Zulfiqar (split-bladed sword)


This weapon is typical of the blending of Islamic and native styles in South Asia. The curved blade is characteristically Islamic, and the cloven tip alludes to Zulfiqar, the cleft-bladed sword associated with Muhammad. The hilt, with its distinctive knuckle-guard and end-spike, is typically Indian, incorporating the roof-shaped handguard inherited from early "Hindu" swords. The sawtooth edge adds to the menacing appearance of the blade—compare it to the Masonic sword nearby.


Sawtoothed single edge, curved blade with false edge similarly treated terminating in point. Blade widens near point & is split perpendicularly to plane of blade from point ending in circle approximately 1/3 length from point. Gold flora & calligraphy along top edge of blade & in "tree"-shaped mark on obverse of blade. Heavy Khanda-like hilt terminating on both faces of blade in flattened trefoil. Remains of tinned surface and apparently giliding. Rounded "V" crossguard forming tapering knuckle guard with small discoid pommel with long grooved spike slightly bent towards cutting edge. Blade is secured with a large irregular rivet through the languets, suggesting compositing.


Cf. Pant 2.86, plates LXIX, LXXX, LXXXI
Cf. Paul 2006: 62 for a very similar example.
Cf. Clarke 1910 pl. 15 no. 188 for a Hindu version of a cloven blade.
Tirri 2003: 101, 331.


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