Indian pierced khanda
Overall length

90 cm / 35.4 inch

Blade length

76.5 cm / 30.1 inch

Thickness

forte 4 mm

middle 4 mm

near tip 1.5 mm

Blade width

forte 35.5 mm

middle 37 mm

near tip 43 mm

Weight without scabbard

858 grams

Point of balance

13 cm from guard

Origin

India

Materials

Wootz steel, iron, gold, cotton.
Scabbard: wood and velvet.

Dating

Early 18th century

Provenance

Richard R. Wagner Jr. collection

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Introduction

The khanda represents one of the oldest forms of Indian swords, it's present form is first seen on temple reliefs in Orissa dating back as early as the 2nd century A.D. Its name derives off the Sanskrit khaḍga meaning "breaker, divider, cutter, destroyer". Always strongly associated with Orissa, the sword did become popular all over India, from the Rajputs and Sikhs in the north to the Marathas of the Deccan and the Nairs in the south. In some of these cultures it was an element of worship, symbolizing wisdom cutting through ignorance. As such it also features widely in religious art, not only in India but through the Himalayas, China, even into Japan.

On a practical level the khanda is a straight cutting sword, (partially) double edged, with a widening blade and an obtuse tip. Most fighting examples have considerable weight in their tip for powerful cuts. The blades often have reinforcements in the form of a long langet at the base of the blade or reinforcing strips on either side of the blade. In the 1600's the characteristic Hindu basket hilt was developed for increased hand protection.

Notes to introduction
See Rawson, P.S.: The Indian Sword, Herbert Jenkings, London, 1968. Pages 6-8. and Stone: A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and armor, 1934. Reprint by Dover, 1999, p. 352.

This example

Presented here is a beautiful khanda with an exceptionally fine hilt. The partially double-edged blade starts narrow at the base and gradually widens near the tip where it forms a triangular point with concave edges, a style associated with Northern India. The blade is reinforced by metal strips on either side, riveted to the blade. The strip at the front of the blade is short whereas the strip on the back runs most of the length of the blade. The strips are pierced and serrated, and with remains of golden damascened decoration. There is a crack in the long strip at the back. The blade is forged from unusually fine-grained wootz steel.

Comparison of very fine wootz (left) and regular wootz (right)
Left the fine-grained wootz on this khanda, right the more conventional wootz on a north Indian knife

Hilt

The hilt of the typical Hindu basket hilt type consisting of two connected ovals making up the guard, and a wide knucklebow that connects to a disc pommel. At the end of the disc-pommel is a short, curved spike with a flower bud shaped finial. On top of the guard is a triangular structure with langets pointing towards the blade's tip and protrusions to the sides with stylized flower bud finials, crafted from the metal in great detail. All borders of the hilt consist of beaded work typical of southern work, further accentuated with pierced work. All outside faces of the hilt are damascened with flower motifs in gold, the work is incredibly fine. The gold is applied with great precision, leaving no crosshatching outside the motifs as is common on later Indian work of this kind.

The sword is in excellent condition throughout, with most of the gold remaining. It comes in a snugly fitting storage scabbard covered with antique velvet, made by Philip Tom.

Conclusion

A beautiful khanda with a very fine hilt with beaded rims, pierced, chiseled and golden damascened, all executed with great care. It comes with a long blade of very fine wootz. All in very good condition.Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Indian Khanda sword with exceptionally fine hilt with pierced work, beaded rims and golden decoration

Additional item content

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With wootz handle with fine pierced pommel dome.

€3500,-

With markings attributing it to Jalore.

€2300,-

Chiseled with a rare type of decor on the base, and with two Islamic inscriptions.

€6500,-

With great sculptural qualities.

€1500,-

A heavy Indian katar with substantial armor piercing blade.

€1500,-

With a hilt that is of typical southern form, with a cupped base and langets.

€2200,-
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