The sword was procured from the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1878 after advice from the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum) who helped considerably with the founding of the Castle Museum & Art Gallery in Nottingham.
Numerous objects were sent to the Paris exhibition as part of the ‘commercial collections’ and were to be sold. These came from many Maharajahs including those of Punjab comprising Patiala, Jind, Nabha and Kashmir as well as from the School of Art in Lahore (Mayo School of Industrial Art)* which was headed by John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911), father of the author Rudyard Kipling( 1865-1936). This particular object came from the princely state of Patiala,) where numerous objects are in various collections in the UK. The Maharajah at the time was Rajinder Singh (1872-1900) although the object could have belonged to his father Maharaja Mahendra Singh (1852-1876).
Maharajah Rajinder Singh
Many of these types of Khanda/pistols were ceremonially and as a result, were not intended for use in battle however this object also came with an accompanying powder flask (NCM 1879-105).
Digitisation of the Khanda/pistol
Commenting on the sword, Head of the Sikh Museum Initiative, Gurinder Singh Mann, said: “It has been a great opportunity to interpret the rich collection of Sikh artefacts in the possession of Nottingham City Museum. This exquisite sword with a pistol, shows the great workmanship of the Punjab, something which was noted by UK Museums in the 19th Century. The 3d version will allow people to easily access the object within the confines of their own homes and handle and manipulate it virtually.”
The public will also get the opportunity to see the Khanda/pistol at first hand, when it goes on display as part of the revamped Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery in 2021.
Anglo Sikh Virtual Museum
Read more about the khanda/pistol at Rare Sikh Maharajah’s Sword recreated in 3d