Nandaka temple sword with a blade that curves at the end, then juts of at a right angle. There are 3 pierced holes along the blade that may once have held rattles. There are two rattles remaining on the pommel. The grip itself is made of wood. The section at either side of the top of the blade has decorative fretwork detail.

Nandaka or Vishnu’s sword, south-west India. Kinked ritual blade with holes for the attachment of dangling rattles. Bell pommel with dangling rattles attached. Wooden handle. The guard looks to be early, but such swords are difficult to date. Nandaka swords were worshiped in south-west India as the vessel within which the goddess Bhagavati resides. Their blades are thin and adorned with rattles because they are required to vibrate on the temple floor, thus indicating that they have been inhabited by the goddess. They are not used to perform sacrifices. In Kerala they continue to serve a ritual purpose.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk