With iron, silver overlaid hilt. Its associated scabbard features fine quillwork.
Base 7.5 mm
Shoulder 7.25 mm
5 cm from tip 4 mm
Narrowest 29 mm
Widest 51 mm
11 cm from hilt
(just ahead of "shoulder")
Iron/steel, wood, bone, goatskin, plant fiber thread.
Late 19th or early 20th century
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Khukuri with two wide fullers in the top portion of the blade are usually called dui chirra or dia chirra by collectors, makers, and other enthusiasts.
A survey through old sources revealed that the correct transcription from the Nepali is most likely du'i cirā (दुइ चिरा). The word means something like "to cut up" and refers to the divisions made in the blade by the ridges formed in-between the grooves.1
A nice example of a du'i cirā khukuri. Like most antique khukuri, the blade has a pleasant overall form with a certain sophistication in its profile and proportioning you don't normally encounter among reproductions, and not even on late antiques. The blade is forge folded, with some laminations visible along the spine.
The blade has the usual two grooves running near the spine and on each face the two wide fullers that give it its name du'i cirā. The fullers are nicely done, with very crisp and well-defined ridges. The straightness of the center ridge is a bit better on the right side than on the left side. It has a deep and nicely defined kauro, the notch at the base of the blade, and an iron bolster. The construction is a full tang construction, with the tang being peened over an iron plate at the pommel.
The hilt is made of dark, striped wood, probably the Magnolia hodgsonii, or Chinese magnolia mentioned by Sir Ralph Lilley Turner. 2 There is the common split at the base of the handle, where the natural wood shrunk over time. Despite it, the handle remains tight. The grip is decorated on either side with bone inlays of lozenges and dots.
The wooden scabbard is covered with goatskin. In overall good condition, save for some long cracks in the leather, on near the scabbard mouth and one near its tip, plus the usual age-related scuffing. See photos. At the back it carries a pouch containing a tinder purse called khisā, and the chakmak, a sharpening steel/flint striker. There is another pocket that once probably held the karda, a small utility knife, now lost.
Full tang khukuri probably emerge somewhere in the mid 19th century. It wasn't until around the early 20th century that they became the standard construction for some military pattern khukuri in use by Gurkha regiments of the British and Indian armies. This example seems to be a late 19th-century prototype for those models.
A nice, honest example of the sought-after du'i cirā style of khukuri. It seems to be an early occurrence of the full tang construction that later became a standard design feature on some military khukuri of the 20th century.
1. Sir Ralph Lilley Turner; A comparative and etymological dictionary of the Nepali language. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1931.
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Thought to have been presented by the Royal House of Nepal.
The scabbard carved as to closely mimic a tooled leather scabbard.
Its scabbard with 12 pockets, with 10 of the items remaining.
With wide blade and a two-tone hilt in cattle bone and wood, capped with brass.
Signed: Ricky Milnes, India 44, Burma 44, Ramree 45.