Place of Origin: Bandanwara, India
Date: 17th Century
This tulwar’s pattern-welded single-edged blade begins its curve at its halfway-point before narrowing sharply to form the tip. It is marked with a simple mandala: a spiritual representation of the universe rendered geometrically. Along the sword’s spine the number 57 can be read, along with neatly engraved Devanagari script that reads: “Be peaceful two hundred times, dear lord of the twice-born, marked with the Vedas, earth-shatterer...”
This classically Indian hilt is generously decorated with gold koftgari and finished with pronounced silver lotuses that juxtapose the arabesque patterns surrounding them. These elegant and slightly raised floral decorations are similar to the fittings found on the scabbard of a sword in the Jaipur Royal Collection which Robert Elgood dates to the third quarter of the 19th century (see Arms & Armour at the Royal Jaipur Court: The Royal Collection, 2015, no.97, pp.142–143). The Jaipur sword carries a trishul monogram associated with Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, who reigned from 1835 to 1880. Another hilt with similar decorations is attributed by Robert Hales to the early 19th century (see Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime’s Passion, 2013, p.186, no.442).
Complementing the tulwar is a velvet-covered wooden scabbard with koftgari of arabesques and lotuses inlaid into the iron mounts, and seams made up of metal thread.
Provenance: London art market.