Sword – Khanda
Steel, gilded copper, Royal blue enamel champlevé decoration
North India or Deccan, circa 1650 for the handle, the blade is probably earlier
Height 96,5 cm
Provenance: formerly in a French private collection of oriental arms
This strong double-edged Khanda sword has a royal blue enamelled handle decorated in the champlevé technique with flowers and leaves. The steel straight blade has two sharp edges and bears a stamped trisula – Shiva’s trident meaning it has probably been reused from an earlier weapon, as the decoration of the handle is Mughal in style. The word khanda is coming from the sanscrit kha meaning “to break, divide, cut, destroy”.
We do not know many examples of objects or weapons using this type of royal blue enamelled decoration. According to Marc Zebrowski, only three pandans, a fly whisk and a sword handle are known. For a study on enamelled gilded copper pieces, see: Zebrowski, M. (1997) Gold, Silver and Bronze from Mughal India, London: Alexandria Press in association with Laurence King, pp. 88 – 91.
For a handle of the same shape, with floral cross-guards, see: Alexander, D. (1992) The Nasser D. Khalili collection of Islamic Art – The Arts of War, London: The Nour Foundation in association with Azimuth Editions and Oxford University Press, Vol. XXI, p. 98, N°62.