This is an fine example of a 16th Hindu khanda sword with an early style hilt and a patissa shaped blade of exceptional quality wootz. The pattern in the wootz is one of the finest we've seen on a Hindu khanda, which normally have a tighter Indian crystalline wootz, and more rarely have the complex whorl designs which are indicative more of early Persian swords.
This example displays some of the finest watering that can be found on an Indian sword and has no dark spots at all throughout. The pattern is vivid and has the complex whorls that indicate a controlled forging to create an aesthetically pleasing pattern.
The hilt is the early Indian style hilt as noted in Rawson constructed of iron with incised decorative lines and retaining its original faceted dome shaped pommel, indicative of south Indian architectural elements.The more common two handedkhanda is a weapon of cultural and religious significance in India. The khanda plays a central role in the nine-day Hindu festival of Nauratra in Rajasthan and other Rajput areas. Nauratra glorifies the war-goddess Durga and the war-god Shiva, who are seen as wife and husband in some branches of Hinduism, though not in others. On the fourth day of Nauratra, the Rajput prince goes in procession to his local chaugan, a grassed ceremonial ground, where he oversees the slaughter of a buffalo. Then he proceeds to the Temple of Durga. Here, he performs Kharga Shapna, 'The Imprecation of the Sword', where he worships the khanda and the standard of the Raj Jogi, the high priest of Shiva. In this way, the prince pays homage to Shiva and Durga, making offerings of sugar-water and rose-garlands. Having performed this devotion, the prince leaves the temple and proceeds to a nearby location, where a second buffalo has been staked. He ritually sacrifices this animal by shooting it with an arrow.
This is normally done with the two handed khanda sword, and the early form of the khanda as can be seen here was likely utilized in the same manner further in antiquity.
The sword comes with a scabbard which has been with since at least the 1960s when it was photographed as part of a dealer's collection available for sale. The scabbard is likely later but very well made with fine original silver mounts of the correct design. The sword was likely re-used in the 19th C. and this scabbard made then.
A fine heavy sword at 38, blade is 32 long and 2 1/2 wide at the swell. The blade retains its original ovoid cross-section as it has not be ground down over the many centuries.
Reference:Rawson, P.The Indian Sword. London. 1968; Pitts Rivers Museum, Oxford University