Place of Origin: BUNDI, RAJASTHAN
Date: Mid-19th Century
Overall Length: 425mm
This beautiful weapon bears all the hallmarks of the katars produced in Bundi in the 19th century and, as we know that Maharao Raja Ram Singh (1811 to 1889), the ruler of Bundi, favoured combination weapons, it is very likely that this piece was made under his patronage.
Gold koftgari accents all of the elements of its construction, running in lines along the edges and blooming here and there as four or eight-petalled flowers. The faces of the long side-bars boast more flowerheads, this time framed by outlines and small trefoils—while the bars’ narrow edges have been finished with a continuous line of dots, all rendered with more gold.
Also part of the side-bars are twin percussion pistols, their decorated barrels rifled to impart spin to their bullets and so help to make their trajectories more accurate. Both hammers are deeply knurled to aid grip and the guns’ triggers neatly fold upwards and out of the way when not in use.
The wide blade has a deep, flat fuller that is bordered by a detailed hem of small leaves and a surrounding groove. This design is echoed by the fuller’s central ridge, also flanked by such leaves. This elegant topography all meets at a point near the blade’s tip were the steel thickens to facilitate its penetration of armour. A trio of screws helps to keep the blade secure in the hilt.
An almost identical example is in the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum (object number 948.1.124), having been donated in 1948 by the estate of Earl Herbert Kitchener (1850 to 1916). He was appointed commander-in-chief of India in 1902 and likely collected the dagger during his time there.
 K. Meghani, Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince’s Tour of India, 1875–6, Royal Collection Trust, 2017 p.136.