flattened ovoid grip for the hand

Extremely rare Tamil Valari or Birudungi Wooden War Boomerang 19th century

A rare wooden throwing stick or 'boomerang' from South India dating to the 19th century or earlier. This Tamil weapon is very hard to find, in its more common steel form it is known as Singa, it has various names in southern languages: Valari (Tamil)Katariya (Khol), Birra Jungee/Birudungi (Hyderabad), Vălaytădi (malayalam). The form itself presumably is of very ancient origin, used in warfare and hunting - the term boomerang which has stuck amongst collectors is prehaps misleading as it is a non returning weapon.All surviving examples share several features in common, the ball or egg shaped knob for gripping, flattened deeply curved body, and a squared flaring end. This example has the angles of the end worn smooth by its great age and use. The dense dark wood has a glossy patina allover, there are minute traces of a paper label near the handle, and a band of lighter coloured wood near the centre perhaps where a label or fabric was once applied. Similar examples can be seen in the British Museum, Quai Branly, Fitzwilliam and Liverpool Museum amongst others.

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