A talwar sabre of the Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II of Jaipur




India, Rajasthan (Jaipur)


The second half of the 19th century


Forging, casting, stamping, damascening


Steel, iron, silver, gold, leather


Overall length (without scabbard) 880 mm; blade length 752 mm; scabbard length 785 mm

The slightly curved, single-edged blade is made of watered steel with a ricasso, a yelman and a single broad fuller on each side. The forte of the blade is stamped with the oval-shaped mark containing the Shiva’s trident or trishula and the Devanagari inscription "Sri Rajrajeshra". The iron Udaipuri type hilt is decorated with gold koftgari flowers and foliage. The dark brown leather scabbard is fitted with a narrow silver band with a small suspension ring.

COMMENT. Talwar is the most common type of Indian sabre, which was used by both cavalry and infantry from the 16th to the 19th centuries. It is characterized by a slightly or medium curved, single-edged blade with a ricasso and false edge. Another feature of the talwar is the one-piece metal hilt with a disc pommel, which is also known as "disc hilt" or "Indo-Muslim hilt". The talwar was most popular in North India during the Mughal period (1526-1858). In addition, it was the favorite weapon of the Rajput warriors. The names of manufacturers and owners of the talwar are usually unknown, since inscriptions and marks are extremely rare. According to Robert Elgood, the mark stamped on the presented sabre is the symbol of the Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II of Jaipur who reigned from 1835-80 (see Elgood, R. Arms & Armour at the Jaipur Court: The Royal Collection. – New Delhi, 2015. – P. 142-143, no. 97). He was not only an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, but also one of the most enlightened and progressive Indian rulers of his time. The British Government twice nominated Sawai Ram Singh II a Member of the Imperial Legislative Council (1868-1870, 1871-1875) and also made him a Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India (1863), a Counsellor of the Empress (1877) and a Knight Grand Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (1880). More details about Sawai Ram Singh II, see Sahai, Y. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II of Jaipur: The Photographer Prince. – Jaipur, 1996. One more sabre and one sword with identically marked blades can be seen in the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum in Jaipur (inv. nos. MJM9.1615 and 1573, see Elgood, R. Op. cit. – P. 140-141. no. 96 and p. 142-143. no. 97).

LITERATURE: Сиваченко Е. Сталь и Золото: Восточное оружие из собрания Feldman Family Museum = Steel and Gold: Eastern Weapons from the Feldman Family Museum Collection. – Киев, 2019. – С. 302-305, №110.