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Old 13th July 2013, 12:49 AM   #1
drac2k
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Default Ayda Kattis; Need help with the inscription on blade???

I just picked up what I believe is an Ayda Kattis;it has an inscription on the blade. Can anyone translate this or any comments on the general age of this piece, etc.
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Old 13th July 2013, 07:45 PM   #2
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My wife's mother tongue is Kannada, and she speaks Tamil as well... I'll see if she can read the inscription when I see her this evening (PST)...

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 13th July 2013, 08:38 PM   #3
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Hi,
This is very interesting. Could you please give us some better pictures?
The way the year is given, it sems to be AD 1888 - and that would be unusual.
Jens
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Old 14th July 2013, 01:57 AM   #4
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Thank you both; I appreciate any help that could be given. My wife is in charge of the picture dept. and I am afraid that I won't get any more pictures until I finish cutting the lawn..........hope it doesn't rain tomorrow !
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Old 14th July 2013, 05:49 AM   #5
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Well, while my wife can speak Tamil, she can't read it... Sorry we couldn't be of more assistance...
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Old 14th July 2013, 05:52 AM   #6
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Whilst the subject of translation is discussed, a number of the type have a gold or brass plug in the blades with a symbol on it. I know I've seen this mentioned in the forum in years past but I can not locate it and would like to know the meaning and translation behind this too if anyone is aware of it?

Gavin
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Old 14th July 2013, 08:18 AM   #7
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The stamp Gav shows can also bee seen without any gold, but it can also look like the attached, inlaid with silver.
The sign represents the sound 'OM'. See Robert Elgood: Hindu Arms and Ritual, Pp. 234-235.
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Old 14th July 2013, 07:23 PM   #8
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I dont think that is Tamil. Must be Kannada. The Kodava tribespeople live in Coorg, Karnataka. though they have their own language.

I'm a Tuluva so I have a different language bu I'll ask some of my acquaintances.
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Old 14th July 2013, 09:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANTARU
I dont think that is Tamil. Must be Kannada. The Kodava tribespeople live in Coorg, Karnataka. though they have their own language.

I'm a Tuluva so I have a different language bu I'll ask some of my acquaintances.


Interesting, because my wife and her family hail from Mangalore (but they are native Kannada speakers, not Tulu), though she grew up in Coimbatore (before relocating to B'lore after 12th standard). She says she is certain the script is not Kannada (though after 14 years of marriage, I can vouch that if she is incorrect it wouldn't be the first time she was wrong about something ), and nearly as certain it is an older form of Tamil.

BTW, I was reprimanded for my earlier post in which I said she couldn't read Tamil, which is incorrect; she said she couldn't read this script because it is in an old Tamil script. However, she did recognize a couple of the syllables with some varying dergees of success and certainty, though in sounding the four sequential syllables following the date, she can't quite make sense of it (and I probably did as much harm as good in my attempt to transcribe them phonetically ).

Anyway, still a work in progress, but until something more definitive comes along, this is something to go on - she said she'll see if she can make sense of it later on...
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Old 14th July 2013, 09:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
The stamp Gav shows can also bee seen without any gold, but it can also look like the attached, inlaid with silver.
The sign represents the sound 'OM'. See Robert Elgood: Hindu Arms and Ritual, Pp. 234-235.


Thank you Jens.

I will read further when I have my library out of storage.

I look forward to seeing the script on blade translated in time.

Gav
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Old 15th July 2013, 12:06 AM   #11
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Correction - it appears to be Malayalam. Didn't need the Mrs (Miss Direction?) for this one...



The string after the date appears to spell out "Janavari," which, according to my wife, is a (phonetic) Malayali adaptation of "January," thereby reading, "January 1888."

Any Malayalis in the forum to confirm?





ETA: It is interesting to see the shared similarities among Dravidian languages, just as you see similarities among European languages, Sanskrit-based languages, or any other branching path of a respective language tree.

Last edited by laEspadaAncha : 15th July 2013 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 15th July 2013, 12:19 AM   #12
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To follow up the last post:
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Old 15th July 2013, 12:24 AM   #13
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Apparently, in January 1888, in Travancore, Dewan T. Ram Rao and the Maharaja agreed on the formation of a legislative council that was seen as the kernel of precedence that resulted in the legislative creation of modern-day Kerala. From this link:

Pre-Independence Period (1888-1947)
The seed for a legislative body was sown in Travancore, when in January 1888, the Dewan T.Ram Rao proposed to the Maharaja, the organisation of a Legislative Council so that "the Dewan would gain the benefit of discussing with and taking the opinion of responsible officers associated with him in matters of legislation, one of the most important functions of Government". This proposal was readily approved by Sri Mulam Thirunal Maharaja and a regulation was passed on 30th March, 1888, creating a Legislative Council, of three year tenure, and composed of 8 members of whom 6 were to be officials and 2 non-officials nominated by the Maharaja. The Dewan was to preside over the meetings.

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Old 15th July 2013, 04:23 AM   #14
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Default The Katthi Text

Yes the text is in Malayalam, the language spoken in Kerala.

It reads: 'Kumbalakaran ayyappan
maryamba ambalathil koduthaddu
1888 Janavari'

Which translates as:
'Given by Ayyappan of Kumbalam to the Maryamba Temple 1888 January'

Ayyappan - Name of the Donor
Kumbalam - Name of the town he hails from
Maryamba - Name of the presiding deity in the temple, probably the Goddess Mariamman.
1888 Janavari - 1888 January.

Hope this helped.

Last edited by olikara : 15th July 2013 at 04:26 AM. Reason: Minor phonetic change made
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Old 15th July 2013, 07:44 AM   #15
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Very well done Nidhin - and fast as well .
Jens
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Old 15th July 2013, 08:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Very well done Nidhin - and fast as well .
Jens


You're welcome Jens. The piece is intriguing because of the language the date is written in. The writing is excellent and typical of that era. The patina is good and the inscription has set well into it denoting time.

However, I would have expected the Malayalam era Year and month on the piece instead of the English/Gregorian calendar date, especially for a temple offering. Most Malayalees used the Malayalam Era instead of the English one till the early part of the 20th Century.

This being said pieces with both Malayalam era dates and English era dates together as well as only English era dates are also found frequently. Kerala was foremost among the Southern states to accept Western (read British Anglican) education wholeheartedly and English language primary schools began in the early 1800s itself, open to all castes rather than only the higher ones as maybe in Madras and Calcutta Presidency.

So if you ask me one reason why I like the piece, it is because the date is written as per the English calendar and not the traditional Malayalam one.
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Old 15th July 2013, 01:15 PM   #17
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Thank you very,very much for the translation ! Could I ask why a functional piece such as this sword/tool was offered to a temple rather than money or jewelry, especially since this is not a very ornate piece as some of them are.
Also once given to a temple, how do you think it came to the United States?
Was the place it was housed abandoned or destroyed ?
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Old 15th July 2013, 04:16 PM   #18
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Default Ayda Katthi

Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k
Thank you very,very much for the translation ! Could I ask why a functional piece such as this sword/tool was offered to a temple rather than money or jewelry, especially since this is not a very ornate piece as some of them are.
Also once given to a temple, how do you think it came to the United States?
Was the place it was housed abandoned or destroyed ?


Good question. Temples, Churches, Mosques and other religious places in India receive donations not only in cash but also functional items like cooking vessels (if the place has a communal kitchen), textiles, furniture, etc. This has been the practise since a very long time.

So our man Ayyappan donated the knife to the temple which would have used it as a tool for some purpose. Remember Malabar knives are all cross functional, usable as a weapon or at work.

Most place of worship/religious trusts empty their inventory after every few years, decades or even a century. Items are usually sold through auction and the money goes back to the temple. The item may have been auctioned off most probably some time in it's history. Some are of course pilfered and come out of the temple but knowing how things work with religious trusts in Kerala, I think the former may have been the case.
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Old 15th July 2013, 04:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Very well done Nidhin - and fast as well .
Jens


Sure, Jens! It was my pleasure to put in that time and effort in my attempt to help! Oh, wait...
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Old 15th July 2013, 04:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laEspadaAncha
Sure, Jens! It was my pleasure to put in that time and effort in my attempt to help! Oh, wait...


Chris ;-)
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Old 15th July 2013, 05:26 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k
Thank you very,very much for the translation ! Could I ask why a functional piece such as this sword/tool was offered to a temple rather than money or jewelry, especially since this is not a very ornate piece as some of them are.
Also once given to a temple, how do you think it came to the United States?
Was the place it was housed abandoned or destroyed ?



I've never been to a pooja in South India where a coconut wasn't split in two at some point in the proceedings.
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Old 15th July 2013, 05:43 PM   #22
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Thanks again !
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Old 15th July 2013, 08:33 PM   #23
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I have never been to the south of India, and I am sorry if I have messed something up - it was not my intention. I hoped to help the owner of the Adya Katti, as I know how tiresom it can be to have an inscription - but no translation.
I asked Nidhin in a PM if he could do the translation, and was quite sure that he could, so the fault is mine - sorry.
Jens

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Old 15th July 2013, 09:16 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
I have never been to the south of India, and I am sorry if I have messed something up - it was not my intention. I hoped to help the owner of the Adya Katti, as I know how tiresom it can be to have an inscription - but no translation.
I asked Nidhin in a PM if he could do the translation, and was quite sure that he could, so the fault is mine - sorry.
Jens



No worries, Jens, and I appreciate you taking the time to clarify.

And if I may reciprocate, I did not undertake my effort to attempt to assist another forumite with an expectation of recognition. However, as I - as surely you must as well - value my time (and I know exactly what value I place on my time), given our forum's rich historical record - at least as observable to me in the seven years in which I have been posting here - of employing and encouraging Socratic dialecticism and collective effort as methodologies to seek answers to these ethnographic riddles we all encounter, IMO we introduce a regretable downside risk in giving the impression we no longer value doing so.


BTW, it is very cool that we do indeed have a fluent Malayali speaker in the forum.

Last edited by laEspadaAncha : 15th July 2013 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 16th July 2013, 02:31 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olikara
Chris ;-)



Hello Nidhi... Haygeidhiriya...

My apologies if my horrendous rendering of Kannada (Englada? Karnanglish? ) is illegible. The next time I'm in B'lore, I'll make the trip south... maybe we can horsetrade a piece or two. And I'll have a PM off to you shortly.
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Old 17th July 2013, 05:09 AM   #26
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Default Come on friends....

Jens, I agree wholeheartedly with your effort to help the owner of the Ayda Katthi. Thank you for directing me to the piece. I liked the piece especially on account of the date.

Chris, I am sure Jens and all on the forum appreciate your efforts to help. Your clue that the text is Malayalam obviously got Jens to contact me. He remembered that I can read the language.

So let us all keep the forum moving forward together.

Cheers,
Nidhi
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Old 17th July 2013, 03:54 PM   #27
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Hi Nidhi,

Your sentiments are well-placed and warmly aprpeciated, but to be honest, it is a non-issue AFAIAC, and I'm sure Jens feels the same way. You'll see in my rather lengthy PM I didn't bother mentioning it even once.

Hardly more than a miniscule 'blip' on the radar of the forum, or even of the thread for that matter, and IMO not worth further discussion.

Anyway, back to the adya katthi - this is the first I've seen (which admittedly isn't saying a whole lot) with any inscription. It would be interesting to know what the earliest known (dated) inscription is on a South Indian blade, adya katti or otherwise...
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