Sword (Khanda)

Indian, South India

Not on view

Khanda-like double-edged straight swords with flaring tips can be seen in sculptures dating back as early as to the fourth century CE. They subsequently developed into several subtypes prior to the Islamic expansion into the subcontinent, and were particularly widespread in the southern regions of India. Swords of this type were used in many forms of Indian martial arts, but also carried religious significance. In religious art, Hindu and Buddhist deities are often shown wielding or holding double-edged swords of the khanda or one of its subtypes, and Sikhism regards these types of swords as religious symbols as well. Although the proposed sword is soberly decorated, it is important as a representative example of the South Indian region that speaks for the longevity of local fighting styles when the general trend was to replace straight swords by curved swords (e.g., talwar), which were better suited for mounted warfare. It will thus fill an important gap in our collection.

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