Language: Harauti
Source: Period account


Khema was an armorer working at Bundi in the 19th century.1

He made katar for among others the Maharao Raj Ram Singh of Bundi himself, two of which are illustrated and described by Thomas Holbein Hendley in his 1883 Memoirs of the Jeypore Exhibition:2


Bundi katars


The description on the first katar:

"Steel dagger, Katár. 18½ in. long. On each side of the blade a hunting scene in relief is represented. The designs are spirited, and the metal is highly polished. There are two handle bars united by pierced work. The guards and bars are embossed with flowers in gold. Made by Khema, armourer at Búndi, in 1872".

The second katar:

"Steel dagger, Katár. Blade long, with three high ridges and numerous lateral ones. Gilt guards and double bars united by open work, the whole decorated with a floral pattern. On one side is an inscription in gold to the effect that the dagger was the property of Mahárájá Rám Singh, of Búndi. Made by Khema, armourer."

The last katar:

"An old dagger, Katár, said to have been made about 1590, in the reign of Mahárájá Bhoj, of Búndi. Blade flat and curved, watered with a strong central and two lateral ribs; plain double handle bars."1



While studying Bundi and Bundi style katar in various collections I came across a katar presented by Maharao Raja Ram Singh himself to Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, during his tour of India in 1875-76. 

It bears inscriptions saying it was made by a certain "Khēmau", which is almost surely the same person as the Khema mentioned by Hendley.

That katar is held in the Royal Collection Trust, accession number RCIN 11408:

Royal Collection Bundi katar


The blade is marked:

कटारी बूंदी की
kataaree boondee kee

मकैनिक खेमौ
makainik Khēmau



"Katar from Bundi

Maker Khēmau 


The year 1892 samvat translates to around 1835 in the Gregorian calendar.


Further reading

See the full glossary article: Khēmau.


1. Thomas Holbein Hendley; Memorials of the Jeypore Exhibition, Vol. 1: Industrial art. W. Griggs & Son Ltd. London. Plate XXI.
2. Ibid.

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Belonging to a group of royal katar made by Khemau under Maharao Ram Singh.


Extremely large example with nearly full-length Western blade.


With wide flaring side bars that offer added protection.


With a fine wootz blade with a pronounced center ridge.


A Chinese shortsword made by a well-known Longquan maker.


Of a style often associated with Tanjore, the seat of the Vijayanagara empire.