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Heavy katar

Place of Origin: Punjab or Rajasthan (India)

Date: 19th Century

Overall: 495 mm (19 ¾ inches)

Blade: 228mm (9 inches)

Reference: 535

Status: Available

Full Description:

A heavy katar from nineteenth century Punjab or Rajasthan. The double-edged steel blade has a 27mm thick diamond section to it, which is slightly thicker than that of an analogous katar we sold in 20181. Its sturdy blade is capable of slitting chainmail links as well as piercing heavier armours. The forte on either side is characterised by an arrow-shaped recessed panel inlaid in gold with an epigraphic inscription in free-flowing nasta’liq script which is proving difficult to read.

Gold koftgari decoration is rendered on the slender hilt as repetitive patterns of vegetal meanderings running all along the frame. The grip is formed from three overlapping horizontal bands, which protrude through the sidebars. Similar specimens have been published by Jens Nordlunde2 and dated back to the eighteenth century. Earlier models are also shown in the collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art3 as well as in Robert Elgood’s insightful book about the Rathores4. Examples from both the MET and Elgood have been attributed to the seventeenth century (the former coming from South India, the latter from Ahmadnagar in the Deccan), pre-dating any known North Indian specimen. It is highly likely that these earlier katars provided inspiration for the design of eighteenth century North Indian models, like this one.

The scabbard of this katar is a noteworthy survivor, as Indian sheaths and scabbards often deteriorate over time due to their lightweight construction. In this case, the openwork silver fittings are likely to have contributed to the remarkable preservation of its wooden structure. The fittings are pierced and chased on either side with pairs of regardant peacocks on the throat piece and parrots on the chape, amidst vegetal trellis. Originally lined in green velvet, the central area of the pile has now worn away, but a squared silver chain link remains fitted to the throat piece.


Zebregs & Röell, Netherlands


2J. Nordlunde, A Passion for Indian Arms, 2016.


4 R. Elgood, Rajput Arms & Armour: The Rathores and their Armoury at Jodhpur Fort, Niyogi Books, 2017, p.678 (SSP/213E).


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