Fine hanshee khukuri
Overall length

Sheathed 47.4 cm

Khukurī 45.2 cm

Blade length

32.5 cm

Blade thickness

Base 8.2 mm

Shoulder 6 mm

5 cm from tip 3.2 mm

Blade width

Narrowest 22.5 mm

Widest 39.5 mm

Weight

385 grams

Point of balance

10.5 cm from hilt

Materials

Iron, steel, wood, silver, goat skin, cotton thread, peacock quill strips.

Price €2750, -

Interested?
Anything similar for sale?

Contact me

Introduction

The hanshee khukurī or simply hanshee is an early type of khukurī characterized by a long hilt and a rather long and relatively narrow blade. The word hanshee, now in common use in the English-speaking collector world, derives from the Nepali word hamsiyā (हँसिया), meaning "sickle".

Other than most types of khukurī, which double as fighting and utility knives, the hanshee appears to be purely an offensive weapon. The type was mostly popular around the late 18th to early decades of the 19th century and, by now, is one of the rarest and most sought-after forms of khukurī

For more information on the type, see my glossary article: hanshee khukurī.

 

This example

A very good example that has been in my own collection until now.

Typical hanshee blade, thick but slender and deeply curved. The notch is very shallow, with a small protrusion, typical for very early khukurī. Its wooden hilt is long and slender, without the extreme widening at the pommel end that became a staple for later khukurī design. Hilts like this are seen on the earliest known khukurī, such as those depicted in the famous Fraser Album.

 

Eight Ghurkas Fraser Album

"Eight Ghurkas" from the Fraser Album, published 1819.
Anonymous private collection.

 

The scabbard is made of two halves of wood with fine-grained, bookbinder-quality goatskin covering. It has a small silver chape. The top of the scabbard is embroidered with some of the finest peacock quill embroidery I've seen on these. The designs are two pine tree like elements symbolizing the tree of life, surrounded by a meandering creeper border.

Nepalese quill embroidery

 

It has five pockets on the back. Two are occupied by a horn hilted, early style karda knife each. Two are currently vacant. The last pocket holds the traditional khisā, a small purse usually used to hold tinder consisting of the bark of the sago palm, bamboo, or plantain. The peacock embroidery continues on the upper edge of the pockets.

 

Comparable examples

The earliest provenanced khukurī with quill embroidery is in the Pitt Rivers Museum. The work is less fine than that seen in this example, but otherwise, the knife itself shows great similarities.

It was collected by Frederick John Shore on or before 1830. Shore was an East India Company civil servant and judge, but was openly critical towards the company and insisted on wearing Indian clothes. In 1824 he fought a local uprising, alongside Frederick Young and 350 of his Sirmoor Batallion of Gurkhas. Shore received a number of deep saber cuts during a sword fight, remained in poor health since, and died 13 years later in 1837.

John Shore

Frederick John Shore's hanshee khukurī. Entered the Pitt Rivers collection on or before 1830. It dates from circa 1800-1820s.
Pitt Rivers museum accession number 1886.1.33.1-4.

 

Condition

Decent condition for age. Blade with pitting but not over-sharpened and structurally healthy. Some damage to iron bolster. The stitching at the bottom of the large back pocket failed, so a previous owner secured it with fishing line. Strap and its frogs lost. Some damage to scabbard. See photos.

 

Conclusion

A beautiful old khukurī of one of the earliest styles we can expect to find on the market. There are some condition issues, but with pieces this rare and early, its hard to be picky.

Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery
Fine early hanshee khukuri with peacock quill embroidery

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

With a very fine Nepalese blade, but kard-like hilt and scabbard.

€3500,-

Unusual example with hilts carved in lionesque heads.

€850,-

The pierced silver mounts with parcel gilding and red velvet backing.

€775,-

20th century military khukurī with many different tools in its back pocket.

€650,-

Simple piece with a beautiful blade profile.

€650,-

Very large presentation kukri from the Sundarijal Arsenal in Nepal.

€600,-