Item: is709

Exceptional 18th C. Indian Tulwar with wootz blade and thick gold cartouche



    An exceptional and elegant example of an 18th century Indian tulwar with a bulbous handle and a unique crossguard that has been identified as Sikh in origin (Rawson), the finely crafted blade of the piece features multiple fullers and gold inlays at its forte. The ricasso on one side includes a thick and detailed inlaid gold cartouche. The piece in its entirety extends 34 inches, while the blade is 28 inches long.

    Indian wootz steel technology comes from the Tamil Nadu region, employing a pattern of sheets consisting of micro carbides within a pearlite matrix. This form of the metal was considered the strongest in the world during this time period, given its durability and efficacy at piercing iron and steel armor.

    The Sikh Empire was a significant power in sub-continent, emerging under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh near Punjab. The empire lasted from 1799 to 1849, whereby at its apex it extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to western Tibet in the east, and from Mithankot in the south to Kashmir in the north. This was final region the British conquered during its coloni-zation of India in the 19th century.

    • Grewal, J. S. (1990). The Sikhs of the Punjab, Chapter 6: The Sikh empire (1799–1849). The New Cambridge History of India. Cambridge University Press.