Place of Origin: Vijayangara
Date: Second Half of the 16th Century
A fine example of a so-called hooded katar, sometimes attributed to a larger group of iron katars from the Tanjore armoury. This example has great integrity and a crisp quality, which is particularly evident in the precise and sharp narrow fullering on the locally made blade. Elgood (1) points out that these local blades were beginning to be replaced by cut down European sword blades in the closing decades of the sixteenth century, which were highly prized exotic imports at the time.
The hooded shell guard is beautifully modelled, and takes influence from Islamic architecture which was being adopted by the Hindu court in the royal center in Hampi in the mid-sixteenth century. It is particularly evident in the four cusped arches at the base of the shell guard, and also at the top of the side bars which have similar arches, and are finished with bulbous pommels. The hand guard sweeps up elegantly to a finial in the form of a ferocious yali head, a south Indian mythological creature, which would provide a protective function. The grip is quite typical with two parallel bars each with large central spheres.
For a similar example see Metropolitan museum, New York, No.36.25.904.
(1) Elgood, Hindu Arms and Ritual, 2004, p.145-148.