Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Moplah (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5382)

Bill M 20th October 2007 03:02 AM

Moplah
 
6 Attachment(s)
From the Coorg people of Malabar, Southwest India. Known as fanatical Muslims, launched a genocidal attack on the local Hindu in 1921 and though outnumbered almost two to one nearly succeeded in wiping out the Hindus. They used swords like this one.

Reminds me a little of a Ram Dao, but these are much more rare.

I have always had an interest in Southwest India, Kerala and Malabar. One of the cultures I have studied there are the Theyyam. Someday soon I hope to travel there.

Double edged and sharp. Overall length 28"

Comments?

olikara 20th October 2007 06:58 AM

Moplah not Coorgi
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Marsh
From the Coorg people of Malabar, Southwest India. Known as fanatical Muslims, launched a genocidal attack on the local Hindu in 1921 and though outnumbered almost two to one nearly succeeded in wiping out the Hindus. They used swords like this one.
Comments?


Bill,
A very beautiful Katthi. Congrats.

This will be from the Moplah or 'Mappilai' people of Malabar. They are quite different from the Coorgis who are of Scythian and Hindu stock. The Mappilais are of Arab-Dravidian Muslim stock.

Coorg is adjacent to Malabar but not a part of Malabar. And very interestingly the Moplah rebellion of 1921 where the Moplahs rebelled against their Hindu landlords (Mostly Nair and Brahmin) was put down by the British who used their Gorkha levees to great effect. Moplah Katthis against the Kukris!

The Coorgis and Moplahs were never on the best of terms though. Tipu Sultan in order to subdue the ever restive Coorgis had a policy of settling Muslim populations from Mysore and adjoining Malabar into Coorg. Needless, to say after Tipu's destruction the Coorgis drove off most of these new settlers.

Bill M 20th October 2007 08:07 AM

Thank you olikara for this good information!

Jens Nordlunde 20th October 2007 09:03 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Bill, a very nice Moplah. I was surprised to hear that it is double edged, as I have always thought it would be edged only on the inside like the Adya Katti from Coorg. Thank you for showing it, I have never had one in my hands, and so it fails in my collection. The little spot you can see on the blade is the seal of Coorg.


Olikara, thank you for the historic background. I did not know that the Malibar’s and the Coorg’s were enemies. The more you learn, the more you understand how little you know.

Bill M 21st October 2007 05:38 PM

Found some more information on the Ayda katti. Wish I could find a picture of this belt.

"The Ayda never was known to have a sheath. carried, slung naked across the hips through a slit in a metal belt called a "Todunga," made from brass or silver, fastening in front with massive chains.

Some of these belts had a spike projecting from the center of the plate in the back. The spike has no apparent definite use, but it was remarked as the imperial assemblage at Dehli that the Coorg chiefs who were there in the costume and wearing the arms of their native country were not incommoded by any crowd pressing on them from behind."


----------- Blackwood 's Magazine 1886

Bill M 21st October 2007 07:36 PM

I made a mistake in my original post. The overall length is 23" not 28". :o

KuKulzA28 3rd April 2009 08:18 PM

Seems like the Moplah's blade would have a similar usage as the Chinese Da-dao... with single and dual handed capability depending on the handle and heavy chopping power due to the push-pull mechanics. Was the Moplah sword ever a work knife/tool? Also was the Ayda-katti a jungle-clearing/survival tool in addition to being a fearsome weapon?

Mel H 25th October 2017 07:48 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Interested to see the picture of the Ayda Katti posted by Jens in this old thread, I thought some may be interested is seeing a picture of the TODUNGA used to carry the sword and was worn across the shoulders. They seem to be less seen than the swords.
There is a story that tells of a rebellion by the Coorg which resulted in the death of the local British dignitary, after which all of the Ayda Katti were confiscated from the local natives then dumped in the sea.
M.H.

Jens Nordlunde 26th October 2017 10:24 AM

The Aydha Katthi is a rare weapon to find, but the Todunga is even rarer. Thank you for showing.
I have two Aydha Katthis from two different rulers of Coorg, both are shown in my catalogue 'A Passion for Indian Arms'. In The Journal of The Arms and Armour Society.UK. Vol. XXII. No 4, September 2017 Nidhin Olikara has written an article about the markings on some of the blades, telling how you can see which rulers mark it is.

The weapons dumped at see were not only Aydha Katthis, but any kind of weapon, and to this comes, that it was about 17000 weapons.

Mel H 26th October 2017 06:06 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
The Aydha Katthi is a rare weapon to find, but the Todunga is even rarer. Thank you for showing.
I have two Aydha Katthis from two different rulers of Coorg, both are shown in my catalogue 'A Passion for Indian Arms'. In The Journal of The Arms and Armour Society.UK. Vol. XXII. No 4, September 2017 Nidhin Olikara has written an article about the markings on some of the blades, telling how you can see which rulers mark it is.

The weapons dumped at see were not only Aydha Katthis, but any kind of weapon, and to this comes, that it was about 17000 weapons.


I've added a couple more pic's that may give a better perspective. The slot that the blade passes through is quite large, to allow the blade to pass through, but it occurs to me that once in position the knife would hang rather loosely.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 26th October 2017 07:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
The Aydha Katthi is a rare weapon to find, but the Todunga is even rarer. Thank you for showing.
I have two Aydha Katthis from two different rulers of Coorg, both are shown in my catalogue 'A Passion for Indian Arms'. In The Journal of The Arms and Armour Society.UK. Vol. XXII. No 4, September 2017 Nidhin Olikara has written an article about the markings on some of the blades, telling how you can see which rulers mark it is.

The weapons dumped at see were not only Aydha Katthis, but any kind of weapon, and to this comes, that it was about 17000 weapons.


Yes indeed they dropped a whole lot into the sea...The local British administration confiscated all arms, seizing 17,295 weapons of which 7,503 were guns. The Madras Museum selected a few of the better examples and the remainder were dumped into the sea.
(Elgood, 1995, p. 185)

Jens Nordlunde 27th October 2017 03:40 PM

Mel, thank you for showing close ups of the Todunga, it seems to be in a very fine condition. I am glad it is in a private collection and taken good care of.

What do you collect? Only Indian, or is your collection broader?

Ibrahiim, thank you for the correct number of weapons dumped at sea. A lot of the weapons collected were, no doubt, quite simple but to the owner valuable.
On the other hand, chopping up an English magistrate on his own verandah would have made the English react.

Mel H 28th October 2017 12:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Mel, thank you for showing close ups of the Todunga, it seems to be in a very fine condition. I am glad it is in a private collection and taken good care of.

What do you collect? Only Indian, or is your collection broader?

Ibrahiim, thank you for the correct number of weapons dumped at sea. A lot of the weapons collected were, no doubt, quite simple but to the owner valuable.
On the other hand, chopping up an English magistrate on his own verandah would have made the English react.


Hello Jens, my tastes are eclectic I collect all sorts of interesting things. I've long had an interest In almost anything relating to antique arms and armour of all kinds, antique and vintage airguns, knives, bayonets etc.
Georgian swords, particularly smallswords, are my main interest
Mel.

Jens Nordlunde 28th October 2017 03:08 PM

Mel,
Fifty years ago I started to collect Russian Shasquas, North Afracan Nimshas and Indian weapons, but after a while I ended up collecting only Indian.

Miguel 29th October 2017 07:34 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by olikara
Bill,
A very beautiful Katthi. Congrats.

This will be from the Moplah or 'Mappilai' people of Malabar. They are quite different from the Coorgis who are of Scythian and Hindu stock. The Mappilais are of Arab-Dravidian Muslim stock.

Coorg is adjacent to Malabar but not a part of Malabar. And very interestingly the Moplah rebellion of 1921 where the Moplahs rebelled against their Hindu landlords (Mostly Nair and Brahmin) was put down by the British who used their Gorkha levees to great effect. Moplah Katthis against the Kukris!

The Coorgis and Moplahs were never on the best of terms though. Tipu Sultan in order to subdue the ever restive Coorgis had a policy of settling Muslim populations from Mysore and adjoining Malabar into Coorg. Needless, to say after Tipu's destruction the Coorgis drove off most of these new settlers.


Hi Olikara,
A bit late in commenting on your statement re the origin of the Coorgs being of Scythian-Hindu stock. I have done a little research into the origins of these people as they are so interesting but I cannot find a conclusive answer. The origin you have stated is one of a number of theories none of which have concrete evidence, have you found such evidence? If so I would be grateful if you would share it so that I can stop knocking my head against what appears to be a brick wall regarding this subject.
Regards
Miguel

Ian 29th October 2017 08:56 PM

Hi Miguel:

There are many tales about the origin of the Coorg. Perhaps the most romantic is that they are the descendants of some of Alexander the Great's soldiers who stayed and married local women--hence the Scythian theory. Whatever their origins, the Coorg have long been famed for their fighting skills and even in recent decades have held prominent roles in the Indian armed forces.

Ian

Bob A 29th October 2017 09:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Hi Miguel:

There are many tales about the origin of the Coorg. Perhaps the most romantic is that they are the descendants of some of Alexander the Great's soldiers who stayed and married local women--hence the Scythian theory. Whatever their origins, the Coorg have long been famed for their fighting skills and even in recent decades have held prominent roles in the Indian armed forces.

Ian


Sounds like an opportunity for DNA testing.

BANDOOK 30th October 2017 08:03 AM

MALABAR KATTI
 
8 Attachment(s)
Here Is An Example of a Malabar Katti,Has wood and bone in the handle ,I Had posted these pictures earlier but saw Bill M Post ,so reposting one from my collection
Kind Regards

Ian 31st October 2017 05:00 PM

Hi Bandook:

I posted pictures more than 10 years ago of a similar chopper that also had a turned wooden hilt. That post is here.

These are hard to find.

Ian.

Jens Nordlunde 31st October 2017 05:29 PM

Ian, 'hard to find' is an understatement, as far as I see it:-).

There are variations over the same weapon, although it seems as if the variations were connected to religion, and local places. Research needed!!!

I am still wondering how the two Aydha Katthis I have have 'survived', when such a large number was dropped at sea. Maybe they were originally taken apart for a museum - who knows?

Did anyone read the article in In The Journal of The Arms and Armour Society. UK. Vol. XXII. No 4, September 2017?

I just read the first post once more. The Moplahs were double edged, but the Aydha Katthis were only one edged.

BANDOOK 1st November 2017 11:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Hi Bandook:

I posted pictures more than 10 years ago of a similar chopper that also had a turned wooden hilt. That post is here.

These are hard to find.

Ian.

THANKS IAN
yes they do have some similarities ,no comments were made at that time of your post,someone can tell us more about our weapons,thanks for your comments
Regards Rajesh


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