Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard

Date

1870-1899

Object Number

IX.2022

Provenance

Purchased at Phillips Son and Neale (London), 5 March 1980, lot 23. Stated in the sale catalogue to have come 'from the Maharajah of Jodhpur's arsenal'.

Physical Description

Hilt: Iron or steel three-bar hilt. The knuckle-guard is slotted for a sword-knot. An additional bar springs from the inside of the knuckle-guard towards the blade and joins the small oval ring shell which protects the inside of the hand. Short rear quillon curving towards the blade with a discoid terminal. Combined pommel and backpiece, the former wit a grooved moulding running around its base. Wooden grip, covered with fishskin and bound with brass wire, with a plain ferrule at the end towards the blade.


Blade: curved, single-edged with a rounded hatchet point. A broad fuller runs down each side to within 250 mm (9 3/4 in.) of the tip.
scabbard : Brown leather-covered wooded scabbard with a pronounced rib below the locket (to engage with the frog). Iron mounts consisting of locket and chape. The locket is plain except for a transverse double line engraving near its base. The chape is long and has a large shoe, and is decorated with a double line engraving just below the mouth, which has a ogee V-shaped notch in the centre of each side.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Sword: Overall length: 933 mm (36 3/4 in.), Blade length: 806 mm (31 3/4 in.), Blade width, by hilt: 35 mm (1 3/8 in.), Scabbard: Length: 828 mm (32 5/8 in.) Weight: Sword: 907 g (2 lb.), Scabbard: 482 g (1 lb. 1 oz.)

Inscriptions and Marks

Sword:5On guard, on edge of inner guard, stamped: S.P.A.3.5On guard, on rear quillon terminal, on inside, stamped: 70.5On blade, on outside, on ricasso, stamped: 144.5On blade, on spine, near hilt, stamped: MOLE.Scabbard:5On locket, on mouth rim, on underside, stamped, two characters, possibly CL.5On chape, on shoe, on inside: 55.

Associations

Bibliographic References

(see Notes), p. 101 (brief catalogue entry).

Notes

The firm of Mole was in existence for too long to assist in more precisely dating the blade (see W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', London, 1970, II, p. 319).
David Harding (letter of 28 May 1999 on inv. file) considers that the S.P.A.3 is probably an Indian Army mark but cannot presently interpret it.
A note in the IBE cited the following as evidence that three-bar hilts were used by Indian horse artillery units as well as cavalry: B.P. Hughes, 'The Bengal Horse Artillery 1800-1861', London 1961, e.g. pl. fac. p. 97. There is plenty of evidence for the use of the three-bar hilt in India into the late 19th century and beyond: see, for example, A.J. Guy and P.B. Boyden, 'Soldiers of the Raj...', exhibition cat., National Army Museum, London, 1977, p. 245, no. 122 and p. 262, no. 156. From sometime in or before the late 19th century, straight (that is, slightly curved) 'tulwars', with three-bar hilts were introduced as an official pattern (see corresp. etc. with H. Woodend of the MOD Pattern Room, on inv. file for IX.1297-1300). All this evidence is referred to in Lankester and Rimer 1999, 98. The maker's name of Mole on its own (which could have been used from the 1830s) is unlikely to have been in use after about 1920 (see W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', 2 vols (cont. pag.), London, 1970, p. 319).