Talwar with Mamluk style blade decor
Overall length

75.8 cm

Blade length

65 cm

Blade thickness

Base 4 mm

Middle 3.5 mm

5 cm from tip 2.2 mm

Blade width

Base 36.5 mm

Middle 33 mm

5 cm from tip 21 mm

Weight without scabbard

755 grams

Point of balance

14.5 cm from hilt

Materials

Iron, steel, silver, pitch.

Origin

Punjab region, north India.

Dating

18th or 19th century

Provenance

From a European collector

Price €750, -

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Introduction

There is a small group of Indian talwar with blades that are chiseled in mamluk form. We have had one with a purely Indian talwar style blade that was related to the Maharajah of Ratlam, dated 1744-1755 with a hilt dated 1759, which was sold earlier this year. Another, with a much more Persian style blade, is listed here which has a hilt that points towards Punjab manufacture.

 

Shamshir with Mamluk style blade comparison with early Mamluk blade
Our other Mamluk style sword, compared to an early Mamluk sword blade in the Topkapı Palace Museum collection.

 

This example

A third example in this style. This one is simpler and more humble in execution than the preceding pieces. The wide blade is of typical Indian talwar form, with a moderate curve, two narrow grooves on each side and an edge bevel that starts a few centimeter from the hilt.

Like with the others, the Mamluk style blade decor only features on the right side of the blade.

 

Mamluk style blade decor on talwar

 

On the little square it is written in Arabic:

لا فتى إلا علي لا سيف إلا ذو الفقار‎

lā fatā ʾillā ʿAlī; lā sayf ʾillā Ḏū l-Fiqār

"There is no hero like Ali; There is no sword like Dhu-l-Fiqar"

 

Along the line, in Urdu:

Shåh-e Mardån, Shir-e Yazdån, Ghove-ye parvardegår

"The king of men, lion of God, power of the Lord"

 

Mamluk style talwar inscription 2

 

On the left side of the blade is written:

"Ali is the friend of God's sword"
(Where the word for sword seems to be talwar.)1

and, again;

لا فتى إلا علي لا سيف إلا ذو الفقار‎

lā fatā ʾillā ʿAlī; lā sayf ʾillā Ḏū l-Fiqār

"There is no hero like Ali; There is no sword like Dhu-l-Fiqar"

 

Hilt

It is mounted in a talwar hilt of classic Punjabi style. Hallmarks of this style are the slightly forward inclined guard quillons, and the comparatively fat bellied grip section. They are often of hakim khāni style where there is no pronounced V between grip and guard.

The hilt comes with traces of silver decoration, now largely gone through handling but the crosshatched underground remains to be seen. The work consisted of decorative borders and roundels.

 

Conclusion

A relatively humble fighting talwar but with very rare Mamluk style blade decorations that put it in a rare and illustrious group of pieces with similar decor. It is not the first of this group to have hints towards Punjabi origin.

The text is very Islamic in nature but references to the mythical sword of Ali, Ḏū l-Fiqār, are also found on Hindu swords at times, such as our Rajput talwar from Ratlam referenced above. A result of centuries of interaction between Hindus and Muslims in northern India.

 

Notes
1. Thanks to Abdallatif Ali Alnakkas for helping with the translation of this part.

Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling
Talwar with Mamluk style blade chiseling

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