A fine 19th century Indian, tulwar hilted tegha executioner sword featuring a gold decorat-ed hilt. The blade features a precious metal koftgari decoration in script that is now some-what worn but still visible. The piece in its entitreity extends 31 inches, while the blade is 3.5 to 3.75 inches wide. Forged for executions, the piece echoes a time of British rule in the sub- continent.
Koftgari or damascening is the art of the inlay of gold and silver wire on iron objects. It was traditionally practiced by the Sikligar community who crafted functional yet exquisitely ornamented weaponry for the Rajput and Mughal warriors. Persian craftsmen introduced the art of koftgari to India following the Mughal ruler’s invasion in 16th century. The patronages of Rajasthan Kings, moreover, nurtured the development of this art form. By the 1800s, the Mughals were nominally still emperors of India, but under the protection of the British. The reduction of artists in the Mughal painting workshops by Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb compelled many craftsmen to seek new patronage outside of imperial circles, thereby fostering new artistic expression in regional courts. Painting at the Hindu Rajasthani courts such as Bikaner, Bundi, and Kota, and at the provincial Muslim courts of Lucknow, Murshidabad, Faizabad, and Farrukhabad, transformed with the introduction of Mughal artists.