Battle axe (Tabar) with hidden Dagger

  • Dated: 19th century
  • Culture: Northern Indian
  • Medium: steel, copper, brass
  • Measurements: overall length: 56 cm; axe’s blade length: 13 cm; dagger’s blade length: 26 cm

This ‘tabar’ features a crescent shaped head with a steel blade covered in brass and decorated with engraved arabesque motifs. In the counter blade it has an elephant surrounded by two tigers, in a perfect silhouette, made of forged brass. The tubular handle is completely covered in brass, ornamented with a vegetal themed chisel work. It is finished by a lotus button which serves as a handle for a small dagger hidden inside it.

Source: Copyright © 2016 Caravana Collection


Ottoman Janissary Balta Battleaxe

  • Dated: second half of the 18th century
  • Measurements: overall length 70 cm, bit 18 cm

A massive example, the form strongly associated with the Janissary Corps. The heavily-bearded, rectangular head scrolled where it meets the socket, with broad, elaborately gold- inlaid borders involving seven-pointed suns surrounded by seven circles or stars throughout.

Each side with a central cartouche enclosing a cryptic Ottoman inscription, tentatively translated as The Guarded (or Protected) Word. On its original fitted hardwood haft of rounded-triangular section, tapering continuously in profile toward the butt before expanding for the last third and tapering abruptly again at the tip.


  • The Janissaries were created circa 1330 by Sultan Murad I as crack infantry troops, drawn from among non-Muslim subjects. By the 15th century they were a force to be reckoned with throughout Europe and Asia and had also become inextricably linked with a mystical order called the Bektasi dervishes, who accompanied the Janissaries into battle as unarmed spiritual protectors. 
  • The Bektasis espoused Sevener Shi'ism; a numeral the symbolic importance of which extended from the number of recognized Imams to the number of heavens. The sect’s hermetic and syncretic nature, together with its considerable political influence, eventually brought it into conflict with the religious and temporal authority of the Ottoman Sultans.
  • As a result, the Bektasi order was compelled to go underground, relying on secret signs and symbols for recognition among its still-numerous members. In 1826 Sultan Mahmud II suppressed the Bektasis, and massacred the Janissaries.

Source & Copyright: Auction Flex