Malabar coast brass hilt talwar
Overall length

95.8 cm

Blade length

83 cm

Blade thickness

Base 5.7 mm

Middle 5.6 mm

Start backedge 5.2 mm

5 cm from tip 3.5 mm

Blade width

Base 32 mm

Middle 32 mm

Start backedge 37

5 cm from tip 22 mm

Weight

1146 grams

Point of balance

23 cm from center crossguard

Materials

Iron, steel, brass, silver, resin

Origin

Malabar coast, probably Mysore

South India

Dating

18th-19th century

Provenance

Roy Elvis collection

Price €3800, -

Interested?
Anything similar for sale?

Contact me

Description

A large and interesting brass-hilted talwar from South India. The blade is long and relatively thick, giving it the typical feel of a cavalry saber. It has a long, sharp backedge. This blade geometry was popular among the steppe people and Islamic armies and made its way to South India through the northern invasions.

The blade has a groove just under the spine, a central groove starting some distance after the ricasso and running into the tip, and a short groove on the bottom edge of the ricasso. The blade has several sun-shaped stamps, one on either side of the ricasso, and four on either side of the start of the long backedge.

Hilt

The hilt is made entirely of brass, with remains of silver plating. Brass hilts are often seen on South Indian swords and daggers, a choice probably influenced by the high humidity in this area that made iron more prone to rust.

It has an elegant, vase-like grip, stubby domed quillons and long langets ending in palmette shapes. The blade is further secured by a rivet in the center of the hilt, with a silver ornamental washer. The hilt is further decorated with stylized floral engraving.

Brass talwar hilt

It has an s-shaped knucklebow with a pointed leaf border, terminating in a flower bud, a style associated with the Malabar coast.

Knuckle bow

A curved spike with a threaded bolt holds a three-piece disc pommel.

Hilt unscrewed

 

Provenance

The sword comes from the Roy Elvis (1944- 2022) collection. He was a lovely man and passionate collector who focused on South Indian arms. The sword is published in his book "The Hindu Warrior," catalog number C10. The sword still bears this mark applied with white paint.

Roy Elvis wrote:

The rounded quillons and Trishula languet design is
typical of southern Karnataka and Mysore 18th-century weapons.

 

With the silver plating and screw, I would personally err more toward the 19th century in dating. Dating is by no means an exact science, but I prefer to remain on the safe side. I do fully  agree with the geographical attribution.

 

Notes
1. Roy Elvis; The Hindu Warrior. Self-published. 2020. Page 144.

Brass hilt Malabar talwar
Brass hilt Malabar talwar
Brass hilt Malabar talwar
Brass hilt Malabar talwar
Brass hilt Malabar talwar
Brass hilt Malabar talwar
Brass hilt Malabar talwar

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

Extremely large example with nearly full-length Western blade.

€2750,-

A very good Vijayanagara katar of the 16th century with much of its gold and silver overlay remaining. …

€7500,-

With wide flaring side bars that offer added protection.

€1750,-

An early fighting piece with strong reinforcing langet and broad, cobra shaped tip.

€7200,-

A large example in excellent state of preservation.

€16000,-

Of a style often associated with Tanjore, the seat of the Vijayanagara empire.

€1650,-