a large pommel plate, blunt spike, peaked hilt profile, and flat ends on quillons and langets. The whole is overlaid with dense koftgari work of sprays of flowers. The style places this piece in the second half of the 19th century. The pommel plate has a blazing sun motif that was popular among the Suryavanshi lineage of Rajputs, of which the Rathores were part.

 

Scabbard

The wooden scabbard is covered with silk velvet and has silver mounts with floral creeper motifs in relatively high relief. It has a small retention chain that goes over the upper quillon of the hilt of the sheathed sword to prevent it from slipping out. The hilt has wear consistent with its use.

 

Condition

The sword is in excellent condition, with only some losses to the gold due to corrosion on the hilt. The scabbard is sound, but the velvet covering is in poor state, with openings on the leading edge and loss of the metal wire covering on the seam on the left side. See photos.

 

Conclusion

This fine talwar was forged with a unique pattern, showing a technical excellence in forging that is rarely seen. Together with the provenance and condition, this is one of the best talwar I've had in my nearly 20 years in this business.

Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar
Spectacular explosion pattern welded talwar

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