An enigmatic type of axe, this one probably from tribal north India.
17.5 cm from guard
Iron, steel, gold, silk fabric
Early 19th century
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A north Indian khanda sword. Its broad blade widens from the base upwards, to form a triangular point at the very tip. It is etched with a pattern resembling patterned steel, but other than pattern welding or wootz where the patterning is in the steel, this is a pattern that appears to have been achieved by selective etching only.
The blade is reinforced by steel strips on both sides, the edge side for about 1/3rd of the blade, the spine side extending 4/5th of the blade, ending just before a short backedge.
It is hilted in a typical khanda hilt, also known as the "Hindu basket hilt" with a wide hand guard and a long spike at the back for occasional two-handed use.
Blade reinforcements and hilt are both decorated with koftgari, consisting of thin lines forming flowers and other floral elements. Also seen on the reinforcements are two makara.
A very similar piece was published in Contribution A L'Etude Des Armes Orientales by Holstein, published in 1931. It has a near-identical blade with a similar etched surface. This piece is inscribed with the year 1222, corresponding to 1808 A.D.1
P. Holstein; Contribution A L'Etude Des Armes Orientales. Albert Levy, Paris, 1931. Volume II, page 16 & Plate III.
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Mentioning the son of a Maharajah and a year corresponding to 1887 A.D.
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