Object Title

Dagger hilt (bichwa)

Dagger hilt (bichwa)



Object Number



Purchased 5 March 1990.

Physical Description

Of brass, comprising an S-shaped grip of round section, parallel to which is a convex, rectangular guard which narrows at either end and is pierced with three pairs of holes for the attachment of a lining. There is a small quillon block and an onion-shaped extension at either side of the blade, retaining a corroded blade fragment; half of the extension is missing at the grip side, but that at the guard side is complete, retaining two out of an original three iron rivets for the attachment of the blade. The grip is extended into a garuda-shaped pommel, with a curved neck, bulging eyes, short horns and a large, ferocious beak.

The surface is patinated dark brown with green patches, and has been filed down to bright metal in one place, beside which one of the lining holes has been broken out.


Dimensions: The length of the hilt is 160 mm. Weight: The weight of the hilt is 0.2 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

inscribed on the outside of the guard with a long Tamil inscription.



Compare the garuda heads on the daggers from Tanjore (M.J. Walhouse, 'The old Tanjore armoury', 'Indian Antiquary', 7, Bombay, 1878, in W. Egerton, 'An illustrated handbook of Indian arms,' London, 1880, pl. VII).