Item: ia578

Fantastic 17th C. Indian Firangi Sword with massive blade and watered steel wootz hilt, Ex. Robert Hales Collection



    This is a remarkable example of an Indian firangi of very high quality. Spanning nearly 50 inches in length, the wootz watered steel hilt is chiseled and overlaid with gold koftgari in very nice condition. The blade is European, marked at the base with Latin and Arabic lettering, serving likely as an attribution to the owner. The broadsword blade is one of the grandest encountered on a firangi, while proportioned well by the oversized hilt - also in excellent condition. Increas-ingly rare to find, these swords feature extraordinary detail.

    Featuring a pattern of sheets of micro carbides within a tempered martensite or pearlite matrix, Indian wootz steel originated in modern day Tamil Nadu region of the sub-continent. Edrisi, the 12th century Arab traveler, considered this steel as the best in the world because of its superior durability and capacity to penetrate armor. Koftgari is defined as the art of the inlay of gold and silver wire on iron objects. A technol-ogy refined by the Sikligar community, they produced intricate yet effective armor and weapons for warriors of the Mughal empire. After the Mughal invasion of the time period, Persian craftsmen introduced the art of koftgari to the region. Patronages from Rajasthan Kings, among other royalty, further forged the evolution of this craftsmanship.

    Reference: Hales and Barrett 1984, #271