Category: tulwar

A little assemblage of Indian weapons that could have been used in the war of 1857-8, including an HEIC percussion musket as used by many Indian sepoys, two hide dhal (shields) and a basket hilted firanghi sword (probably circa 1800 in origin, but they were still shown in use in the 1850s).

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Colonel Probyn and the Officers of the 11th Bengal Cavalry, 1863

This photo illustrates the great diversity in uniforms that could be found in any given cavalry regiment in Indian following the Mutiny in 1857-58. This diversity extends to the swords used by the officers and men. We can see the three-bar hilt of a Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Sword, a “Hindu basket hilt” of a khanda or firangi, “mameluke” hilts, non-regulation “Scinde Horse” pattern hilts (scroll hilts), and hilts that are very similar to Pattern 1796 Cavalry Swords.

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Indian Tulwar with Complex Hilt, 18th or 19th Century

The single-edged watered steel blade of curved form, impressed mark near forte, the steel hilt with button quillons, open triangular outer-guard pierced with two gold-damascened ducks at the base and rising to a stylised duck’s head finial, curved tapering knuckle-guard with duck head finial, compressed spherical pommel with bud-shaped finial on a petalled mount, decorated in gold overlay with floral sprays and bands containing flower heads, undulating vines and chevron designs. 95 cm long.

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Indian Tulwar, 19th Century 

The hilt is of steel with short quillons (tholies), the front one supporting a a knuckle guard (paraj), and a large saucer-shaped pommel (katori). The surface is decorated in gold koftgari with sprays of flowers and foliage and bands of chevron pattern in thick gold outlined in plain steel against a gold ground. The blade is single edged and curved, of watered steel, narrow at the hilt and widening slightly to the point. It has two narrow grooves (mang) close to the rounded spine, a short ricasso, and a bevelled edge. The scabbard is of wood covered with crimson velvet, with a chape and throat of gilt copper. The baldrick is of crimson silk webbing with greem borders and scrolling foliage decoration in gold thread, with a buckle of gilt copper.

Dimensions: length: 87.8 cm (34.5 in), blade length: 75.2 cm (29.6 in) Weight: 1.16 kg (2 lb 9 oz)

© Royal Armouries

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Indian Mutiny and William Hodson Display at the National Army Museum in London

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Indian Tulwar, 18th-19th Century

An 18th or 19th century Indian tulwar sword with silver koftgari decoration to the hilt. Curved blade of good quality construction, 29 inches (74cm) long, with ‘eyelash’ engraving.

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“Soldier of the Rajah Coming to the Sword Sharpener of Ahmedabad” by Edwin Lord Weeks (1849 – 1903)

Indian Sword Blade Types:

A very useful guide from Matthew Forde of Forde Military Antques and antique_steel on Instagram.

When The Indian ‘Tulwar’ Sword Is Not Curved

Indian tulwars (swords) are normally thought of as curved. But sometimes they aren’t!

Curved swords and how to cut with them – kilij, shamshir, tulwar, sabre