A fine quality Kirach (sword) with hunting scenes, from Lahore.


A Kirach is an Indian sword with a single edge blade that is straight or almost straight blade with a slight downward curve near the tip. The term originates from its Urdu name, kirach (کرچ). This type of blade/sword is one, if not the most, rarest forms of the Indian sword. It was only given to the best warriors.


This fine example stays true to the form and nature of the Kirach. The blade has a typical profile and has a downwards curve. On the edge, the blade is sharpened and the blade reaches a narrow point. This allows for a nice balance in the blade. The blade itself is constructed of pattern welded steel, a strong steel that collectors praise and compare to the quality of Wootz. The blade shows a very active pattern and shows very good state of preservation – the blade is in near mint condition. Throughout the blade, scenes of hunting and animals fighting are deeply chiselled in. Each scene is profusely elaborated and clear, leading to a vidid story and scene. The pattern welding watering of silver and great makes these scenes more vivid and eye catching. These types of hunting scenes are often seen of Tulwars or shamshirs – but very rarely on Kirach. On the blade, towards the forte, there is a stamp, almost like a small fort – which is either the makers mark or an inventory stamp. This type of engraving on the sword was primarily done under the Mughal rule. When the Sikhs took power, the changed the animal hunting engravings to Hindu deities.

Phillip Rawson (see

Philip S. Rawson; The Indian Sword. Herbert Jenkins, London, 1968. Page 30) states:

For example at Lahore, whereas under the Mughals sword blades had been chiselled with rows of animal and human figures in Persian style, under the Sikhs the same type of chiselled work was carried on, but the figures were of Hindu origin, such as Avatars of Vishnu, or the Planetary Divinities. The lesser elements of design, however, remained fixed in the Islamic tradition.

As the blade is following the conventional style of Mughal work, it is probable that the blade itself is a earlier example or at least a late 18th century example, where the Mughal power was slowly decreasing and the Sikhs were coming into power – as the blade is Mughal inspired, yet the hilt is strongly associated with Lahore. When you see hunting scenes engraved on a sword, there are different degrees of quality. Our blade represents the highest of quality work – it does not get any better than this.

The hilt is large and of good form, without a knuckle guard. The short rounded quillons point that this particular hilt is from North India, more specifically Lahore. The Hilt is thickly silver-plated, which was then fire-gilt. Furthermore, the hilt is engraved with floral motifs. A fire-gilt hilt is a rare find as the process of manufacturing such a hilt was lengthy. The hilt would have first been plated in silver, with the floral motifs crosshatched in, then fire gilt on top. The fire gilt was done by mixing gold and mercury, which was applied onto the silver. Mercury evaporates, which would entail that the gold stays to provide the end product we have here. A thick layer of gold would remain and therefore prove to be very durable and less prone to coming off. This technique was popular in the south, Delhi and seen on earlier pieces in the 17/18th century.

A sword is not complete without its scabbard. This particular one comes with its original wooden scabbard which has been wrapped in red velvet with a silver trim along the middle (trim slightly lifting in some areas due to age). At the end, a brass chape has been applied which is in itself pierced into to provide a fine finish. The brass chape is secure but slightly damaged.

Overall, the condition of this is very good. The blade is excellent, near perfect and only showing some signs of age. The hilt has 95% of its fire-gilt gold remaining which is very good. The scabbard completes this fine piece and shows signs of wear and age. The piece is ‘ceremonial’ given its ornate features and finish. However, Indian swords were known for being ceremonial yet very practical. This is an exemplary example of such a sword. Given the way in which the sword is crafted and designed, it is from Lahore, and most likely would have belonged to the ‘Sikhs’. This particular Kirach is ‘ceremonial’ and would have been used for court wear.


Sikh Heritage: Ethos & Relics by Bhayee Sikandar Singh and Roopinder Singh, page 146 shows a tulwar belonging to Guru Gobind Singh and dated to the early 18th century. The style of engraving (hunting scenes) on the blade is similar and comparable to the style on our example.

The Sword of Akbar preserved in The Royal Ontario Museum, Rome features a similar hunting scene but is less detailed than our example and is not featured on pattern welded steel. The persian influence is apparent. As this is on a Kirach, it makes it all the more sought after and rare.

Another later comparable example is at the Mehrangarh Fort Museum, Bikaner, India

Also see Met museum NY Accession Number: 36.25.1506a, b


All in all, this is a very nice and rare example, complete with its scabbard. The hunting scenes pattern welded blade is in excellent condition and well preserved. The sword is definitely of Punjabi manufacture, therefore it would have been made in Lahore – where Sikhs arms and armour were produced. This is ideal for those looking to add Sikh/Punjabi manufactured arms and armour to their collection.

The condition of this Kirach is also very good, making this a sought after piece for collectors.

Nicholas Wells Antiques advisors are available to answer all your questions. 

Please email us or call +44 (0)207 6920 897

Rare Shikargar Kirach (sword)

Stock Number: 42891

Origin: Lahore
Date: Late 18th century/early 19th century (1780-1840)
Length: Sheathed 88 cm / Sword 83 cm
Materials: Iron, steel, silver, gold, wood, velvet, brass
Approximate Dimensions

Price on request

This unique piece is subject to availability.
Call directly to secure it:

Telephone: +44 (0) 207 6920 897

Make an Offer

If you are interested in this piece and would like to see if there is any movement on price, please fill in the required details below.

Please note, making an offer excludes packing and shipping.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Pending dimensions of this product. If you would like to discuss this in more detail please fill in the form below and we will contact you to discuss.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



Period & Circa Date:





Notify me if unsold

Thank you for registering your interest. If it becomes available again, we shall be in touch.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Register for similar items

Register your interest in similar items. Please elaborate on your requirements and budget in the text box below.

"*" indicates required fields

Please provide any specific information
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Finance Options

Find it. Love it. Art Money it.

Any list price purchase is applicable.

Benefit from 0% finance over 10 months with our finance partner Art Money.

Additional packing and shipping charges are added to the total.

Please contact us if you would like to benefit from this service.

Product Enquiry

"*" indicates required fields

Join Mailing List
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Ask a Question

If you have any specific questions regarding this piece, please use the form below.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Our description of any item on the website, any condition report and any other statement made by us (whether orally or in writing) about any item, including about its nature or condition, artist, period, materials, approximate dimensions, or provenance are our opinion and not to be relied upon as a statement of fact.


In the UK Online sales of this kind are known as ‘distance selling’. We offer a refund to customers if you’ve told us within 3 days of receiving the goods that you want to cancel. You have another 14 days to return the goods once you’ve told us of your intention. A refund will be issued within 14 days of receiving the goods back in the same condition. Return shipping should be the same level as received with insurance, we recommend using the same shipper at your cost. If needed we will help organise suitable shipping.

We will refund the purchase price, excluding delivery costs and taxes, within 14 days of the safe receipt of items in the same condition as supplied. The liability for any damage incurred during transit will remain with the sender. We recommend that adequate insurance is placed on items when returning them to us.

All returns must be communicated prior to an item being sent back.

We extend these Return terms to our international clients.


Delivery Options

We will ship worldwide however the costs vary between countries so please email us for a quote. Depending on the item we will recommend the most suitable method.

Our preferred international shipping methods include fine art shippers Gander and White, Art Logistics, Cadogan Tate for items over £5,000. For Fedex, DHL or UPS shipments we expertly pack in-house in wooden crates or heavy duty cardboard – Suitable for most items under £5000. If you have your own shippers we are very happy to coordinate with them.


All items are sent fully insured at the invoice value.


All items are inclusive of all local taxes but may be subject to additional charges for importation and taxes local to the client. Antiques are zero-rated to the USA, all items ship with the correct paperwork. While we are not liable for these additional charges we do encourage clients to research these prior to purchasing items from us. We will make a full value disclosure, as required by the insurance, on all items sent overseas. This is required to ensure proper insurance cover in sending valuable items.


Where required we will oversee the completion of all export licenses for high-value items. We will also arrange for CITES paperwork for materials of endangered species including ivory, tortoiseshell, stuffed birds etc.


This is dependent on the size and value of the object, all items are checked over and polished before shipping and will generally have wooden crates made. This all takes time so expect 10 – 20 working days for delivery unless the item is small in which case 2-3 days from order.


Every effort is made to make Customs Clearance as quick as possible, items held in customs are out of our control. They may require documents / ID to release the goods, please keep this in mind, it is just procedure.


All our antiques now also come with an invoice as a Valuation Certificate for insurance purposes.