The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Sword with scabbard
  • Sword with scabbard
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Iran and India
  • late 17th century (blade)
    1st quarter 19th century (mounts)
  • Walrus ivory, steel, gold, agate, wood, leather, velvet, sequins, seed pearls and coloured stones
  • Length: 91.6 cm, overall
    Weight: 1.02 kg, without scabbard
  • OA1404
  • Oriental Armoury
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This magnificent gold-mounted sword (shamshir) once belonged to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ‘Lion of the Punjab’ (1780-1839). In terms of Sikh history, Ranjit Singh has been compared to Napoleon Bonaparte in the breadth of his vision, his charisma, and the extent of his political and military achievements. Unlike Napoleon, however, he never lost a major battle. Although ravaged by smallpox as a child (the disease permanently blinding him in one eye) by the age of ten Ranjit Singh was accompanying his father on military campaigns, and at twelve he took command of his first battle. In 1799, at the age of just nineteen, he rode at the head of his army into the city of Lahore, to found the first Sikh dynasty to control the entire Punjab.