Language: Malabar
Source: Contemporary source

Description

Kayamkulam vaal is a type of talwar hilted straightsword that was used by local nobility on the Malabar coast.

Kayamkulam refers to the medieval Kingdom established in the 11th century which was incorporated into Travancore in 1746, after which it became a princely state. Vaal is the local word for a double-edged sword.

Kayamkulam swordA Kayamkulam vaal sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2017.

Examples

Very few examples survived or have been published. The most famous is probably the sword of Velu Thampi (1765–1809) who was prime minister of Travancore between 1802 and 1809 and who rebelled against the British East India Company. Another is in The National Museum, Edinburgh, Scotland. It is illustrated on the back of the dust jacket of Hindu Arms & Ritual by Robert Elgood.

Another example is still held in the old Kayamkulam royal Palace in Krishnapuram, a photo is on Wikimedia Commons.1

A kayamkulam vaal sword from the Malabar coast, south India

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Of the Malabar coast, South India.

Sold

This example has a beaded outer rim and a smooth inside rim, with in-between alternating stylized lotus petals. Such lotus petal borders are also seen on the base of Buddhist statues, where the lotus symbolizes the path towards enlightenment:

€2000,-

A fine sword guard dating from the height of the Qing dynasty. It were fine Chinese dāo hùshǒu like this example that became the prototypes for an entire genre of Japanese tsuba with strong Chinese influence. It's nice to find a 100% Chinese example from time to time, like this one.

€1500,-

A Chinese sword guard from the 18th century with a Buddhist mantra in lantsa script.

€800,-

It's face covered with beautifully lacquered leather, in that characteristic earlier style.

€5200,-

Such rings were worn by Qing dynasty "bannermen" as a sign of their status as a conquest elite.

€600,-
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