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Ivory Khanjarli

Place of Origin: Orissa, India

Date: 18th Century

Reference: 094

Status: Available

Full Description:

A fine example of an Indian dagger known as a khanjarli, categorised as such by the short-recurved blade and distinctively shaped hilt.  In this case the hilt is made up of four pieces of highly polished ivory, including a large lunette pommel.  Fully developed in form, the khanjarli form is thought to have evolved from the chillanum (1), which was largely produced in the Deccan and South India in the seventeenth century.

The blade is forged from wootz steel, with a particularly thick raised central spine which is flanked by deep precise fullers, and a central stylistic pattern.  The upper portion of the blade has large flat edges with a stylized Yali or Makara either side, a symbol often used on arms and armour for its protective qualities.  The steel tang on which the ivory grips are secured is forged as one piece with the blade.

An oval shaped hand guard is joined to the blade and has a small bulbous pommel on one side, and small drooping hook on the other.  These are likely to provide functional applications as opposed to being decorative.  The wide knuckle guard, also an applied component, is chased with patterns, and has a finial carved in the form of a Yali head.

See Nordlunde (2016), no.27, p.67 for a similar example.

(1) Singh, Arms & Armour from the East, 2015, p.19, cat. no.6.