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18th C. Mughal Tabarzin Axe

( ID: ia421 )

This example of a select antique weapon features a durable fighting head with much of the gold koftgari preserved.  The original shaft retains the original brown velvet, which is now stained.  The pierce in its entirety spans 25 inches in length with the cutting edge of the axehead is 5 inch-es long.  Examples of the piece are found in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Muse-um of Art in New York. 

The Tabarzin, translated from the original Persian as "saddle-hatchet" was the traditional battle axe of the Persian Empire or what is modern day Iran.  The antique weapon traditionally bears one or two crescent-shaped blades.  The long form of the tabar often reached approximately sev-en feet in length, while the shorter version spanned nearly three feet.  

Persian weaponry mirrors East Indian weaponry in some cases, as the two cultures  intermingled frequently during this time period. The thin handle of the Persian axe distinguished it from other pieces, as it is quite light and metallic.  Wandering dervishes at times carried the weapon as a symbol of Muslim ascetic worship.  Persian craftsmen introduced the art from of koftgari, i.e. the inlay of gold and silver wire on iron objects, to the sub-continent following the Mughal empire expansion.  

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