Twisted Spear Head
Place of Origin: India (Deccan?)
Date: 17th Century
Overall : 360mm (14 inches)
A fine North Indian spear head with beautiful sculptural qualities, each of this piece’s four faces has a deeply carved hollow, lessening the weight yet retaining the metal’s strength. Where it reaches the tubular socket the blade swells to form a bulbous knop, and this is a feature that can be seen on early Middle Eastern and Persian spear heads of similar form—perhaps these informed the design of this particular Indian spear too. The socket has a large central portion which is beautifully fluted in a barleycorn twist pattern.
The Metropolitan Museum has a matching spear head1, shown as part of the 2015 exhibition The Royal Hunt: Courtly Pursuits in Indian Art2. This exhibition not only reminds us of the beautiful yet lethal nature of these objects but, through a painting by Payag of Shah Jahan in the Museum’s collection
3, illustrates that such fine spears were also status symbols carried by royalty.
It is mounted on a short, red shaft and metal base for display.