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61,5 cm / axe blade 11,7 cm
steel, hardwood, brass
Late 18th to 19th century, India
41 cm from the butt final
UK art market
18th century, India
This is a rare type of tabar axe with an 'L'-shaped blade. Elgood refers to this axe as being 'tribal' because of the steel bridge linking the blade to the haft. Our example has a brass casted kneeling figure on top of the square axe head. Telling from its features this is probably the Hindu god Garuda in its anthropomorphic form. The blade is stil sharp and is forged into its form and not cut shaped. The hardwood shaft is reinforced with a strip of steel all the way from the head to the sixt washer. The wooden shaft is firmly secured to the reinforcing plate by 6 rivets with flower shaped washers on either side. The washers are or iron and brass. The shaft has a ball-shaped butt final that allowed to attach a wrist loop. Condition is very good. Recently cleaned blade. Some staines and dark color patches. Below a detail from a Mughal miniature attributed to 1654 in the 'Padshahnama', depicting a man carrying a similar tabar 'Farsa' over his shoulder.
'Arms and Armour at the Jaipur Court', Robert Elgood, p. 203, item 138, as a 'Farsa axe'
'Mortal beauty, Arms and Armour of India and China', Exhibition Catalogue, 2015, by E. Karlova, A. Pastukhov, A. Popov, E. Uspenskaya, p. 242, number 166, Tabar
A similar axe on display at the Royal Armouries, Leeds. This axe belonged to the Rajah of Iyenagore and is part of the Lahore axes and maces.
An example with an ebony haft and ivory grip in
Hermitage Room 65, Eastern weapons
Livrustkammaren, The Royal Armoury, Stockholm.
Mehrangarh Fort Museum, Rajasthan
A similar item as ours in the Junagarh Fort Museum, Bikaner
This item is gone. Be sure to check out the available collection.