Not currently on display at the V&A

Two-Handed Sword

probably 19th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The Khasi dao is a form of two-handed sword used by the Khasi people inhabiting the hills to the south of the Brahmaputra valley. Although a well balanced two-handed sword, their principal role is in religious ceremonies related to the agricultural cycle.
Its distribution is not just confined to the Khasi hills. Variants of it form part of the religious practices of the Ao and Lhota Nagas and the Bodo people. Among the Ao where they are referred to as noklang, three times a year a mithun (a forest-dwelling relative of the water buffalo) is sacrificed to ensure the goodwill of the gods and safeguard the rice harvest. During the ritual, a pair of noklang are placed upright in the ground by their tangs. If one of the noklang falls over during the ceremony, it is considered a bad omen for the harvest.


Object details

Categories
Object type
Brief description
Two-handed sword Khasi dao steel brass, Assam (Khasi hills), 19th century
Marks and inscriptions
Credit line
Transferred from the India Museum in 1879
Production
Transferred from the India Museum to South Kensington Museum in 1879
Summary
The Khasi dao is a form of two-handed sword used by the Khasi people inhabiting the hills to the south of the Brahmaputra valley. Although a well balanced two-handed sword, their principal role is in religious ceremonies related to the agricultural cycle.
Its distribution is not just confined to the Khasi hills. Variants of it form part of the religious practices of the Ao and Lhota Nagas and the Bodo people. Among the Ao where they are referred to as noklang, three times a year a mithun (a forest-dwelling relative of the water buffalo) is sacrificed to ensure the goodwill of the gods and safeguard the rice harvest. During the ritual, a pair of noklang are placed upright in the ground by their tangs. If one of the noklang falls over during the ceremony, it is considered a bad omen for the harvest.
Collection
Accession number
1687(IS)

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Record createdJune 25, 2009
Record URL
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