A fine Kutch gem-set gilt-copper Sword from the collection of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Bowser, K.C.B., H.E.I.C.S (1749 - 1833)  Western India, circa 1800(2)
Lot 371*
A fine Kutch gem-set gilt-copper Sword Western India, circa 1800(2)
Sold for £19,200 (US$ 32,271) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A fine Kutch gem-set gilt-copper Sword
Western India, circa 1800
the hilt and scabbard repousse, chased and stippled; the hilt with pommel in the form of a stylised lion head with naturalistic detailing, the quillons in the form of floral buds, the elongated langet with trefoil-shaped terminal, set with emeralds and rubies in floral designs; the scabbard comprising three sections, one side with all three sections with typical Kutch style floral decoration; the other side with hunting scenes: the first section with two suspension loops, with two high-relief stylised lion heads, a lion eating a gazelle and an Indian figure holding a bow and arrow at a gazelle and and elephant; the middle section with a lion eating a gazelle, a lion and cub, a pair of gazelles, a lion attacking an elephant and a pair of peacocks; the end section with a peacock, a pair of tigers, a Indian figure holding a bow and arrow, a lion attacking an elephant, an unusual bird of prey, a lion and cub, and a lion pursuing a small quadruped, all on a floral ground; the double-edged steel blade with traces of a gold inlaid lobed medallion with inscription
85.5 cm. long(2)


  • Provenance: Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Bowser (1749-1833), reputedly a gift from the Rajah of Mysore; and by descent to the current owners, a private Canadian family of Scottish origin.

    This particularly find example of Kutch weaponry can be dated to the first quarter of the 19th Century since Sir Thomas Bowser returned from India for the last time in 1826. Generally, gilt-copper wares from Kutch are thought to be from the second half of the 19th Century, although no established chronology exists.

    It is unusual to find figural decoration on scabbards from the Kutch region and generally the decoration is purely floral, as on an elephant-axe published in Islamic Arms and Armour from private Danish Collections, Copenhagen, 1982, pp. 216-17, no. 186. Comparison can also be drawn with a silver lion-headed walking-cane finial, attributed to Kutch in the late 18th to early 19th Century (Christiane Terlinden, Mughal Silver Magnificence (XVI - XIXth C), Brussels, 1987, p. 82, no. 88; a pair of swords in the Clive Collection, Powis Castle (Archer, Rowell and Skelton, 1987, pp. 52-3, no. 48); and the chased floral decoration on the gilt-copper hilt can be paralleled on a sword attributed to Sind, late 18th Century (Howard Ricketts and Philippe Missilier, Splendeur des Armes Orientales, Exhibition Catalogue, Paris, 4th May-31st July 1988, p. 129, no. 216).

    The rubbed inscription on the blade is possibly: "For God".
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