Place of Origin: Rajasthan, India
Date: Circa 1850 A.D.
‘....the tongue of death’ is how an identical katar in the Metropolitan museum is described with an inscription in Sanskrit on the forte of the blade. The dagger shown here has no such inscription, but the stylistic features leave no doubt that this belongs to the same small group, and was meant for use, or presentation, by the King of Bundi, Rao Ram Singh (1811 AD - 1889 AD). The King commissioned the group in around 1850 A.D. (see Nordlunde, 2009).
The dagger would serve as an adornment in the cumber-band, or peti, of its owner in the Royal court, but could be quickly drawn and capable of piercing armour at close range.
A work of art in steel, the craftsman has carefully and skillfully created a complex but highly efficient and unique arrangement of fullers in the watered steel blade. The ricasso is bordered with a garland of flowers and an elephants head, a common feature found on all katars in this group.
The side bars are rounded with a spiral twist effect, heavily gilt, with the cross bars separated by a bridge of flowers. An almost identical example can be found in the Leeds Armouries which it purchased at the Great Exhibition of 1851 (Royal Armouries, no.XXVID.84).