Silver chevron katar
This item has been sold.
Overall length

34 cm

Blade length

19.2 cm

Blade thickness

Base 3 mm

Tip 6 mm

Blade width

Base 52 mm

Tip 8 mm

Weight

Coming soon

Point of balance

At blade-hilt junction

Materials

Wootz steel, iron, silver

Origin

North India

Dating

18th century

Provenance

UK antique art market

Sold

Interested?
Anything similar for sale?

Contact me

Description

A very nice Indian katar. It has a triangular wootz blade with sunken panels where the pattern is brought out with etching while the edges are burnished bright, a typical northern aesthetic.

At the base of the blade on both sides is a raised panel with floral ornamentation executed in true inlay called tah-i-nishan (तह-ी-निशान).

The blade sits on a domed base, the side bars being attached to each shoulder. The grip bars are peaked in the center. The entire hilt is decorated with chevron motifs, again in true inlay, and almost 100% intact.

 

Dating/attribution

At first glance, the katar looks Southern Indian with its domed hilt base. However, look closely. The panel at the base of the blade is merely simulating the langets that southern katar have to hold the blade; There are no actual rivets, and it really just is a raised panel on the blade itself, which is forged directly to the hilt. The shoulders of the dome are steep, like on southern work, but there is no reinforcement on the inside that southern katar tend to have.

When it comes to the overall form, Hendley illustrates a katar made in Kota, in the southern part of Rajasthan that also combines a northern one-piece construction with peaked grip bars and a domed hilt base.1

Katar from kota

"False damascening in gold from Kotah; cost Rs 50."

 

Another katar illustrated by Hendley with a domed hilt base was made as far north as Delhi. This piece has shoulder reinforcements and different handle bar geometry.2

Southern influence in the Mughal capital of Delhi is to be expected, many art treasures including arms were brought up to the north following southern campaigns like the conquest of Bijapur Sultanate in 1686, and ended up in the various armories in Delhi, Bikaner, Jaipur, and others. Local craftsmen found inspiration in them and we occasionally see incorporation of southern elements seeping into northern arms production.

Katar from Delhi

"Blade Ispahan steel with one central rib and serrated edges.
Bars and sidebars are damascened with a bold floral pattern.
Sheath, wood covered with scarlet velvet, with a purple piece at the top.
Made at Delhi in 1807. Total cost, Rs 200;
steel Rs. 40; gold Rs. 100; labour, Rs 60.
Length 15½ inches."

 

When we move our attention to the chevron pattern, it strongly reminds of some work seen on Bidri wares from the city of Bidar in Karnataka. 

Bidri carpet weights

Bidri carpet weights.
Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore.
Accession number 2011-03160.

 

We also see chevron patterns in gold on a katar in the Jaipur armory.3

Jaipur armory katar

 

A talwar with a hilt overlaid in golden chevron patterns is in the collection of Jens Nordlunde. The hilt form is Punjabi and it has Farsi inscriptions.4 In this area we also sometimes see mail shirts and trousers made of iron and brass rings in a chevron pattern.5 

Finally, there is a mace with golden and silver chevron patterns on its haft, in the Jaipur armory.

When judging the origin of workmanship, it is important to realize that while craftsmen can fairly easily adopt styles from elsewhere, they often stick to their known construction methods. In this case, we have a southern-looking katar that sticks to northern conventions of a single-piece construction.

Looking at the above I tentatively conclude that this katar is most likely made in north India in the 18th century, taking heavy inspiration from southern weapons.

 

Notes
1. Thomas Holbein Hendley; Damascening on steel or iron as practiced in India. W. Griggs & Sons, Ltd. London 1892. Plate 25.
2. Thomas Holbein Hendley; Ulwar and its Art treasures. W. Griggs & Sons, Ltd. London 1888. Plate XL.
3. Thomas Holbein Hendley; Damascening on steel or iron as practiced in India. W. Griggs & Sons, Ltd. London 1892. Plate 24.
4. Jens Nordlunde; A passion for Indian arms, a private collection. Self published. 2016. Page 257.
5. Lord Egerton of Tatton: A Description of Indian and Oriental Armour, with an Introductory Sketch of the Military History of India. London, W.H.Allen & Co. 1896. Plate 5. There is also such a shirt in the Victoria & Albert museum, accession number 1300-1874. It was bought in Tehran in 1874 by Robert Murdoch Smith.
6. Robert Elgood; Arms & Armour at the Jaipur court. Niyogi books, Delhi, 2015. Pages 164-165.

Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar
Chevron katar

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me
Currently available:

Belonging to a group of royal katar made by Khemau under Maharao Ram Singh.

€5500,-

Extremely large example with nearly full-length Western blade.

€2750,-

A very good Vijayanagara katar of the 16th century with much of its gold and silver overlay remaining. …

€7500,-

With wide flaring side bars that offer added protection.

€1750,-

With a fine wootz blade with a pronounced center ridge.

€3800,-

Of a style often associated with Tanjore, the seat of the Vijayanagara empire.

€1650,-