Place of Origin: Sirohi, Rajasthan
Date: 18th Century
Overall Length: 495mm (19.5 Inches)
Gold covers the edges and ends of this fine katar’s side-bars, the twin grip-bars formed with swollen centres and joined by rounded mouldings at each side. Preceding the hilt’s knuckle-bar is a horizontal line of exquisitely chiselled semi-circles which cleverly interlock and overlap, a pleasing sign of the maker’s skill and attention to detail. The shape of the knuckle-bar itself resembles an open book, the sloping arches of which curl back to form the heads of open-mouthed makara, below which two further makara – this time shown leaping over the blade’s forte – appear at either side of a central lotus flower.
The watered steel blade is carved on each face to produce a slender medial ridge between two planed fullers which are accented by two more running almost parallel to the edges of the blade. These taper to meet the end of the medial ridge, forming the dagger’s reinforced armour-piercing tip.
An iron chape depicting a lotus in gold koftgari at its centre is fitted to the katar’s red leather-covered scabbard, perhaps intended to harmonise with the dagger’s finely chiselled forte and knuckle-bar. The elegant arrangement of fullers visible on this blade is found on other examples, such as one published in Robert Elgood, Rajput Arms & Armour: the Rathores & their Armoury at Jodhpur Fort Volume 2, Mehrangarh Museum Trust, 2017, p. 720. Elgood states that the links between the grips is a feature found in katars from Sirohi (see the same book cited above, pp. 671 & 695), although we suspect that it is a feature that comes from earlier South Indian katars. The open book shape at the top of the blade is also a South Indian feature – see Runjeet Singh, Arms & Armour from the East 2015, Cat. No. 2.