Nepalese Sacrificial Ram Dao
India, Bengali Regions or Nepal – 19th century
Materials: Steel, Iron, Brass, Wood, Pigment
The ‘Ram Dao‘ is a sacrificial weapon from the Bangali and Nepalese regions. It was used during the annual Hindoo ‘Dessehra’ sacrifice festivals and represents the spiritual presence of the worshipping of Kali. One of the facets of the sacrifices to Kali is by spilling blood. The ‘Ram Dao‘ was meant to decapitate a buffalo as it would resemble the slaying of the buffalo demon Mahishasura which was done by Kali’s progenitor, Durga.
Made of steel and attached to the blade, consisting of a segmented rod which ends in a wooden handle which is riveted to the hilt by a brass pommel-cap. The terminal of the rod ends in a makara head and is fully engraved and decorated with a bright red pigment. The wooden handle has a brass ferrule on both sides.
Being top-heavy and depicting a creature with a pronounced snout, decorated with a brass finial. The protrusion half way on top of the blade represents the hat of Mahishasura, an auspicious symbol that stands for the decapitating of the buffalo demon. The blade shows a carved decoration of an inlayed brass eye on both sides which represents the witnessing of the slaying of Mahishasura.
Condition: Excellent, good original patina. The pommel-cap has an old damage. Comes on a modern display stand.
Blade length: 70.5
Blade spine thickness: 5.5mm
Total length: 90cm
Sources: Ravinder Reddy’s ‘Arms & Armour of India, Nepal & Sri Lanka‘
Comparable examples: The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York acc.nr. 36.25.1284
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