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Thread: How to spot a good Tulwar

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Mississippi, It's like a whole 'nother third world country.

    How to spot a good Tulwar


    I'm in the market for a Tulwar. How can I keep from ending up with a tourist piece? What are some of the things to look for?



  2. #2
    Try to find a copy of this book--it is about 15 USD online. It is illustrated with drawings that are very well done and has a lot of information on tulwar and other swords--blades and hilt styles. The book was put together around the end of the 19th century by a major collector of Indian arms and armor so it predates modern Indian swords. A very good book that I have used. Research of this kind will help save you from making a bad purchase.
    Tom Donoho

  3. #3
    Hi Robert

    It's not a straightforward answer I'm afraid.
    The generic 'Tuwar' hilt can have a huge variety of blades and can be changed several times in the swords life.
    'Tulwar' can have indigenous Indian blades, imported blades or Indian copies of foreign blades.
    Not to mention that they are a long lived type going back several centuries and are still being reproduced today.

    Essentially, what you want is a blade and hilt that have been together for at least a century, even if the blade is older.

    So firstly I would suggest that you really scan through the old threads here using 'Tulwar' as a keyword and try and familiarise yourself with some of the endless variations.
    If you are looking at a Tulwar then look for quality of construction and finish. Steel tulwar hilts are usually made in several parts which are often brazed together. Modern cheap tourist versions are often either brass cast hilts or crude steel hilts either welded together or with crude peened steel rivets.
    If it in any way looks like it was made recently, it may well have been.

    Also, have a look on fleabay at the stuff being sold by Indian sellers.
    Some is really nice and is being 'dirtied up' and resold in the west as old pieces. It's usefull to be familiar with the patterns of modern koftgari, so you can spot it at a glance.
    Even if it's an old blade with a modern hilt.
    Also look at the resin holding the hilt on. It should look very dark and grainy. Be on the lookout for epoxy or other recent resins.

    All in all, it's a minefield for new collectors of Indian weapons.

    Lots of research and handling is recommended.

    Good luck also plays a part ;-)
    Last edited by Gene Wilkinson; 09-06-2019 at 04:22 AM.


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