Place of Origin: Gond People, Central India
Date: Early 17th Century
An elegantly sculpted steel axe head mounted on a later wooden haft, it is an axe from the Gond people of central India. In terms of quality it is poles apart from those usually seen, and the craftsmanship and design suggests it was made for a chief or other important person.
The haft fits into a beautifully shaped large socket, which is an integral part of the axe head sitting opposite the blade. It acts as a counter balance to the blade, and also a stylish bludgeoning option for its owner; despite its gory functionality it is a beautiful and quite unique design feature to this type of axe; as are the prominent curved back edges on the axe blade. The use of clean sweeping lines is a common feature on this axe, and gives this object a sense of considered craftsmanship.
We can compare this axe to two others in the Royal Jaipur collection, published by Elgood (2015), cat.no.133 and 134, p.196-197. Elgood infers that the two examples in the Jaipur collection were likely owned by defeated tribal chiefs and captured during Raja Jai Singh’s campaign against the Gonds in 1630.