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Spearhead: O.34-1879

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Maker: Unknown




Straight steel double edged leaf shaped blade, of decorative form with a medial ridge bordered with recessed grounds with two raised ribs and a lotus bud at the centre by the forte, slight wings at the base of the blade. The point is quite heavily reinforced. There is a long section of the original bamboo haft covered with a long steel ferrule, dagged at the bottom and braised up one side, and secured with three moulded rings, decorated at either side with triple incised lines


History note: From Ganjam. Probably from the Tanjore armoury, broken up in 1860 (see documentation: Elgood 2004)

Legal notes

Given by Robert Taylor, MA

Measurements and weight

Blade Length: 28.2 cm
Blade Width Max: 6.7 cm
Overall Length: 61.5 cm
Weight: 955 g

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1879) by Taylor, Robert, MA


16th Century, Late
Circa 1560 CE - 1600 CE


From Tanjore (Thanjavur), in southern India, this spear head originally had a bamboo shaft, traces of which can still be seen. The ridge down the centre of the blade makes it very strong making it a formidable weapon.

The reinforced zirah bhonk point suggests an early date. The decorative blade is closely comparable to Metropolitan Museum of Art no. 36.25.1932, ex-Walhouse, Oldman and Stone collection, published in Elgood 2004: fig. 19.10. Elgood compares these with other decorative arms from Vijayanagar, and sculptures such as the horse and rider from Ranganatha Temple, Srirangam (fig. 19.12). See documentation

Components of the work

Blade composed of steel

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 34
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Tag

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: O.34-1879
Primary reference Number: 158340
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 12 May 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Spearhead" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-25 16:20:37

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{{cite web|url= |title=Spearhead |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-25 16:20:37|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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