Mughal Pesh Kabz
Dating: 19th century
Materials: Buffalo horn, steel, Metal and Silver
A complete early 19th century Mughal style Pesh Kabz holding its design origins in the Mughal rule of India in the 19th century; a period which saw the production of various infamous weaponry.
The hilt of the Pesh Kabz is of traditional form with a very rare 19th century rhinoceros horn grip showing a good colour and age patination. This is comprised of two slabs, held together firmly with its original steel bolsters. The gently curving (possible) wootz steel blade (further etching required) has a thick spine, sharp edge and carved foliate scrolls at the forte and in centre, which carry through around the entire spine (‘T-spine’) of the Pesh Kabz. The foliate scrolls between the tang of the rhinoceros grip and has some traces of silver work. The creator of this particular pesh kabz had perfectly etched the foliate scroll design; it is truly detailed and visually stunning. This type of foliate scrolls (in the form of flowers and tendrils) are typical of 19th century pesh kabz’ and can be seen on other Arms during the period.
The sheath is constructed of metal with embossed floral design to match the design found on the blade and spine of the pesh kabz. The floral patterns are embossed onto the metal sheath with a locket-esqe design towards the top. There is also a unique green hue to the sheath, which reflects elegantly in different lighting. The color green finds its significance in the Islamic religion as a representation of Paradise. The Mughal Arms producers would have therefore carefully constructed this sheath to represent such ideology. The contrast of the sheath and rhino horn hilt is of elegance and peace as the green sheath provides an excellent contrast to the dark hilt. For a similar style sheath, see The Met Museum, Accession 36.25.708a, b.
CONCLUSIONOverall a very fine complete Pesh Kabz dagger with a scarce rhinoceros horn hilt. As the Pesh Kabz is complete with its original sheath, it makes this particular piece very sought after and a real collectible for those interested in Indo-Persian daggers.