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Sword: O.90-1879

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Maker: Unknown




The steel blade is straight, double edged and virtually triangular, extending into a long, thin point with a slight medial ridge. The hilt is of katar form, with a broad, concave guard attached to short, wide arms joined by a pair of bars swelling to their centres that form the grip. These are of similar proportions to the grips of contemporary khanda. At the front of the guard are heavy triangular reinforces secured to the blade by three rivets, and decorated with a section of cusped and scalloped edge accompanied by pierced holes. From the outside of the guard springs a much damaged defence for the back of the hand, of deep V-section and terminating in a stylised dragon head finial. Riveted to the ends of the arms is an additional guard, also of V-section, from which spring two sinuous guards which extended to the front of each bar. One of these is broken, but either end survives. The hilt is covered with black paint, the blade and reinforces polished bright and pitted from earlier corrosion


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: 81.5 cm
Overall Length: 95 cm
Weight: 950 g

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century
Circa 1500 CE - 1600 CE


This type of sword is very different to most swords as the grip is at right angles to the blade, and not a continuation of the blade. It was held in the hand and used a thrusting fashion. The blade is very tapered and ends in a long, thin point, ideal for stabbing attack. The back of the hand is protected by an additional plate which has a dragon headed finial.

Components of the work

Blade composed of steel

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 90
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Tag

Inscription present: adhesive

  • Text: 90
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: O.90-1879
Primary reference Number: 158405
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) "Sword" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-23 09:21:05

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{{cite web|url= |title=Sword |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-23 09:21:05|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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