Short Shamshir Mysori

Mysori Short Shamshir (India)

Code: IP2

This curved bladed short sword was purchased from a woman in England who was cleaning her attic. The dagger had been in her family for over 60 years. Her grandfather was stationed in India so she suspected that is where it comes from.  Indeed, preliminary research suggests it is from southern India and intended as a court weapon in the Kingdom of Mysore (Princely State of Mysore).  A short version of the parabolic shamshir blade would be less obtrusive in such settings.  Furthermore, the “makara” (see below) decoration on the hilt is a typical motif found on royal thrones.  It dates to late 18th or early 19th century.

Hilt detail - Makara - Mysori Short Shamshir (India)It has a steel blade measuring approx 16.5 " x 1" width - tapering to a point.  The blade is sharpened on the convex edge, or “outside”, of the curve.  The ornamental brass chased handle featurs flowers and mythical creature at the end. The hilt measures 4" making total overall length of item 20.5".

“The khanjhar style hilt is in the form of a makara, the mythical aquatic beast that served as the mount for the Hindu god Varuna. This creature is often found in the motif of royal thrones and in architectural motif of sacred Buddhist monuments (there is of course considerable similarity in Buddhist and Hindu symbolism and theology). The yellow brass, and the floral design of the base of the hilt suggest this weapon may be Mysori, and probably of 19th century, quite likely in the early years.”  - Jim McDougall, Ethnographic Weapons Researcher

Traditionally, a makara is considered to be an aquatic creature, and some traditional accounts identify it with crocodile, whereas some other accounts identify it with dolphin. Still others portray it as a fish body with an elephant's head. The tradition identifies the makar with water, the source of all existence and fertility. In astronomy, it is the sign of capricorn, one of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac.  In Indian art, the makara finds expression in the form of motifs, and has been so portrayed in different styles both on Buddhist monuments and on royal thrones

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