Place of Origin: Rajasthan, India
Date: 17th Century
An Indian ‘Zaghal’ Axe, in an all-steel, precise, undecorated form, that has become synonymous with arms and armour of the former Princely state of Bikaner.
This ‘Zaghnal’, from the Persian word translating to ‘Crows-Beak’, has a triangular, slightly curved blade of watered steel, with a raised central spine and swollen tip for armour piercing. The square section socket is marked with the Devanagari number ‘12’ and a longer marking on the opposite face which is done with a punch dot, a technique which is another hallmark of the Bikaner armoury. Opposite the blade is a striking hammer, with an octagonal waist, the striking surface is also ground to an octagonal apex.
The tubular steel shaft is beautifully constructed in three parts, the upper part twisted, with the ‘twists’ each being chased with a thick line in the grooves. A large central portion is nine-sided with a long un-deciphered inscription on one face. The last octagonal portion is elegantly flared like a piece of Mughal jade, one of the sides has a further punch dot marking which seems to have more antiquity than the other markings.
See Elgood (2015), cat.no.137, p.202 for a similar item.