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A Stunning Original Horseguards Officer's Pattern Helmet Plate. In Gold, Red Enamel Cross, Blue Enamel Garter, And Frosted Silver Cut Steel Order of the Garter Badge Star

A Stunning Original Horseguards Officer's Pattern Helmet Plate. In Gold, Red Enamel Cross, Blue Enamel Garter, And Frosted Silver Cut Steel Order of the Garter Badge Star

Probably the worlds most beautiful helmet plate ever designed.
This fabulous quality officer’s helmet plate, in use since the Queen’s coronation in 1953, was used by an officer of the Queen’s mounted bodyguard, from either the Blues and Royals or the Life Guards regiments, that combined, make up the Royal Horseguards. The helmet plate is identical for both helmets, only the colour of the yak hair plume was different, white for Life Guards, red for Blues and Royals.

The Albert helmet is the current ceremonial headgear of the British Army's Household Cavalry, for both the Life guards regiment and the Blues and Royals regiment, known collectively as Horseguards.

This pattern will now be changed very soon for the design designated for His Majesty King Charles lII. The crown will be changed to the single domed crown of all the kings since Edward VIIth. The domed crown is called either The King’s Crown or the Imperial State Crown. The late Queen’s crown, is known as St Edwards Crown.

The Albert pattern helmet was introduced by Prince Albert in 1842 and adopted by the Household Cavalry the following year. In 1847 the helmet was introduced to all heavy cavalry regiments. It remains in use as the full dress headgear of the two remaining Household Cavalry regiments, the Blues and Royals and the Life Guards. The magnificent helmet remains in use with the two current Household Cavalry regiments, the Blues and Royals with red plume and the Life Guards with white plume. These regiments are amalgamations of the four earlier regiments. The Life Guards retain the white plume and the onion from the 2nd Regiment, the Blues and Royals retain the red plume of the Royal Horse Guards. Blues and Royals officers wear a yak hair plume. Farriers in both regiments wear different plumes, the Life Guards farrier wear black and Blues and Royals farrier red.

The regiments also differ in how they wear the helmet's chin strap. The Blues and Royals wear it under the chin while the Life Guards wear it under the lower lip. The helmet is now in white metal for all ranks and the same helmet plate is worn by both regiments (they were different historically).

The Albert helmet is only worn in full dress review order, guard order and front yard order by other ranks and in full dress, levee dress and ceremonial rehearsal dress by officers. Medical and veterinary officers do not wear the helmet, instead wearing a cocked hat.

The other ranks of the Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry wear the helmet in full dress (with the plumes of their parent regiments), except when parading in the presence of the royal family, when they wear state dress with jockey caps. Band officers wear Albert helmets on both occasions.

Its condition is considered by us as mint. A complete Horseguards officer’s helmet from the 1953 coronation period, in mint condition, will cost today somewhere between £6,500 to £10,000.  read more

Code: 24065

950.00 GBP

A Beautiful Late Edo Bakumatsu Copper Katana Tsuba With NBTHK Papers.

A Beautiful Late Edo Bakumatsu Copper Katana Tsuba With NBTHK Papers.

Bakumatsu copper tsuba, NBTHK Kicho Kodugu papers from 2020. With a translation, the "ninteisho" is introducing the document as recognition written in calligraphy. The tsuba is decorated with Aki kusa, Autumn grass [flowers], unsigned. The Nihon Bijutsu Tōken Hozon Kyōkai is a public interest incorporated foundation established in February 1948 to preserve and promote Japanese swords that have artistic value. Tsuba are usually finely decorated, and are highly desirable collectors' items in their own right. Tsuba were made by whole dynasties of craftsmen whose only craft was making tsuba. They were usually lavishly decorated. In addition to being collectors items, they were often used as heirlooms, passed from one generation to the next. Japanese families with samurai roots sometimes have their family crest (mon) crafted onto a tsuba. Tsuba can be found in a variety of metals and alloys, including iron, steel, brass, copper and shakudo. In a duel, two participants may lock their katana together at the point of the tsuba and push, trying to gain a better position from which to strike the other down. This is known as tsubazeriai pushing tsuba against each other. The tsuba has north and south kuchi-beni.
Literally "lipstick", but refers to the copper plugs of the nakago-ana. Their function is to secure the tsuba firmly when mounted on a blade. These plugs are sometimes called sekigane.  read more

Code: 23510

695.00 GBP

A Superb Piece of 'Potential', Unique History. Admiral Lord Nelson's Hair Woven Into a Piece of Memorium Jewellery, A Lyre Brooch of Extraordinary Quality

A Superb Piece of 'Potential', Unique History. Admiral Lord Nelson's Hair Woven Into a Piece of Memorium Jewellery, A Lyre Brooch of Extraordinary Quality

Acquired from an Admiral Lord Nelson family of collectors, together with a small miniature portrait of the Admiral, the miniature of the full sized one painted by Lemuel Francis Abbott in 1797 for Lady Nelson.

Said to be, by the family, made from a small lock of hair {given to them by Lady Hamilton, Nelson's mistress}, that, some years after his tragic death, was intricately woven into a rigid weblike structure, and formed around very finely crafted gilt metal, into a mourning brooch of lyre form, to wear as a wedding gift, and it has been in the family ever since. The hair colour has subsequently darkened somewhat, from its original lighter colour, due to being lacquered to aid rigidity, handled and worn, possibly for decades. It originally had a small ivory slip engraved with its distinguished origin, and that it was given by Lady Hamilton to her relatives by marriage. Lady Hamilton, Nelson's infamous mistress, was married to Sir William Hamilton, who was the 4th son of Lord Archibald Hamilton, who was the 7th son of the 3rd Duke of Hamilton. We have been acquiring fascinating artefacts and antiquities from descendants of the 10th Duke of Hamilton these past 30 years or more.

That ivory slip was with it until just a very few years ago, when it was discarded by the dear ladies that last recently owned it, and from whence it came, to us. It was purposely removed due to HRH Prince William disapproving of ivory artefacts. This we consider a great shame, as it was very old, an antique of around 210 years vintage, and simply nothing was gained by its sad removal and loss.

Of course there is absolutely no possibility for us to definitively state it was indeed Nelson's hair, as a provable fact, as any DNA test would likely damage its integrity, but its most highly likely potential, due to its origin, is most intriguing.

The miniature that came with it {and is not for sale} bears a hand written label glued at its back, still present, to note it was it's full sized original was in the National Portrait Gallery that {opened in 1856}. The original is by Lemuel Francis Abbott
an oil on canvas, was painted in 1797
This is one of the many portraits Abbott painted of Nelson and it is perhaps the most widely recognised of the whole Nelson iconography. It depicts him in rear-admiral's uniform wearing the Star and Ribbon of the Bath and the Naval Gold Medal, awarded for his victory at the Battle of St Vincent (1797). The original portrait was painted for Captain Locker of the Greenwich Hospital. This full sized version, commissioned for Lady Nelson, was also taken from life. Although Nelson only sat to him twice, Abbott subsequently copied the picture over forty times. The copies gradually declined in quality as the artist became mentally ill but this was no bar to their popularity. Many were purchased by Nelson's naval colleagues, his family and friends.
In July 1798, Nelson's wife wrote to him: 'My dearest Husband - I am now writing opposite to your portrait, the likeness is great. I am well-satisfied with Abbott… it is my companion, my sincere friend in your absence…

Nelson's pigtail (or queue), was cut off after his death at the Battle of Trafalgar 21 October 1805. It is sandy-coloured hair, bound with black ribbon, which is tied in a bow. Surgeon William Beatty records in his "Narrative of the Death of Lord Nelson" that Nelson asked that Lady Hamilton should have his hair. The pigtail was cut off after his death and Hardy delivered it to Emma Hamilton after the Victory's arrival in England. Small locks of hair were given to relations and close friends, and some pieces were mounted in special mourning rings and lockets. What remains of Nelson’s queue is now part of the National Maritime Museum Collection.  read more

Code: 25210

1250.00 GBP

A Napoleonic, 1st Empire Bladed Elite Cuirassier's Sword, Klingenthal Dated October 1813

A Napoleonic, 1st Empire Bladed Elite Cuirassier's Sword, Klingenthal Dated October 1813

Superb and beautiful hilt, with very fine original leather bound grip, and a very fine double fullered blade, dated 1813, with stunning bright patina.

French Napoleonic 'An 13' year 13 swords were manufactured from 1805 and discontinued in late 1815. The Cuirassiers Heavy Cavalry Regiments used the largest men in France, recruited to serve in the greatest and noblest cavalry France has ever had. They fought with distinction at their last great conflict at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and most of the Cuirassier's swords in England very likely came from that field of conflict, after the battle, as trophies of war. However, this sword was one of the few that were allowed to remain in the elite cuirassier corps after Waterloo, serving King Louis XVIIIth both before Napoleon's 100 days, and after his crushing defeat by Wellington at Waterloo. In fact one can see it has been issued, re-issued and even re-inspected, with serial numbers and inspection stamps, within its working life, up from 1813 up to the 1850's and possibly the Franco Prussian War of 1869.

Every warrior that has ever entered service for his country sought trophies. The Mycenae from a fallen Trojan, the Roman from a fallen Gaul, the GI from a fallen Japanese, the tradition stretches back thousands of years, and will continue as long as man serves his country in battle. In the 1st century AD the Roman Poet Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis Juvenal
wrote; "Man thirsts more for glory than virtue. The armour of an enemy, his broken helmet, the flag ripped from a conquered trireme, are treasures valued beyond all human riches. It is to obtain these tokens of glory that Generals, be they Roman, Greek or barbarian, brave a thousand perils
and endure a thousand exertions". A truly magnificent Napoleonic sword in superb condition for it's age.
The largest sword of it's kind that was ever made or used by the world's greatest cavalry regiments. The cuirassiers were the greatest of all France's cavalry, allowing only the strongest men of over 6 feet in height into it's ranks. The French Cuirassiers were at their very peak in 1815, and never again regained the wonder and glory that they truly deserved at that time. To face a regiment of, say, 600 charging steeds bearing down upon you mounted with armoured giants, brandishing the mightiest of swords that could pierce the strongest breast armour, much have been, quite simply, terrifying. The brass basket guard on this sword is first class, the grip is totally original leather and a great colour, it
only shows expected combat wear, the blade is double fullered and absolutely as crisp as one could hope for. Made in the Napoleonic Wars period.
Just a basic few of the battles this would have been used at such as; 1813: Reichenbach and Dresden, Leipzig and Hanau
1814: La Rothiere, Rosnay, Champaubert, Vauchamps, Athies, La Fere-Champenoise and Paris
1815: Quatre-Bras and Waterloo. The blade has fabulous steel bright colour, and hilt has fabulous patina. Overall the spear pointed blade is 37.75 inches long.
Likely, hilt re-mounted and inspected for service once again in the Crimean war, in either the 6th and 9th Curassier regiments, or the 6th and 7th Dragoons regiments.
No scabbard.  read more

Code: 25214

995.00 GBP

A Beautiful Silver Mounted Javanese Pedang Lurus Dagger

A Beautiful Silver Mounted Javanese Pedang Lurus Dagger

A Javanese dagger pedang lurus . Slightly swollen single edged blade 21cms with striking pamor, often made of meteorite steel mixed with meteorite nickel, silver hilt and sheath nicely embossed and engraved with foliage.Good condition. In Western literature this type of Indonesian edged weapon is often called pedang lurus, literally straight sword, even though they are not always perfectly straight. It probably refers to the fact they are straighter than a keris or saber. The term is specifically used for a group of Indonesian shortswords that come mounted entirely in silver. They typically bear some striking resemblances to European hunting swords, like the shape of handle and guard, the belt stopper on the scabbard, and the often ribbed scabbard end. The mounts, and sometimes the blades, were probably inspired by such hunting swords that were worn by colonists.

This straight bladed sword or pedang lurus represents a fine example of 19th century Javanese silverwork. Also known as a pedang luwuk, the pedang lurus is associated with central Java, particularly Surakarta and to a lesser extent Yogyakarta, each being royal centres with kratons (palaces) and flourishing court arts.
The hilt has been cast, chased and engraved in high relief with rococo-inspired leafy and stylised flowering motifs. It is shaped as a stylised kris hilt which in town often are shaped as highly stylised wayang characters.
The pomel is covered in sheet silver and has been lightly etched with foliate and floral motifs.
The scabbard is of plain sheet silver over a wooden base, and is beautifully engraved on both sides with a repeated serrated leaf and flower motiff.
The blade, in watered iron/nickel is straight and highly decoratively adorned
Overall, this is an beautiful pedang lurus in a form that is not often encountered.. REFERENCES
Avieropoulou Choo, A., Silver: A Guide to the Collections, National Museum Singapore, 1984.

Hardianti, E.S. & P. ter Keurs (eds.), Indonesia: The Discovery of the Past, KIT Publishers for De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, 2005.

National Museum Jakarta, Treasures of the National Museum Jakarta, Buku Antar Bangsa, 1997.

Van Zonneveld, A., Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2001.  read more

Code: 22571

875.00 GBP

A Beautiful Samurai's Yabusami Bow Sleeve. The Form of Samurai Bowman's Armoured Arm Protection Worn With Full Armour

A Beautiful Samurai's Yabusami Bow Sleeve. The Form of Samurai Bowman's Armoured Arm Protection Worn With Full Armour

For the martial art of Yabusami bowmanship in combat when in full armour. Wonderful condition for age. With a small strip of fully articulated lateral iron shoulder protection armour, decorated with war fans. Gold embossed leather scroll enhancements, doeskin panels decorated at the wrist with a date, and circular elbow protector. All the doeskin is decorated with dark brown and red highlights, in coloured ink, in a traditional floral design used on armour, on the doeskin sections, for centuries. The linen cloth sleeve has carved buffalo horn cord mounts for attaching the sleeve to the armour suit, and two printed gold circular mon decorated on the linen cloth. Although fully armoured in combat, just the archers bow sleeve, worn on the left arm, was not armoured with chain mail or iron plates at all, other than the small iron flexible ridge at the top to protect against an upper sword cut, unlike all the other parts of his samurai armour. This was to allow fully flexible left arm movement. When not armoured and only wearing regular garb, the samurai bow sleeve was shaped somewhat like a leg o'lamb with a very wide shoulder fixing that went acroos the chest to the right arm pit. As described in the section of Chuyuki (a diary written by Fujiwara no Munetada) dated 1096, yabusame has been practiced since the Heian period as a practical fighting bowmanship skill performed on horseback. A technique known as 'the Hidesato-style of yabusame' was practiced during the Kamakura period, and samurai trained in this pastime enthusiastically, giving demonstrations at events organized by the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).  read more

Code: 21518

645.00 GBP

A Fine Antique Indo-Persian 'Mace of Rostam' the Bull's Head Mace

A Fine Antique Indo-Persian 'Mace of Rostam' the Bull's Head Mace

A Persian all iron 'Mace of Rostam' the mighty Paladin of Persia. The mace's head is a full bull's head [after Rostam's Mace] with applied horns and ears, iron haft with traces of silver damascened decoration to all three sides of the bull's head. Good overall condition for age. See Allan and Gilmour fig.26 for a closely related example, and p.189 and 315 for a discussion of these maces. Rostam, sometimes spelled Rustam, was the son of Zal and Rudaba, and the most celebrated legendary hero in Shahnameh and Persian mythology. In Shahnameh, Rostam and his predecessors are Marzbans of Sistan (present-day Iran and Afghanistan). Rostam is best known for his tragic fight with Esfandiar; the other legendary Persian hero, for his expedition to Mazandaran (not to be confused with the modern Mazandaran province); and for tragically fighting and killing his son, Sohrab, without knowing who his opponent was. Rostam was eventually killed by Shaghad, his half-brother.

Rostam was always represented as the mightiest of Iranian paladins (holy warriors), and the atmosphere of the episodes in which he features is strongly reminiscent of the Parthian period. He was immortalized by the 10th-century Persian poet Ferdowsi in the Shahnameh, or Epic of Kings, which contains pre-Islamic Iranian folklore and history.

He rode the legendary stallion Rakhsh and wore a special suit named Babr-e Bayan in battles. While out hunting Rostam awoke from his sleep to find Rakhsh had gone missing. He was distraught at losing his beloved horse and he tracked him as far as the city of Samangan. Here he greeted the King and asked for his help to find Rakhsh.

While in Samangan, Rostam met the king's lovely daughter Tahmina. The Shahname describes her as elegant as a cypress tree. One night she came to his room:

' My name is Tahmineh; longing has torn

My wretched life in two, though I was born

The daughter of the king of Samangan,

And am descended from a warrior clan.

But like a legend I have heard the story

Of your heroic battles and your glory,

Of how you have no fear, and face alone

dragons and demons and dark unknown

Of how you sneak into Turan at night

And prowl the borders to provoke a fight,

Of how, when warriors see your mace, they quail

And feel their lionhearts within them fail.

I bit my lip to hear such talk, and knew

I longed to see you, to catch sight of you,

To glimpse your martial chest and mighty face-

And now God brings you to this lowly place.

If you desire me, I am yours, and none

Shall see or hear of me from this day on.'

But their time together was brief, because once Rakhsh was found, Rostam departed for his homeland. Nine months later Tahmina gave birth to a son Sohrab, who grew up to be a warrior like his father Rostam. Scene from the Shahnama: Garsivaz prostrating himself before Siyavush in the presence of Rustam. 14th century, 54cms  read more

Code: 22529

1150.00 GBP

A Fine Edo Tsuba Kaga Kyoto Praying Mantis, Cricket Butterfly in Gold Inlay

A Fine Edo Tsuba Kaga Kyoto Praying Mantis, Cricket Butterfly in Gold Inlay

Circa 1730 from the family of Air Marshal Lord Dowding, commander of the Royal Airforce in WW2. Iron plate inlaid with silver and gold superior Kaga Kyoto school tsuba of fine quality. After Hanabusa Itchō, a very popular subject in Japnese art in the late 17th to 18th century.Tsuba were made by whole dynasties of craftsmen whose only craft was making tsuba. They were usually lavishly decorated. In addition to being collectors items, they were often used as heirlooms, passed from one generation to the next. Japanese families with samurai roots sometimes have their family crest (mon) crafted onto a tsuba. Tsuba can be found in a variety of metals and alloys, including iron, steel, brass, copper and shakudo. In a duel, two participants may lock their katana together at the point of the tsuba and push, trying to gain a better position from which to strike the other down. This is known as tsubazeriai pushing tsuba against each other. 2.5 inches x 2.25 inches  read more

Code: 21757

975.00 GBP

A Beautiful and Most Impressive Nanban-Nari Kabuto High Conical Samurai Helmet. Likely of A Christian Samurai, Known As Krishitan, Momoyama to Edo  Period. With Menpo Face Armour

A Beautiful and Most Impressive Nanban-Nari Kabuto High Conical Samurai Helmet. Likely of A Christian Samurai, Known As Krishitan, Momoyama to Edo Period. With Menpo Face Armour

A Nanban-nari, Christian decorated high conical helmet, with a koshi-no-ita base plate encircles the lower section of the skull, decorated around the border and across the apex with European form strap work with applied rivetted Catholic fleur-de-lys decor, a visor, or tousei mabisashi, is fitted to the front. Three-tiered black lacquer shikoro neck guard with sugake odoshi spaced lacing in very dark red braid. A tatsu tsunomoto holder for the maedate helmet crest, and a maedate in very decoratively pierced sinchu, brass alloy resembling gold. The maedate is of the form with slots that can have optional wakedate flat horns fitted.

The helmets fully embellished fleur-de-lys decor is a symbol of the 16th century Catholic Church, specifically Mary the Virgin. From antiquity it has been the symbol of purity and was readily adopted by the Roman Catholic church to associate the sanctity of Mary with events of special significance. The lily was said to have sprung from the tears shed by Eve as she left Eden. Thus, when Pope Leo III in 800 crowned Charlemagne as emperor, he is reported to have presented him with a blue banner covered (semé) with golden fleurs-de-lis.

The kabuto has a matching form Menpō face armour, that covered the face from the top of the nose down to the chin, with four rows of yodare-kake, throat guard armour. An early syle affixed and none removable nasal cover. All the main helmet and menpo surfaces, {except the shikoro} are in Higo russetted form.

Every year oir so we are delighted to acquired samurai swords with hidden Christian {Kakure Kirishitan} symbology, such as tsuba with pierced crucifix within in their designs, but we cannot recall ever seeing a Krishitan symbolised kabuto over these past 50 years. Only in Japanese museums, and very few of these.

The Nanban-nari Kabuto was introduced from the West during the Warring States period. Because it imitates the shape of a hat, it was called a “Nanban hat helmet”. Only the helmets bowl (Hachi ) was Nanban, other parts like Shikoro and Mabisashi were made and designed domestic style. This brand new kind of helmet was very popular at the time of introduction.
Nanban, In Japanese literally means “southern Barbarians”, actually refers to Europeans, because they came from the south of Japan. The helmets of the Europeans, Spanish and Portuguese, were of the morion or cabassat form. These new ‘barbarians’ not only brought Catholic monks to convert the samurai and their vassal peasants to Christianity, but their muskets, cannon, armour, leather, and clothing became de-riguer to influence everything from decor fashion armour and clothing. Especially amongst the converted daimyo lords, his family, and his samurai.

Face armour in Japan begins with the happuri, which is depicted in Heian- and Kamakura-era yamato-e paintings, and is thought to have appeared during the 10th or 11th centuries.It is depicted as being worn with or without a helmet by both mounted warriors and foot retainers. By the 14th century, the hōate appears, and according to Tom Conlan, this development is behind decreased facial wound statistics. However, others, such as Yamagishi Sumio, believe that the hōate was not widespread at that time, as it—and the later menpō—restricted the vision of the wearer. Hōate are also portrayed in art and literature of the period, most notably the Aki no yo no Nagamonogatari scroll and Taiheiki. The menpō (half-mask with detachable nosepiece) and the sōmen (full face mask) are believed to have been introduced around the mid to late 15th century, and the hanbō (chin guard) in the second half of the 16th century.

The current FX series 'Shogun' by Robert Clavell is based on the true story of William Adams and the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyesu, and apart from being one of the very best film series yet made, it shows superbly and relatively accurately the machinations of the Catholic Jesuits to manipulate the Japanese Regents and their Christian convert samurai Lords.

Oda Nobunaga (1534–82) had taken his first step toward uniting Japan as the first missionaries landed, and as his power increased he encouraged the growing Kirishitan movement as a means of subverting the great political strength of Buddhism. Oppressed peasants welcomed the gospel of salvation, but merchants and trade-conscious daimyos saw Christianity as an important link with valuable European trade. Oda’s successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–98), was much cooler toward the alien religion. The Japanese were becoming aware of competition between the Jesuits and the Franciscans and between Spanish and Portuguese trading interests. Toyotomi questioned the reliability of subjects with some allegiance to the foreign power at the Vatican. In 1587 he ordered all foreign missionaries to leave Japan but did not enforce the edict harshly until a decade later, when nine missionaries and 17 native Kirishitan were martyred.

After Toyotomi’s death and the brief regency of his adopted child, the pressures relaxed. However, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded the great Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867), gradually came to see the foreign missionaries as a threat to political stability. By 1614, through his son and successor, Tokugawa Hidetada, he banned Kirishitan and ordered the missionaries expelled. Severe persecution continued for a generation under his son and grandson. Kirishitan were required to renounce their faith on pain of exile or torture. Every family was required to belong to a Buddhist temple, and periodic reports on them were expected from the temple priests.

By 1650 all known Kirishitan had been exiled or executed. Undetected survivors were driven underground into a secret movement that came to be known as Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”), existing mainly in western Kyushu island around Nagasaki and Shimabara. To avoid detection they were obliged to practice deceptions such as using images of the Virgin Mary disguised as the popular and merciful Bōsatsu (bodhisattva) Kannon, whose gender is ambiguous and whom carvers often render as female.

The populace at large remained unaware that the Kakure Kirishitan managed to survive for two centuries, and when the prohibition against Roman Catholics began to ease again in the mid-19th century, arriving European priests were told there were no Japanese Christians left. A Roman Catholic church set up in Nagasaki in 1865 was dedicated to the 26 martyrs of 1597, and within the year 20,000 Kakure Kirishitan dropped their disguise and openly professed their Christian faith. They faced some repression during the waning years of the Tokugawa shogunate, but early in the reforms of the emperor Meiji (reigned 1867–1912) the Kirishitan won the right to declare their faith and worship publicly.

The interior lining and cords of this kabuto have been replaced in the past 100 years  read more

Code: 25202

7450.00 GBP

An Exceptionally Beautiful Gold Hilted Sword With ‘Laminated Damascus’ Pattern Steel Blade. A Sword of Highest Museum Quality. An Indian Prince's Tulwar, Accompanied With His Oriental Annual 1838

An Exceptionally Beautiful Gold Hilted Sword With ‘Laminated Damascus’ Pattern Steel Blade. A Sword of Highest Museum Quality. An Indian Prince's Tulwar, Accompanied With His Oriental Annual 1838

A Maharajah's royal gold tulwar, with its superb running damascus steel blade, with a dominant flowing grain, and its engraved gold hilt in traditional Indo Persian tulwar style, finely decorated with scroll engraving and traditional oriental flowers. Mounted in its original velvet scabbard [now a little faded] with single gold hanging mount and gold chape. A royal tulwar such as the Maharajah Duleep Singh may have once worn as a boy, or, worn by a similar ranking Moghul prince. The gold on the hilt and mounts are applied sheets of hammered gold that are overlaid onto a steel base for additional strength.

A most fine gifted book with its companion fabulous sword with brown leather binding and gold title, with embossed pure gold leaf elephant and howdah to front and back covers. Scenes of India by Reverand Hobart Caunter B.D. with 22 engravings from drawings by Willian Daniell R.A.

We show a Victorian painting of the Maharajah Duleep Singh with his royal tulwar, who became the Sikh ruler of the Punjab when he was no more than a child. But with family intrigues and treachery never being far behind (not to mention the fact that the Punjab was such a valuable territory, dividing India from Afghanistan - the passage through which the Russians might threaten to enter India and therefore endanger the British rule) in due course the Punjab was annexed at the end of the second Anglo Sikh war. In 1849, when that short war ended, the boy maharajah gave up this throne to be raised by a British army officer, in whose care he eventually converted to Christianity - after which he was sent to England and raised as a gentleman aristocrat, well away from those who might have sought to use him as a political pawn. He became a very great favourite of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. The portrait of Duleep above was painted by Victoria who called the prince her 'beautiful boy' and who often had him accompany her own family on holidays spent in the Isle of Wight. A sword brought to England in the time of the Raj. It is important to note that the Raj (in Hindi meaning 'to rule' or 'kingdom') never encompassed the entire land mass of the sub-continent.
Two-fifths of the sub-continent continued to be independently governed by over 560 large and small principalities, some of whose rulers had fought the British during the 'Great Rebellion', but with whom the Raj now entered into treaties of mutual cooperation.
The 'Great Rebellion' occurred in 1858 and saw the end of the East India Company and the creation of the Raj
Indeed the conservative elites of princely India and big landholders were to prove increasingly useful allies, who would lend critical monetary and military support during the two World Wars.
Hyderabad for example was the size of England and Wales combined, and its ruler, the Nizam, was the richest man in the world.
The word maharaja, literally great king, conjures up a vision of splendour and magnificence. The image of a turbaned, bejewelled ruler with absolute authority and immense wealth is pervasive and evocative, but it fails to do justice to his role in the cultural and political history of India.


From the beginning of the 18th century to the mid-20th century the changing role of the maharajas and their patronage of the arts, both in India and Europe, resulted in the production of splendid and beautiful objects symbolic of royal status, power and identity.
The secular and sacred power of an Indian king was expressed most spectacularly in the grand public processions that celebrated royal events and religious festivities. Riding a richly caparisoned elephant or horse, the ruler was lavishly dressed and jewelled and surrounded by attendants bearing symbolic attributes of kingship: a royal parasol, royal tulwar or dagger, chauri, fans and staffs of authority.The vision of a king in all his splendour was believed to be auspicious. It was central to the concept of darshan, the propitious act of seeing and being seen by a superior being, whether a god or a king. Although originally a Hindu notion, the idea of darshan became an integral aspect of kingship throughout the subcontinent. In India rulers were expected to exercise rajadharma, meaning the duties and behaviour appropriate to a king. These would include the protection of their subjects, the adjudication of disputes, and the ministering of justice and punishment. Martial skills were as important as administrative and diplomatic ones; as well as being wise and benevolent, kings were expected to be fierce warriors and skilled hunters. Rajadharma was also exercised through the patronage of poets, musicians, architects, artists, craftsmen and religious foundations. It was often the case, especially in the old days of empire, where student princes presented gifts of esteem such as these to favoured tutors at oxbridge.
Overall in scabbard 26.75 inches, blade 22.25 inches.  read more

Code: 22607

8950.00 GBP