Pattern-Welded and Silver Tulwar


The tulwar is the iconic and deadly sword of the Indian Subcontinent. This one has thick silver on the hilt, created using the zarneshan technique of decoration and arranged to form poppies (or perhaps they are sunflowers) that grow up from the chowk. The pommel is generously decorated in a similar fashion. This zarneshan technique is much rarer and often more expensive than the usual types of koftgari found on Indian weaponry as it requires more gold or silver. Certainly, it provides a striking contrast here against the darkness of the surrounding steel. A hilt with similar decorative styles can be seen in the collection of the Royal Armouries. The sweepingly curved blade feels excellent in the hand and shows the lovely, and desirable, grainy swirls of old pattern-welding.

For information about what the Victorian British officers and soldiers thought about fighting against (and with) the tulwar, please see my article.


Matthew FordeComment