Place of Origin: RAJASTHAN, INDIA
Date: 19th Century
This katar is a classic example of these weapons as made during the 19th century in Rajasthan (north-western India). The two handgrips are decorated in gold with scrolling foliage and central poppy flowers, swelling slightly at the middle and gradually flaring out again where they attach to the side-bars. Small circles of gold in koftgari adorn the edges of each side-bar, gilt vine tendrils oscillating along the shallowly v-shaped knuckle-bar where the blade is inserted.
The tapering double-edged blade is made of Indian crystalline wootz Damascus and has been carved on each face to produce a deep medial ridge between planed fullers which run almost parallel to the edges of the blade. These fullers taper to meet the end of the medial ridge, forming a point which is accented by further fullers cut inwards over the central third of the blade. As one expects of these daggers, the blade finishes with a swollen, armour-piercing tip – its use perhaps made easier by the numerous fullers, which would have made the weapon lighter.
This katar comes with its original wooden scabbard, still retaining a red silk velvet covering and knotted orange-yellow cord for suspension. The chape of the scabbard is decorated en suite with the hilt, exhibiting a ten-petalled flowerhead at its centre in gold koftgari.
The arrangement of fullers visible on this blade is found on several other katar blades, such as an example in Robert Elgood, Rajput Arms & Armour: the Rathores & their Armoury at Jodhpur Fort Volume 2, Mehrangarh Museum Trust, 2017, p. 720.