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Thread: Tegha

  1. #1

    Tegha

    Hello Can anyone tell me any info on this stamp? and a rough idea on a year of make would be much appreciated as well, i was told it is around c1790 would this be correct?
    It also has two more stamps one of an animal on either side i will upload photos soon.
    Thanks in advance.
    Colm
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    Last edited by Colm Byrne; 12-04-2011 at 09:12 AM. Reason: adding attachments

  2. #2
    one seems to be a whale on the cleaned side and on the reverse it looks like a bird, i left this side as is in case i cleaned it with wrong substances?
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    Last edited by Colm Byrne; 12-04-2011 at 09:14 AM.

  3. #3
    Hi Colm,

    Looks like a very interesting and impressive sword.
    You're going to need to take some pictures in daylight and crisp focus to make any investigation possible.
    A slightly overcast day (not too direct sunlight) outside and some close-ups as you've already done would be helpful.

    Best
    Gene

  4. #4
    Thanks very much for your reply Gene
    It is a nice sword indeed, i have it over 3 years now and i quite like it at this stage, i will take on board your much appreciated advice, and will get some new photos taken tomorrow, and hopefully posted here by the evening time.
    Thanks again
    Colm

  5. #5
    I hope these are better photos
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    Last edited by Colm Byrne; 12-05-2011 at 10:50 AM. Reason: adding attachments

  6. #6
    I can add a few more if requested, the regimental stamp did not come out very well, to help with identification, but i think that the 2nd photo at the start of the thread gives the best shot that i will get of this stamp.
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    Last edited by Colm Byrne; 12-05-2011 at 11:30 AM.

  7. #7
    Hi Colm,

    What an intriging sword you have there.
    I think that these are a little under-researched to be honest.
    I've heard them described as executioners swords (which may well be true of course)
    I've also seen them described as sacrificial swords (for buffalo etc).
    A knowlegable researcher and friend of mine proposed that they might be ceremonial, even processional like 'bearing swords'.
    It may well be that all of the above are true and one sword can have several uses.
    Some get very big and heavy (over 3kg apparently).
    The smaller ones may even be used in combat, depending on the weight.
    Where does a heavy curved Tulwar become a tegha?
    What does your weigh?

    I would venture that yours if a fairly plain example (of an unusual sword, so it's not exactly bad news!).
    The others that I'm aware of with similar hilt shapes were described as 18th/19thC, so that and the fact that yours does look to have some genuine age would make me think that c1790 may be about right.
    Of course if we could decipher the stamped mark it might shed a lot more light on the subject.
    Are you sure the small mark isn't just a flaw in the steel?

    it's a very interesting thing, hopefully those with more knowledge will be able to add some facts to my guesses.

    Best
    Gene

  8. #8
    Gene thanks so much for that overview and your input is most welcome.
    This sword weighs about nearly 2kg.
    I think it is the wide blade that turns a tegha from a tulwar, i could be wrong on that.
    In relation to the small whale like stamp, i would say from having it, in hand that, it is a whale stamp, instead of a flaw in the steel, especially with the bird engraving on the opposite side, and because also while on a recent internet search, i have read that the tegha's with animals stamped were indeed kept in temples, but having said this their is also a few nicks on the blade that could indicate battle damage, they simply could have been caused by someone in a mess duel, after it left a temple, or upon arrival in Europe.
    One guy has come back to me, with what he believes, the main insignia sign translates, to say, that it is the Hindu sigh OHM, for reciting there is one supreme God the creator. i need to get another verification on this, just to be sure, i will try find out more, and if anyone here can add anything then it would be great, so thanks again for help on here it is great.
    Colm

  9. #9

    The sign of OM

    Here is the sign of OM or AUM. The attached stamp is originally 5 mm in diameter.
    The sign can look very different according to which Indian language it is written.
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    The weapons are literally tapestries of culture.
    Jim McDougall

  10. #10
    Hello Jens many thanks for posting this, and apologies for mixing your name up, and calling you by your quotation signature.
    I appreciate your input, and with anything else that you might be able to help with, in this swords identification, would you say that this stamp has any indication in it, to suggest from what region in India, it would have come from? i see what you mean by them being different, it does not look much like the one on my sword, but similar in size i suppose.
    at least now we are getting somewhere on the stamp, and what it stood for.
    Last edited by Colm Byrne; 12-07-2011 at 04:05 PM.

  11. #11
    According to the Urdu/Hindustani dictionaries of Forbes, Taylor, Hunter, Shakespear, Thompson, et al., and the Persian dictionary of Sen, a "tegha" is "a short, broad scimitar" or "a short, broad, heavy curved sword". The "tulwar", so called, is therefore longer, lighter, and narrower.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    According to the Urdu/Hindustani dictionaries of Forbes, Taylor, Hunter, Shakespear, Thompson, et al., and the Persian dictionary of Sen, a "tegha" is "a short, broad scimitar" or "a short, broad, heavy curved sword". The "tulwar", so called, is therefore longer, lighter, and narrower.
    That seems to be pretty much the criteria yes.
    A broad curved Tulwar becomes a Tegha at a certain point. I was wondering where one draws that line?
    Obviously when the sword in question is 2kg, like the one in this thread the definition is easy. But I've seen 'Tegha' that I'd have just called Tulwar, so.....?

    Here's a picture that Jens posted on another forum that illustrates what I mean. I'd have just called the one on the right a Tulwar:
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    Last edited by Gene Wilkinson; 12-07-2011 at 02:38 PM.

  13. #13
    Actually, "tulwar" (or "talwar") is a generic term for any sabre or curved sword, as distinguished from "khanda" (generic for any straight sword); hence, a "tegha" is also a "tulwar". But some make a distinction. "The distinction between the tegha and talwar is very narrow and only a sword with a very broad blade, deeply curved backward, can be termed the tegha. It sometimes has the Hindu basket hilt [of the khanda]." (E. Jaiwant Paul, "Arms and Armour: Traditional Weapons of India," 2005.) Also, for pix and measurements, see Egerton's "An Illustrated Handbook of Indian Arms and Armour" and "A Description of Indian and Oriental Armour".
    Last edited by L. Braden; 12-08-2011 at 03:16 PM.

  14. #14
    Hi 'L'

    LOL, "all thumbs are fingers but not all fingers are thumbs"

    I don't think we're on the same page here

    I'm wondering where the distinction lies, if "all Tegha are Tulwar but not all Tulwar are Tegha"?
    I've had a fair few Tulwar over the years, wide curved, thin curved, heavy broad etc, etc.
    I wouldn't have called any Tegha, but clearly according to some sources a few might have been even though none were as heavy and broad as Colms example.

  15. #15
    I appreciate you guys keeping this thread going, how could we find out which region of India that it originates from?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Gene Wilkinson View Post
    Hi 'L'

    LOL, "all thumbs are fingers but not all fingers are thumbs"

    I don't think we're on the same page here

    I'm wondering where the distinction lies, if "all Tegha are Tulwar but not all Tulwar are Tegha"?
    I've had a fair few Tulwar over the years, wide curved, thin curved, heavy broad etc, etc.
    I wouldn't have called any Tegha, but clearly according to some sources a few might have been even though none were as heavy and broad as Colms example.
    Yo, Gene!
    A semantical debate on the original meaning of sword-related words of all nations would be endless and futile. What, for instance, is a "scimitar"? Just another generic name for a variety of "oriental" sabres with local-dialect names! I see "kaskara" used indiscriminately for any Sudanese "Crusader sword", when it is actually a local-dialect word of the Saharan Baghirmi tribe. "Seif/sayf/saif" is the term generally used in the Sudan for such a sword, while "nimshah" means "a curved sword". Call 'em whatever you will, I guess!
    Best regards!

  17. #17
    Hi L

    Absolutely. In fact the whole Tulwar terminology debate is a real muddle. Especially when you factor in the many imported blades in Tulwar hilts.
    So, is it your understanding that any highly curved Tulwar is a Tegha? Or does there need to be a certain weight/width of blade?
    If you look at the ones I picture in #12, the one on the right isn't particularly curved or broad, but is a Tegha.
    Best
    Gene

  18. #18
    Gene, greetings! If we accept the presumably original meaning of "tegha" as "a relatively short, broad-bladed, relatively heavy, deeply curved sword", then the sword on the right in #12 is definitely not technically a "tegha", but a "tulwar" (so called!). Moreover, since "tegha" is evidently originally a Persian/Farsi loan-word, it was evidently adopted by Indians and others in Central and South Asia to distinguish it from other swords because of its peculiar shape, and because Indians and others had no other word(s) for such a shaped sword. Thus, swords have so many names due either to their distinctive shapes or to different dialectal names for a single type. (Incidentally, "tegha" also simply means "sword or knife blade"; and dialectal variations of "tulwar/talwar" include "turwur/tarwar", "tulwul/talwal", "turwuriya/tarwariya", and "tulwuriya/talwariya"!). Since the original spellings and meanings of words have constantly changed over the centuries, many terms that were once distinctive have become generic (e.g., "tulwar" and "scimitar").
    Best regards!

  19. #19
    Colm, greetings!
    After their evident introduction from Persia/Iran, teghas were originally made in Western India at such sword-making places as Cutch, and were much used by the warrior classes (both Hindus and Muslims), and were standard weapons in the Mughal/Moghul armies; and judging by the symbols, my guess would be that your sword is a Mughal army weapon. Birds, beasts, and fish were common symbols on Indian swords; and Mughal swords not only included one or more of these, but also suns, hands, horse-tails, round shades or umbrellas, triangular flags, scales or balances, dragon-faces, human faces or heads, thrones, fish-heads, lions or lion-heads, globes or balls (on a chain between two hands, or encircled by a fringe), etc. (William Irvine's "The Army of the Indian Moghuls" details all of these; but he was mistaken in stating that "tegh" [a variant of "tegha(h)"], the generic Persian word for "sword" (both straight and curved), is an Arabic word, although he correctly adds that "The Arab word saif was also used occasionally".) Anyway, I wish I could be of more help!
    Best Regards!
    Last edited by L. Braden; 12-11-2011 at 09:50 AM.

  20. #20
    Hello L.
    That is a mountain of help, and information so it's highly appreciated, i am finding out something new about this sword every day, it's a pit i did not put it on here ages ago, considering i have it so long, i will try google Mughal army and see what i get hope to be back soon, and just to note, that all of you guys are great, and very dedicated, thanks so much.

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