Sunday, March 22, 2009

Decorative World of Indian Ancient Weapons


It is a known fact that in the ancient and medieval history of India warfare played a prominent role for all maharajahs and kings and emperors who tried to attain supremacy and dominance of a particular region. Conquest by military arms and means were more than an expression of power and strength. Victory in war brought honor, dignity, fame, glory and territorial gain. This was an important element of ancient Indian society and culture.

The ancient Indian army was composed of four divisions: elephant, chariot, cavalry and infantry. The soldiers were normally armed with a variety of weapons, which were both defensive and offensive. The chief arms of ancient and medieval armies were bows and arrows. The curved bow was widely used in later times. Even in the age of firearms, because of effectiveness and reliability of bows and arrows, they continued to be the most important weapons of armies .

Together with bows and arrows, swords had been used in Indian warfare. Available in many shapes and sizes, each piece was designed in terms of ease of handling and striking an opponent. The mace, was another weapon, a symbol of authority, and used for jabbing or hurling. The battle-axe was first developed as a weapon of the aristocracy. Metal and leather armor were seen used by soldiers from an early period. Helmets came during the medieval period. Daggers were used both on and off the battlefield. They were used both as fighting weapons as well as ceremonial weapons . In terms of design and style, daggers were definitely the most creative and colorful of all Indian weapons.

The manufacturing and using of firearms and gunpowder changed the face of Indian warfare as also in other parts of the world. A highly unusual weapon was the jamadhar-tamancha. This was actually half-dagger and half-pistol. They were used side by side with traditional weapons such as bows and arrows.

Thus there were a whole range of weapons used in ancient times to kill, injure or hurt people. The same objects are today beautifully decorated and used as antique collections. They are kept in museums. Commercially they are sold to be used in hotels, restaurants and other elite places. There are many who manufactures and supplies exact replicas of these weapons. This shows to what extent Indians love ornamentation. The artistic creativity of craftsmen can be seen in the ancient weapons. No doubt, ancient weapons could be beautiful, attractive and decorative without impairing its effectiveness in war.
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