An interesting South Indian style katar with an imported European blade.
Base 5.5 mm
Middle 4.5 mm
At swollen tip 5.5 mm
Base 52 mm
Middle 27 mm
At swollen tip 19 mm
Rajasthan, possibly Bundi
Iron, steel, gold, wood, silk velvet, silver
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In many old warrior cultures, boys started training at a very young age. Sometimes as young as five years old. To this end, most of these cultures produced their traditional weapons in a small size as well. Small swords, small bows and arrows, even small muskets are encountered. Today, these items are rather rare.
Presented in this article is a fine small katar for a child or young boy, attributable to the Rajput warrior caste. The overall form is typical Rajasthani and reminiscent of katar made in Bundi, especially the base of the blade and shape of the handle bars.
The blade has slightly concave edges and a swollen, reinforced tip. There is a pronounced center ridge, with a golden damascened flower chiseled at the base.
The steel is forge folded, pattern-welded showing dots with rings, a type of pattern called "bird's eye". The blade is in as found condition and the pattern not showing very prominently anymore. A polish by Philip Tom could bring out the pattern once again.
The hilt is of classic form with two swelling handle bars in between paralel side-bars. It is decorated with geometric and floral designs in gold, in a typical Rajasthani fashion. There are crosswide connections betwen the handle-bars, often seen on katar from Bundi.1
Comes complete with its original wooden scabard, covered with green velvet and adorned with silver thread.
1. Thomas Holbein Hendley; Ulwar and its art treasures, London: W. Griggs, 1888.
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With markings suggesting it was a wedding gift, presented in 1832.
With elaborately pierced and chiseled hilt.
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