Fine Sindh matchlock musket
Overall length

141 cm

Barrel length

96 cm

Caliber

13.44 mm / 0.53 inch

Materials

Iron, steel, wood, gold, silver, enamel, leather

Origin

Talpur House of Sindh

(Situated in present-day Pakistan)

Dating

Circa 1820-1840

Price €17500, -

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Introduction

The Talpur house of Sindh was of Baloch origin; their four branches ruled what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan, between 1783 until their defeat by the British in 1843. Their seats of power were in Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas, Tando Muhammad Khan and Khairpur. After 1843, only the Khairpur branch continued as a British Raj princely state. It was incorporated into Pakistan in 1955.

 The Talpur Mirs were known for their fondness of arms and armor, primarily swords and gun barrels. They procured antiques or good contemporary pieces from far and wide and produced their own fine arms.

"The Ameers have agents in Persia, turkey, and Palestine, for the purchase of swords and gun-barrels, and they possess a more valuable collection of these articles than is probably to be met with in any other part of the world." 1

-James Burnes, 1839

"The arms of Sindh are very superior to those of most parts of India, particularly the matchlock-barrels, which are twisted in the Damascus style. The nobles and chiefs procure many from Persia and Constantinople, and these are highly prized, but nearly as good can be made in the country. They are inlaid with gold, and very highly finished." 2

-Captain Postans, 1843

"... they take a very heavy charge, and throw a ball to a great distance." 3

-Edward Archer Langley, 1860

Notes to introduction
1. James Burnes; Narrative of a visit to the court of Sinde at Hyderabad on the Indus. Edinburgh, Bell & Bradfute; London, Longman & Co. 1839. Page 86.
2. Captain Postan; Personal observations on Sindh. Page 103.
3. Edward Archer Langley; Narrative of a residence at the court of Meer Ali Moorad, Vol.2. Hurst and Blackett. London. 1860. Pages 84-85. It concerns Edward Archer Langley's visit to the court of Mir Ali Murad Khan Talpur, who ruled Sindh from 1842-1894.

 

This Sindh matchlock

A very good Sindh matchlock musket. It is built around a twist forged barrel which was etched to a high relief. The barrel is entirely of a round cross-section, with a sharply defined ridge running over most of the top. There is gold overlay at breech and muzzle, and on the rear sight.

Sindh flintlock muzzle

The barrel is rifled with eight grooves and there are eight golden dots at the front of the muzzle.

Sindh flintlock muzzle

 

The barrel is secured to its characteristic wooden stock with silver bands with so-called Multan enamel, named so after the town of Multan in the Punjab, just north of Sindh, where it was thought to have originated. Each mount is made of silver with translucent green and blue enamel.

 

Comparable examples

The Metropolitan Museum in New York has a gun with a rather similar barrel in terms of geometry with the crisp line on top of the barrel, fine twist-forged "damascus" etched to a high relief. It even has the eight dots around an eight-grooved bore.

Metropolitan Museum accession number 36.25.2141. Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935.

Metropolitan Museum accession number 36.25.2141.
Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935.

 

This gun bears an inscription on the top of the breech side of the barrel:

Sarkar Mir Muhammad Nasir Khan Talpur

He was the last of the Sindh mirs to hold significant power. Born in 1804, he was known as a refined gentleman. A follower of the Sufi tradition, and lover of poetry and dance. He made his base in Hyderabad, where he constructed two fortresses. In 1843 lead 30.000 men into battle against the British, but lost and was exiled to Calcutta. He died a year later in Bengal.

Our gun was probably from the same workshop.

 

Condition/restoration

In good condition for age. Some denting to the silver mounts, dings and cracks to the wood. The antique ramrod is associated but matching. The priming pan was lost, so this one was reproduced by Gotscha Lagidse of Atelier Gotscha, based on the priming pan of a similar gun.

Barrel is in very good condition with minimal losses to gold or pattern.

Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel
Fine Sindh matchlock with twist forged barrel and silver mounts with enamel

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