Central Block, Ground Floor

Arms and Armour

“I (god) created iron which is very callous and useful for human beings.” This is a Quranic verse inscribed on a Persian sword in the collection of the Museum. In Persia, the term ‘Faulad-e-Hind’ has become synonymous with great strength. Indian steel has been regarded with great esteem and valued highly all over the world. The blades of ‘Damascus’, which maintained their pre-eminence even after the blades of ‘Toledo’, were in fact made of Indian steel.

The collection of arms and armory in the Salar Jung museum is one of such rare treasures which consists of a fascinating and enormous quantity of old arms and fire-arms. There are more than 1200 objects of armory, as per the records in the Salar Jung museum. There are 196 fire-arms including match-lock, flint-lock, muzzle loading guns, dueling pistols and revolvers. The collection of arms and armory, excluding fire-arms consists of swords, daggers, shields, chest-plates, helmets and suit of amour. It is a vast collection dating back to the 16th century to the beginning of 20th century.

The museum not only has a variant of arms of different parts of India but also possesses a sizable collection from other countries like Persia, Turkey, France, Spain, Nepal, England, Burma and Japan.

The swords, daggers, tabars and helmets, all made of ‘Damascus’ steel and bearing marks and signatures of noted Persian and Turkish sword smiths, form a very significant part of the collection. There are some of the world famous Persian sword smith and cutlers represented in the collection who were independent firms which made to order the desired arms under the very seal of the firm.

India used to import blades and daggers from all parts of Europe, such European blades were invariably marked with fine finish, lustrous polish in silvery-white and factory marks and code words in Roman scripts. These foreign blades were mounted on Indian hilts and the sword assembled thus were called ‘Firangi’. “Espadeiro Dalrei” a ‘firangi’ sword is an interesting example of the 17th century in the collection.

The museum has representative specimens of Nepalese “Dha” swords, “Kri” swords of Burma and “Samurai” swords of Japan, the beautifully carved ivory seaboards of Japanese swords exhibit exquisite craftsmanship.

The collection of fire-arms in the museum is equally highlighted, it includes Match-locks, flint- locks guns and pistols. A revolver with the name of “Tipu Sultan” is a prized possession of the museum. The notable historical personages represented through the arms in the museum are Jahangir, Shah Jahan. Aurangzeb and Mohammad Shah Ghazi.