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Wootz Basket Hilt Sword

Origin: Probably Delhi or Rajasthan
Date: 18th Century
Size: 44 inches
Ref: DA016

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An exceptional Wootz basket-hilt sword elaborately decorated in multiple sections with a variety of gold surface decoration techniques, which remain without loss and in pristine condition. 

The langet is intricately decorated with architectural structures, which includes a garden gazebo and a pavilion; with an ensemble of varying flowers and leaves. The distinct style in which the decoration is executed can be traced back to early examples from Deccan India dating back to the 17th century (see Art of the Muslim Knight, p. 91, cat. 55).

The basket hilt pommel has a short, sharp, pyramidal spike at the end of its pommel as opposed to the elongated spikes that terminate in buttons that are generally found on this hilt type. The basket hilt is forged of dark Wootz steel with a vibrant and fine, active watered pattern.

The swords blade features a floral cartouche and is of a flexible spring steel. With its original scabbard and fittings ensuite; the throat locket and chape are decorated in the same gold decoration type that is found on the basket hilts pommel and langet.

From the mid to late 18th century, possibly with a Rajasthan or Delhi manufacture.

*Full length images will be sent to email enquiries.

Research contribution: Rachel Parikh Ph.D., Harvard Art Museums Calderwood Curatorial Fellow of South Asian Art.