A PERSONAL SWORD OF SHAH JAHAN WITH GOLD-DAMASCENED TULWAR HILT
A PERSONAL SWORD OF SHAH JAHAN WITH GOLD-DAMASCENED TULWAR HILT
A PERSONAL SWORD OF SHAH JAHAN WITH GOLD-DAMASCENED TULWAR HILT
A PERSONAL SWORD OF SHAH JAHAN WITH GOLD-DAMASCENED TULWAR HILT
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A PERSONAL SWORD OF SHAH JAHAN WITH GOLD-DAMASCENED TULWAR HILT

THE BLADE EUROPE, CIRCA 1600, THE INSCRIPTION AND MOUNTS INDIA, SECOND QUARTER 17TH CENTURY

Details
A PERSONAL SWORD OF SHAH JAHAN WITH GOLD-DAMASCENED TULWAR HILT
THE BLADE EUROPE, CIRCA 1600, THE INSCRIPTION AND MOUNTS INDIA, SECOND QUARTER 17TH CENTURY
The watered-steel blade with gold-overlaid inscription and marked with the royal parasol (chhattri)
33 ¾ ins. (85.7 cm.) long

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Rahul Kadakia
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Lot Essay

The phrase Sahib Qiran Thani was one used by Shah Jahan on selected items that were for his personal use. For a brief discussion please see the entry under the Shah Jahan dagger, lot 387. A further example of the use of this title is on a ring mounted with a spinel and dated 1643 (V, inv.no.1023-1871; 1982, no.355, p.118). The royal ownership is further confirmed by the overlaid gold parasol, a sign of royalty indicating our tulwar entered the personal armoury of a Mughal emperor or of a direct relative.
The importation and use of foreign blades in India is well documented. Weapons fitted with such blades were referred to as firangis when of European provenance. A sword fitted with a similar European blade with deep fullers, and inscribed with the name of Emperor Aurangzeb on its spine, dated 1083/1673, also marked with the royal parasol, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Alexander, 2015 p.184, cat. 70, 36.25.1591a, b). The form of our blade has been slightly altered, probably in the Mughal armory, converting the form to one very similar to that of the Ottoman and Safavid swords with mostly single edged blade, pronounced yelmen and double-edged tip. The cusped panel at forte probably dates from the same period, again echoing Safavid and Ottoman prototypes.
The koftgari decoration of grapes hanging from interlocking vines forming a geometric lattice were in frequent use on hilts in the 17th century. Robert Hales attributes to the late 17th century two tulwars mounted with similar gold-decorated hilts, one with rows of blooming carnations and the other with repeating floral cartouches (Hales, 2013, p. 162). For a closely related sword please see the following lot.

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