Bronze Hilted Chillanum
Place of Origin: South India
Date: 18th Century
An intriguing Indian dagger probably made in the Deccan or slightly further South.
Quite unique in design, but with influences from the traditional Chillanum dagger, see Runjeet Singh catalogue, Arms and Armour of the East (2015), objects 6 and 7. The bronze hilt of a shapelier form than a classical Chillanum, well-formed and well proportioned, the grip is more satisfying to hold, and the boat shaped top comprises of a pommel cap and phallic shaped spike. The lower skirt discreetly covers the socket blade fitting, the bronze taking a wonderfully deep glossy patina.
The blade a re-used sword blade, a technique seen employed on other daggers from the Bikaneer armoury, now kept at Junagarh Fort, Bikaneer, having been captured in Adoni in 1689. It is forged from wootz steel with twin fullers and re-curved profile, a dot-punched armoury number on the spine which appears to be the number 532 in devangari.
See Elgood (2004) for further commentary and examples of Chillanum daggers.