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Old 10th November 2012, 07:18 AM   #1
longfellow
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Default Ceremonial Axe - with Bells

A Ceremonial sword or axe is what I have to go on. It looks like a type of Ram Dao but the shape is wrong.

Approx. 33 1/2” overall length with the blade extending about 20” past the end of the brass and about 6 1/2” at the broadest part of the blade – top to bottom. All edges of the blade are sharp except the top. Notation with the piece says Ceremonial Axe – Malabar – India – 17th c.

My dad is now past 90, has dementia and recalls very little or less, when he is ‘here’. I only have an occasional notation to decide what is still around the house. I research as I can but since there is still a lot, any observations, comments, information, leads, suggestions, etc. are welcome.
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Last edited by longfellow; 10th November 2012 at 07:21 AM. Reason: add information
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Old 10th November 2012, 09:06 AM   #2
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reminds me of a Kora
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Old 10th November 2012, 09:41 AM   #3
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Strange I was just discussing a similar concept in another thread.
I think this might be a processional/festival piece. Carried at the head of a procession during religious festivals and 'jingled'.
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Old 10th November 2012, 06:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Strange I was just discussing a similar concept in another thread.
I think this might be a processional/festival piece. Carried at the head of a procession during religious festivals and 'jingled'.

Hello Atlantia,

Thank you for the suggestion, but this piece seems a little too, ah, .... 'utilitarian', for just jingling at a festival or to just carry in a procession. With all edges sharp, one wouldn't easily miss when using it. However, they carry rifles and swords, leading the tanks, in parades nowadays so I guess not much difference.

Any suggestion on origin of this style piece?
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Old 10th November 2012, 06:45 PM   #5
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The hilt and the rings remind me of a South Indian Temple Sword (Nayar). From what I understand, they often have different blade shapes, although I've never seen one in this style.
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Old 10th November 2012, 06:58 PM   #6
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There are a couple of interesting threads already on this forum worth checking out:

http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=3165

and

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=3164
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Old 10th November 2012, 08:18 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Shimmerxxx]There are a couple of interesting threads already on this forum worth checking out:

Thank you, Shimmerxxx,

I guess 'Malabar' may be within the realm of possibility. I must admit that I saw a picture of one of these quite a few years ago, but nothing other than the vague image of the picture remains. Oh well, if it weren't for a bad memory, I probably wouldn't have one at all. (Interesting about 'standing' as the resting position.)
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Old 10th November 2012, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longfellow
Hello Atlantia,

Thank you for the suggestion, but this piece seems a little too, ah, .... 'utilitarian', for just jingling at a festival or to just carry in a procession. With all edges sharp, one wouldn't easily miss when using it. However, they carry rifles and swords, leading the tanks, in parades nowadays so I guess not much difference.

Any suggestion on origin of this style piece?

Hi again,

Shimmer's examples show what I'm thinking of. I've seen them being carried at the head of processions and festivals etc.
The one I've actually handled has also got a very 'live' blade.
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Old 10th November 2012, 09:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Hi again,

Shimmer's examples show what I'm thinking of. I've seen them being carried at the head of processions and festivals etc.
The one I've actually handled has also got a very 'live' blade.
Ah, yes. How silly of me. Not necessarily just a 'set piece' in the procession or ceremony, but a main character. Amazing how one can get set on a track and not always easily able to switch to another. Sometimes I just don't think things through. Thank you for the nudge.
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Old 11th November 2012, 12:26 AM   #10
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Paul it sounds like your dad is an exciting and fascinating fellow who clearly had some extraordinarily eclectic interests. It is great that you are sharing these interesting pieces here.
This is indeed as Gene has described, a South Indian 'temple' sword or processional sword, probably from Kerala or regions which may include Malabar. The bells and 'jingles' are auspiciously placed and typically used as 'bearing' swords whose noise keep away demons and malevolent spirits.
Swords of these unusual profiles are actually based on actual weapons used in early Hindu kingdoms and many are seen in iconography as illustrated in Rawson.
These are typically referred to as 'Nayar temple swords' and several other classifications. They are also typically thought of as quite collectible among serious collectors of Indian arms. This example may be considered latter 19th into 20th c. but often these can be earlier. As they are typically in relatively static situations they reflect less aging than many other weapon forms.
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