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steel, iron, brass
UK antique market
A rare 'Kayamkulam vaal' sword from the Malabar coast. I was lucky having owned two examples in the past. Both from the same collection. This item has a straight shortened fullered blade probably of European manufacture. European blades are often found on South Indian arms throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th century. The hilt is plated with copper and it's unclear what's underneath without the risk of damaging it. It has the typical characteristics setting it apart from the more common tulwar hilts. The geometric dots, the cusped langets, the thick disc pommel boarded with geometric motifs, the flanged pommel dome. It's in an average condition. There are dents to the pommel and the langets. A small stress line near the cross guard and the blade feels loose. UK provenance. 60 cm overall, 430 grams. A rare and desirable sword.
Few examples survive making this a very desirable object. The most famous is probably the sword of Velu Thampi (1765–1809), prime minister of Travancore between 1802 and 1809.
A similar sword is kept at The National Museum, Edinburgh, Scotland bought to the Paris Exhibition of 1855 by the East Indian Company.
The sword is illustrated on the rear sleeve of Hindu Arms & Ritual by Robert Elgood. Another example is still held in the old Kayamkulam royal Palace in Krishnapuram.
A few swords on the display in the Arakkal Museum, Kannur
A few swords on display in the Mattancherry Palace, Kochi, Kerala
Interested in this item? Contact me.