Language: Harauti
Source: Period account

Description

Khēmau (खेमौ) was an armorer at Bundi. He made katar for among others the Maharao Raj Ram Singh of Bundi himself. Pieces attributed to him have dates ranging from 1835 to 1872, suggesting a career of at least 37 years.

 

Works of Khēmau

One of the historically most notable examples is 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 is now 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

१८९२
1892

Translated:

"Katar from Bundi

Maker Khēmau 

1892"

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

 

Other works

Two katar made a certain "Khema" are illustrated and described by Thomas Holbein Hendley in 1883. The works are about 37 years apart but of an identical style, all made in Bundi.

Khema and Khēmau are probably two different transliterations of the name of the same person.

The Khema works in question:

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

 

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

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