Date: 19th century
Materials: Bone, Wootz Steel, Gold and Velvet
A 19th century Kard with bone hilt and koftgari decoration.
A kard is defined as a straight, single-edged dagger that is worn on the left side of the belt. Unlike most daggers, in which the narrow tang attached to the blade fits into a handle, the blades of these daggers are made with a flat steel tang of the same width as the blade. This example is from India with a high quality Indian wootz blade and large bone grip.
The blade is of the usual Kard type with a visible and active rose wootz pattern, with a single-edged blade and strong armour piercing form with a t-section spine. The blade features the highly sought after rose Wootz steel with prominent swirls and crystallised patterns forming a nice structure. In between the crystallised structure there seems to imbedded circles, which represent the 'rose' (an etch will bring this pattern out more). The process of making wootz was carefully guarded by Arms and Armour manufacturers in the 18th and early 19th century, which meant that only a handful of people knew the art of creating such a deadly and sought after steel; known for its hardness and durability. The art of creating wootz steel was lost in the 19th century.
A single slab of bone forms the hilt for this kard, and after three centuries, it has developed a nice patina and colour. The hilt has a 'beaked pommel' which is covered in its original 18th century gold damascened panels, which has an aged aesthetic and follows naturally onto the forte of the hilt where the blade joins the hilt. The Gold koftgari is 100% in tact and in great condition, executed in floral patterns; complete and prominent, while providing an excellent contrast to the mechanical wootz patterning of the blade, which is elaborately figured and crisply defined. The gold work is bright and thick to touch.
The kard fits snuggly in a sheath, constructed of wood and covered with green velvet and gilt-metal trim. The green velvet is well preserved on the one side, with slight fading on the other. The sheath follows traditional conventions of fitting and slightly covers the hilt to provide a stealth look.