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Old 14th September 2006, 12:26 AM   #1
Bill M
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Default South Indian Sword

OAL - 29" supposed to be 17th - 18th century South Indian sword.

Would like opinions and comments.
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Old 14th September 2006, 12:33 AM   #2
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No offense Bill , but that sword for some reason doesn't look 300 + yrs old .
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Old 14th September 2006, 12:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
No offense Bill , but that sword for some reason doesn't look 300 + yrs old .


Oops. It is supposed to be 18th century. Not 17th / 18th.

It is is very good shape for anything approximating its stated age.

I don't know how to really judge these things, but if you look on page 322 of Anthony Tirri's book he calls it a "Nair fighting sword -- 18th century".

I was going back to edit my post and add the part about Tirri when Rick answered.

I would think that "Nair" and "fighting sword" are in conflict if the Nair is another way to spell Newyar / temple sword that was used in religious rituals.

Could Nair mean a subcult? Another group?

I don't know anything more about it and would appreciate some more comments.

Last edited by Bill Marsh : 14th September 2006 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 14th September 2006, 01:03 AM   #4
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Maybe the Mods should combine your thread with Andy's.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=3164
Anyway, i agree with Rick, looks more 19thC to me.....but who cares! That's freakin' beautiful Bill! Andy calls his a "flambouyant" which i must admit was not what i thought that word meant in connection with swords. Nice piece regardless.
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Old 14th September 2006, 11:56 AM   #5
Ian
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Default Perhaps not so old ...

Bill:

Could you tell us more about the materials in this sword.

There are features here that are new to me for a S. Indian flamboyant sword. I've not seen any with such a single broad fuller and such a heavily recurved blade. Also, the hilt seems odd in its construction, especially the handle and arrangement of the "plates" at the end. Do they jingle when the sword is shaken?

Perhaps Artzi could shed some more light on this style. There are some discordant features that make me think it might be a 19th C. version of an earlier sword.

In any case it is a beautiful sword.

Regards,

Ian.

P.S. "Nair" is the name given to Hindus living in SW India along the Malabar Coast in what are now the states of Karnataka and Kerala.
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Old 14th September 2006, 05:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Bill:

Could you tell us more about the materials in this sword.

There are features here that are new to me for a S. Indian flamboyant sword. I've not seen any with such a single broad fuller and such a heavily recurved blade. Also, the hilt seems odd in its construction, especially the handle and arrangement of the "plates" at the end. Do they jingle when the sword is shaken?

Perhaps Artzi could shed some more light on this style. There are some discordant features that make me think it might be a 19th C. version of an earlier sword.

In any case it is a beautiful sword.

Regards,

Ian.

P.S. "Nair" is the name given to Hindus living in SW India along the Malabar Coast in what are now the states of Karnataka and Kerala.



Malabar is an area where the Theyyam live. I have a great interest in them! Is the Nair like the Newar or Newyar? Now we are getting someplace.

I will send this link to Artzi and see what light he can shed on it.
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Old 14th September 2006, 07:08 PM   #7
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The materials look like steel and brass to me.
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Old 14th September 2006, 08:52 PM   #8
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Default Nair

Bill:

The following is from Wikepedia concerning the Nair caste.

Nair or Nayar (Malayalam: നായ൪) is the name of a Hindu caste in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Nairs are an integral part of Kerala's culture and have a long and illustrious history. The Nair caste was a martial nobility that occupied an important place in the history of Kerala.

Ancient South Indian history refers to the Nairs as a martial nobility, eminent historians, and foreign travelers, similar to the Samurais of Japan and perhaps the Knights of England. According to Chatampi Swamigal who interpreted old Tamil texts, the Nairs were Naka (Naga or Snake) Lords who ruled as feudal lords in the Chera kingdom.

The origin of the Nair caste is uncertain. Some anthropologists are of the view that the Nairs are not indigenous to Kerala, as many customs and traditions distinguished them from other Keralites. Some examples are their own form of inheritance (Marumakkathaayam), warfare (Kalaripayattu), gods and goddesses (Nagas or serpents, and Bhadhrakali), and numerous sub-castes and surnames. There is also a belief that the Nairs are Nagas. Velu Pillai, in the 'Travancore State Manual', explains how the Namboodiris were met by the martial Dravidian Nagas who had migrated like them, from the North. The Keralolpathi mentions that Varuna had gifted land in Kerala to Nagas and the Nairs descended from these Rakshasa (implying Dravidian) Naga ladies and Brahmin men. The affinity of the Nair community to Serpents and Serpent worship is indisputable and might have given rise to their reputed Naga origin. Naga worship might have also given rise to the mythical version of Nairs being Kshatriyas belonging to the Serpent dynasty (Nagavansham) who removed their sacred thread and migrated south to escape the wrath of a vengeful Parasurama.


A Nair Lady, by Ravi Varma


One finds mention of the Nairs during the reign of the King Rama Varma Kulashekhara (1020-1102) of the second Chera dynasty, when the Chera Kingdom was attacked by the Cholas. The Nairs fought by forming suicide squads (Chavers) against the invading force. It is not clear whether the Cheras themselves were Nairs, or if the Cheras employed the Nairs as a warrior class. All the Kings of Kerala boasted of how many Nairs were there in their army. Thus Travancore, Kochi, Samuthiri (Zamorine), a Nair king and Kolathiri each had 350,000 Nayars in their armies. Kurumbranadu had 30,000 Nayars. Valluvanadu had an army of 10,000 Nayars. The Madras Regiment of the Indian Army was raised from the "Nair Brigade" of the Kingdom of Travancore. The term "Nair" itself in Malayalam is a synonym of warrior.

Nairs were very rigid about their customs and traditions. Anybody who broke those customs were declared outcasts or lowered in rank. History however is clear that Nairs respected all religions and beliefs and that is central to the growth of other religions in Kerala in comparison to the rest of South India.

The Nairs gradually lost their supremacy over the land after the collapse of the second Chera kingdom. By this time, the Namboothiris replaced the Nairs as the seniormost class in the social hierarchy of Kerala. However Nairs continued to be the feudal lords and land owners right up to the British times. They dominated the civil, administrative and military elite of the Pre-British era of Kerala.

The Nair community which is around 6 million people all over the world. They can be seen in all walks of life in all modern professions. Nair men and women are known for their good looks and sharp features. The Nair lifestyle emphasised good looks and a healthy lifestyle.

Ian.
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Old 14th September 2006, 10:43 PM   #9
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Jose -- looks like brass and steel to me.

Ian -- thanks for the info on the Nair. Fascinating!

The south Indian culture particularly interests me. Here are some of the Theyyam.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theyyam

the sword in my picture is silver with sliver plated brass sideplates. It is not sharp.

I also have a small shield and a breastplate like in the other pictures. I very much hope to be able to travel there and see these fabulous dancers sometime.
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Old 16th September 2006, 07:17 PM   #10
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Bill, this last puppy is a wonderful temple piece and nicely done. Thanks for sharing.
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