Mobile menu

Arms and armour

Detail from the blade of a talwar

Detail from the blade of a talwar presented by the Maharajah of Alwar, RCIN 11238 ©

Weapons formed by far the largest group of presents received by the Prince during the tour. Traditionally arms and armour would only be presented to honoured guests of a high rank and arms presented would display the highest craftsmanship and richness of materials and decoration possible.

The most distinct feature of Indian swords and daggers is the use of watered crucible steel, often noticeable due to the rippled water-like pattern found on the blades of swords and daggers. The blades are forged from ingots made of iron and vegetable material combined and heated in a crucible. The mixture of iron and carbon from the vegetable material creates a natural swirling pattern and the high carbon content strengthens the blade.

On account of the length of the tour and the number of rulers he met, the Prince returned home with an impressive collection representative of the different styles of manufacture.