Place of Origin: Coorg, South-West India
Date: Mid-19th Century
Overall Length: 300mm (11 ¾ inches)
Blade Length: 184mm (7 ¼ inches)
Normally referred to as pinchangatti, such elegant silver-mounted daggers as this were typically used by the Coorg people of Karnataka in south-west India. And since they often serve as a strong symbol of familial honour within Coorg culture, it is rare that these objects enter the Western art market.
Four small studs dot the silver surface of the hilt: three are placed at equidistant points over the grip; whilst the fourth is set at the centre of the pommel and formed with a beaded frame so as to depict a stylised flowerhead. Further flowers of different forms as well as fine geometric patterning appear over the backstrap and bolster of the hilt.
The blade is broad, single-edged, and clipped towards the point, whilst the scabbard comprises a wooden core covered with silver-sheet mounts including a locket and chape in exceptional condition, the latter formed with a neatly incised bud-shaped finial. An elegant steel suspension chain of two sections is attached to the reverse face of the scabbard and terminates in a beaded plaque with a range of miniature hygienic tools (among them tweezers, knives, and an earspoon).
A similar dagger was published by Runjeet Singh Ltd in Iconic: New York 2018 (Cat. No. 6), whilst another (Accession Number 2800(IS)), preserved in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, exhibits a hilt near-identical to that of the present piece.