An Important Ceremonial Brass Sugar Hammer
An Important Ceremonial Brass Sugar Hammer
An Important Ceremonial Brass Sugar Hammer
An Important Ceremonial Brass Sugar Hammer

An Important Ceremonial Brass Sugar Hammer

1780 India

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£1,900 gbp
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It's handle in the form of a human arm terminating in a hand possibly holding a length of sugar-cane. The ring finger having an empty jewel setting the wrist adorned with a rope-work bracelet the elbow with a double rope-work armlet surmounted with a cabochon setting for five gem-stones, above which the upper arm has engraved and punch-work decoration.
The hammer-head issuing from a beasts mouth who's likeness resembles a tiger or a leopard and who's eyes were possibly originally set with gem- stones. The fluke engraved with a feathered parrot
Excellent condition but showing some signs of wear, gem stones missing.
lthough sugar cane is believed to have originated in New Guinea the first commercial sugar plantations were in India Circa 350.
The Indian's had managed to produce it in a crystallized form which made it an internationally trade-able commodity which came to be known as a 'fine spice' & in the 15th century was set in enormous earthenware moulds and turned out as 'sugar loaves'. These loaves were known to be three feet in height & fourteen inches in diameter. This necessitated sugar hammers and axes to break it down into manageable sizes so it could then be nipped into usable lumps.
Sugar hammers and axes were generally made of steel, consequently I believe our brass example was intended for ceremonial use and that its elaborate design and original ostentatious bejewelled form was more a mark of its owner than it's function. Though having said that it does exhibit a serious amount of wear but who knows what uses it has been put to in more recent times.
It would no doubt have been a special commission with the feathered parrot engraved upon it's fluke an emblem of the family that commissioned it, who themselves were most likely plantation owners.
These hammers are ceremonial because the 'breaking of sugar' took place in the presence of a retinue of invited guests
Width 8.00 inch (20.32 cm)
P.O.Box 2601

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