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Spearhead: O.38-1879

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown




Very large straight steel double edged waisted blade with a very prominent medial rib on the lower half, changing to a medial ridge in a point of diamond section on the upper half. The tang is visible at the end of a fragment of the original bamboo haft. The end of the haft is reinforced with a ferrule of copper alloy, chiselled to attach it to the haft at the top, decorated with a scalloped edge and two sets of incised lines at the bottom. On the ferrule is a loose ring of copper alloy


History note: 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: 40.1 cm
Blade Width Max: 10.9 cm
Overall Length: 61.5 cm
Weight: 1190 g

Acquisition and important dates

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


15th Century, Late
Circa 1460 CE - 1500 CE


The reinforced zirah bhonk point suggests the early date. Elgood (2004: 192, fig. 19.9) compares these to a group from the Government Museum Chennai, and suggests they pre-date the decorative spears of Vijayanagar, such as O.39-1879 here. Taylor gives no provenance, and suggests that this and 37 were fitted to 14ft bamboos and used to attack riders on elephants.

Components of the work

Blade composed of steel

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 38
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Tag

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: O.38-1879
Primary reference Number: 158346
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Spearhead" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-02-27 01:48:07

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{{cite web|url= |title=Spearhead |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-02-27 01:48:07|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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