Fine Gold Katar
Origin: India (Rajasthan)
Date: Late 18th century/early 19th century
Materials: Steel, Wootz and Gold
A very good example of a fighting Katar with gold koftgari work.
The Katar is a push dagger, famous in the Indian region. Katars have thrusting blades with a H-shaped grip. The handgrip is utilised to hold the katar while the H-shape handlebars are used to protect the wrist. Daggers of this type, called Katars, were designed to be held by the cross bars in a clenched fist (Met Museum, Accession number 36.25.973a, b). These Katars are in fact one of the most popular types of daggers in India and gained Royal acceptation in the 18th/19th century. Katars were also used for ceremonial purposes, worship and of course, battle; with our example falling into the later category. As Katars are made for the blade to be in line with the arm, it was primarily used as a thrusting weapon. Katars with double-edged blades could also be used to slashing. Unique to the Indian subcontinent, ceremonial katars were also used in worship. Upper-class Rajputs and Mughals would even hunt tiger with katars. For a hunter to kill a tiger with such a short-range weapon was considered the surest sign of bravery and martial skill.
A fine Rajput inspired katar from the late 18th century/early 19th century. The blade is large and strong, of large proportions, with sunken panels, leading to a large, thick, armour piercing point. The portion of steel inside the panels showing a possible tight wootz grain pattern (need etch to bring out pattern further). At the base of the blade is a stylized flower, chiseled into the blade and anointed with gold koftgari. The hilt with slightly swollen handlebars, typical of Katars from Bundi. The entire handle bars are decorated with a thick application of gold in the form of scrolls and leafy motifs. Embedded within the handlebars is the mythological Yali and hunting dog, adding to the aesthetic of the Katar. The craftsmanship is very fine, much better than usually found on Katars. The proportions of the Katar are large, from the handlebars to the blade; proving it is a fighting example. Aesthetically the Katar is extremely appealing - and has a very strong presence. The blade is marked with a gold inscription on the inside of the hilt. It is for the most part no longer in tact. Most likely would have been the owners name, date or invocation to a deity.
Overall this is a superb Katar of large proportions and fine build. The gold koftgari still 95% intact. A very impressive piece with a strong character; of fine craftsmanship.