Place of Origin: Deccan Plateau (India)
Date: 17th Century
Overall length:: 580mm
Blade length: : 310mm
A large and early example of a Deccani katar punch dagger from the 17th Century.
The blade is forged from wootz damascus, and shows a complex pattern commonly referred to as 'watering' due to its appearance of swirling waves. The heavy blade is armour piercing, with a swollen diamond section tip and a strong central spine.
Though more restrained, the blade has the narrow multi-ribs that Tanjore katars are best known for. A closely related blade can be found on a katar in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (No. 36.25.904) illustrated in Elgood 2004, p.147.
As part of the blade strap extending from the grip, the example in the Metropolitan Museum shows a stylised representation of the distinctive icon that is present on the base of the blade of the katar shown here, which can also be found in architecture from the area.
The hilt compromises two unusually long side bars, an indication that this is a transition piece, or at least takes influence from an Indian Pata (gauntlet sword). The cross grip comprises a pair of swollen bars, and the hilt is covered with applied silver gilt sheet.
This important katar is unusually large and has great presence. It is also an academic object, and illustrates the sort of rewarding challenges which the study of Indian weapons still presents.