« السابقةمتابعة »
same as occurring at Barahut, in Ghurwal (see plate IX.) page 342, Vol. V. of the Journal. No. 11 however differs considerably, and is written vertically like Chinese; it is placed horizontally in Prinsep's plate. It has always occurred to me that these are Trans-Himalayan characters written by pilgrims at a very early period. No. 12 was not sent to Prinsep; it is rudely cut and scattered. No. 14 is a single letter or word on one of the pillasters of the Satgurba arch,
I shall not trouble my readers with repeating the whole of the smaller sentences, which had no doubt from time to time been cut by the ascetics who occupied the caves when the Budhists were expelled; there are two only deserving of notice. These I have given as 15 and 16 in plate IX. The first shows that at a remote period the presiding deity of the spot was "Sidheswar" Mahadeva, which it is still.
The second or fig. 16, are deserving of notice; they are of a very early types, and admit of another reading besides that given by Prinsep; see No. 16 in P. 679, Vol. VI. viz. it may be an abbreviation of "Bodistá Likhitá" or the writing of Budhists, for the double letter more resembles the compound than and may have been writ
ten by the fanatic who injured the Pâli inscriptions, but if this reading be not admitted, I should prefer another, namely, "the root of Budhism," which (supposing this locality to have been the site of Sakya's preaching and of the great convocations of Magda, of which I think there is little doubt) would be most appropriate.
I offer the foregoing more with a view of throwing out hints for those whose deep and extensive reading must enable them to speak with greater confidence. I could wish I were able to boast of more myself; in the absence of such desideratum I endeavor to collect and make known every trifle that may tend to the elucidation of doubtful points in the early history of this vast empire, my more gifted readers must take the will for the deed and excuse any blunders.
Process of working the Damascus Blade of Goojrat; by Capt. JAMES ABBOTT, Boundary Commissioner, Lahore.
In the Appendix to my narrative of a journey to Khiva, &c. I published a paper upon the fabric of the Damascus blade, written by my friend Colonel Anosoff, of the Engineers, master of the celebrated Fabric of Arms at Zlataoost in Siberia, accompanied by such remarks as my own experience suggested. But having been the guest of that gentleman I did not conceive myself at liberty to publish without his express permission, which I had no means of obtaining, the process by which cast steel is rendered sufficiently elastic for sword blades. And not having witnessed the forging of a blade, I was ignorant of the further precautions necessary to bring out the grain of the Damask.
I have now just returned from Jullal poor in Goojrat, (the Goojrat of the Punjaub) and am prepared to describe the whole process adopted there, in the fabric of sword blades, celebrated throughout India.
The blade of Goojrat is of two kinds, the simple and the mixed damask.
The simple damask is precisely similar to the damask of Isfahaun in Persia. Its Damascene is a granulation covering the entire surface of the blade, and often disposed in lateral processes; as if the blade had been woven throughout of infinitely fine wires. At other times, this granulation is streaky like a skein of floss silk that has been rumpled into innumerable wrinkles too minute to be followed by the eye.
At other times it has the grain observed in timber, when intersected obliquely.
All these different kinds, are the same substance, submitted to the same process. At least, the general treatment and intention are the same, and the differences arise from accident, not design.
The substance is a small cake of cast steel weighing about 2 tbs. and exhibiting manifest symptoms of the fluid condition in which it acquired its plano-convex shape. That is, the lower or convex surface, bears the impression of the coarse gravelly mould into which it was poured. And the upper or flat surface, has those concentric wrinkles and radiations, which all metals take in crystallizing after fusion. This cast steel (fowlahd) is purchased at Umritsur in the small cakes above noted. The natives know not its origin, but only that it
comes from the south, and can be purchased at Delhi, in large as well as in small cakes. In India, if the same question is asked, the natives reply, that it comes from the north. It is, probably, therefore, brought up the Indus and Sutlej from the Persian Gulf.
The accompanying figures 1 and 2 (Pl. XI.) represent the plan and profile of a mass lying upon the table before me. Now, upon considering the internal structure of this, we are aware that it is a bundle of concentric needles crystallized around a porous centre, the vesicles of which are coarse and apparent, formed by the splash of the metal as it fell fluid into the mould. These I have rudely represented in dots in figure 12. It is also manifest that the most solid portions of the mass are the lower or convex surface. And, accordingly, in beating it out into a bar, great care is taken to preserve each surface distinct from the other, in order that the edges of the lenticular mass may become the sides or flat surfaces of the blade; that the convex surface may become the edge; and the flat, porous surface, the back. Under any other disposition, the damask figures would be confused and unseemly-and, as cast steel cannot be welded, by any art known in Asia, the porosity of the centre of crystallization in the mass, would either offer a jagged, flawed edge, or one of the sides must be disfigured and weakened by it. And thus the arrangement pursued in the fabric of the simple damask blade is suggested by sound sense. The elegance and symmetry arising from the arrangement is the accidental but necessary consequence.
The mass of cast steel being brought to red heat and held, as represented in figure 3, edgewise upon the anvil, is beaten into a square prism or bar-an operation of about two hours duration. When the requisite length is attained, the bar is flattened under the hammer, those sides in the bar, which had been the edges, being placed, the one above the other below, so as to become the flat surfaces of the blade. The blade being shaped with the hammer and file and roughly burnished, is brought to a dull red heat in a long charcoal fire,-a long vessel of common oil is placed within reach, and the blade is plunged by successive drawing cuts edge-foremost, into the oil; so that the edge becomes the most highly tempered part, and the back remains the softest. The excessive temper is abated in the usual manner by laying the blade over a slow charcoal fire. It is then burnished, and ground,