The Provenance of My Archaeological Artifacts
Two Swords from India - Early 1900s
Indian Sentries, 1902
These swords are also called ''Talwar'' in Hindi. When the Muslims invaded Northern India, they easily subdued the armies that were defending the northern province of Kashmir. One of the reasons why the Muslims swept so easily over the Indian armies was because they had superior weapons. The curved sword was balanced in such a way that it could be easily maneuvered while on horseback.
If the Indian armies were going to repel the invading hordes, they were going to need to learn how to use these special swords. They took their pre-existing swords and shortened them considerably so that they were smaller and more maneuverable. The outer edge was very sharp and when thrown it would slash the enemy.
The talwar was used by both cavalry and infantry. The grip of the talwar is cramped and the prominent disc of the pommel presses into the wrist if attempts are made to use it to cut like a conventional sabre. These features of the talwar hilt result in the hand having a very secure and rather inflexible hold on the weapon, enforcing the use of variations on the very effective "draw cut". The fact that the talwar does not have the kind of radical curve of the shamshir indicates that it could be used for thrusting as well as cutting purposes. The blades of some examples of the Talwar widen towards the tip. This increases the momentum of the distal portion of the blade when used to cut; when a blow was struck by a skilled warrior, limbs could be amputated and persons decapitated. The spike attached to the pommel could be used for striking the opponent in extreme close quarter circumstances when it was not always possible to use the blade.
These two swords were acquired in 2015 at an Estate Sale here in Austin. I cannot recall who the original owner was, but I also acquired other artifacts from India that are roughly of the time period. The earliest they can be validated is 1901, however there is a strong probability that they are far older than what has been validated. Only an expert in weaponology could tell and further shed light on these two magnificent swords.