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INDIAN MATCHLOCK

Place of Origin: RAJASTHAN, INDIA

Date: Late 18th / Early 19th Century

Overall: 1720mm (67 ¾ inches)

Reference: 294

Status: Available

Full Description:

This large Indian matchlock ‘toradar’ or ‘bandook’ has a tapering, two-stage steel barrel retained by eight gilt wire barrel bands, generously decorated throughout with gold koftgari.

The stock of dark red wood has been polished to present a smooth surface and is attached with typical fittings: steel side-plates, a trigger pierced to present the form of a leaf and tendril (decorated with a motif in gold koftgari that matches its shape), brass flowerhead fittings used both for further decoration and to keep the steel plates secure to the stock, and a butt-cap of bone engraved with a row of concentric circles set between sections of darker wood..

Decoration in gold koftgari has been profusely applied throughout this matchlock, particularly to the breech, where a panel of blossoming flowerheads surrounded by leaves and bands of small gilt circles is depicted under a tiger amidst dense foliage. This scene is framed within a sloping arch surmounted by a central flower, and the matchlock’s back-sight and pan with pivot-cover also retain much of their original gilt patterning in floral motifs. Farther along the barrel, two curved cartouches each contain a mirrored arrangement of flowers divided by central lines and rows of dots. The muzzle is decorated mostly en suite with the breech, though its sloping arched frame depicts a parrot, whose immersion on the canopy floor is cleverly implied by the fact that its wings are decorated in exactly the same style as the leaves upon which it treads.

Though the form of the gun is of typical Rajput style, the gold koftgari suggests Mughal influence. A musket at the Royal Armouries – Object Number XXVIF.126 – is also worth examining for comparison on account of the similar decoration that adorns its stock (notice the bone butt-cap and brass washers stylised as flowerheads). A further example showing the typical Rajput form of toradar was exhibited by Runjeet Singh in Iconic 2017 (Ref. 152).