Place of Origin: DECCAN, INDIA
Date: 17th Century
An elegant and graceful example of a Deccani double-edged dagger (or ‘chillanum’) comprising an iron hilt decorated in detail with gold and a watered wootz steel blade.
A lotus finial with carefully cut petals (a motif repeated in the grip's central moulding) sits atop the waisted hilt, leading into sweeping pommel arms and a curved knuckle guard which terminates in a drooping lotus bud shrouded by a leaf. The oval hand guard exhibits two bands of delicately pierced circles and lotus bud finials at each end. A sloped triangular section between the grip and the hand guard has been pierced to present a trefoil arrangement perhaps intended to further reflect the decoration of the hilt which is engraved throughout with flowers – the petals inlaid through true damascening with traces of silver and the centres with gold.
A motif of central flowers between foliage – cut into the steel on a sunken punched ground – forms the forte on each face of the blade which has been cut with four fullers. Two are lobed at their ends and begin from ‘within’ the forte, tapering to converge with the central rib of the blade and nearly meeting the two which run along the central third of the blade’s length. These fullers and the medial ridge then disappear into the dagger’s reinforced tip.
A similar example to this was published by Runjeet Singh in Arms & Armour From the East 2016, p.19, cat.no.5.
Formerly in the collection of the late Richard R. Wagner Jr. (a noted collector of Asian arms)
Oliver S. Pinochet, Arms of the Paladins: The Richard R. Wagner Jr. Collection of Fine Eastern Weapons, Mowbray Publishing, 2014, p.46, cat.no.3-86.