Sword of Aurangzeb thumbnail 1
Sword of Aurangzeb thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South Asia, Room 41

This object consists of 2 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Sword of Aurangzeb

Sword and Sheath
ca. 1680 (made)
Artist/Maker

The watered steel blade of this sword is inlaid in gold with a Persian inscription, 'Alamgir padshah 24', suggesting that it was in the armoury of the Mughal emperor Alamgir, widely known by his name Aurangzeb. The number 24 would then indicate the regnal year, corresponding to 1680. The calligraphy of this inscription is not of the quality that would be expected of the Mughal court at this time, though the superior chiselled Arabic calligraphy at the forte of the blade, and the very fine dark watering of the steel, do suggest a courtly provenance. The sword was formerly in the collection of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, and was given to the museum by his descendant in 1964.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Sword
  • Sword Sheath
Materials and Techniques
Steel overlaid with gold and blade with watered steel inlaid with gold
Brief Description
Sword of Aurangzeb, the hilt steel, thickly overlaid with gold; the blade watered steel inlaid with gold: Mughal, late 17th century.
Physical Description
The hilt steel, thickly overlaid with gold; the blade watered steel inlaid with gold.
Dimensions
  • Length: 94cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
  • alamgir padshah 24 Ya rahman Ya rahim (If the numbers refer to Alamgir's 24th regnal year, which seems probable, this would be AH 1091/1680-1. The blade also has the conventional ascription to the legendary swordsmith Assadullah Isfahani.)
Gallery Label
SWORD OF AURANGZEB: The hilt steel, thickly overlaid with gold; the blade watered steel inlaid with gold: Mughal, late 17th century.(Nehru Gallery, 2001)
Credit line
Given by Lord Kitchener
Object history
Given by the Right Hon. the Earl Kitchener of Khartoum

From the armoury of Alamgir, the Mughal emperor.
Production
Mughal court
Summary
The watered steel blade of this sword is inlaid in gold with a Persian inscription, 'Alamgir padshah 24', suggesting that it was in the armoury of the Mughal emperor Alamgir, widely known by his name Aurangzeb. The number 24 would then indicate the regnal year, corresponding to 1680. The calligraphy of this inscription is not of the quality that would be expected of the Mughal court at this time, though the superior chiselled Arabic calligraphy at the forte of the blade, and the very fine dark watering of the steel, do suggest a courtly provenance. The sword was formerly in the collection of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, and was given to the museum by his descendant in 1964.
Collection
Accession Number
IS.218&A-1964

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record createdJuly 3, 2008
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