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The 19th Century Mughal Kard "Taj Mahal" with a metal blade and an intricately designed silver handle and sheath, featuring floral patterns, laid on a plain white background.

According to The Met Museum, the 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. Two pieces were fitted into and riveted to either side of the tang to form the handle.

As a traditional Kard is expected to feature; our example features a slim and slender hilt constructed of plaques with no damage. The hilt is in the shape of an ‘ear’ which became a popular choice in Mughal India and is featured on most Pesh Kabz’ and Kards. The four steel bolsters secure the ivory to the gold damascened decorated tang. The gold damascened work elegantly wraps around the entire tang – the detailed flower design 100% preserved. It naturally connects to the spine and blade forte with a consistent design. Throughout the entire Kard, the gold is all preserved, thick to touch and bright. The hilt is complete with its lanyard ring, a rare feature to find on a dagger and is seen as a sign of good preservation and quality.

Other than aesthetic appeal, Damascus steel has a reputation of being touch, resistant to shattering/cracking, capable of being honed to a sharp and for having a resilient edge (see Figiel, 1991). Our Kard features a quality Damascus steel, most likely imported from Persia, and has vivid and crystallised pattern in the form of flowing water from the tip to the forte; the pattern is consistent without interruption.

The accompanying, original, scabbard is a key attraction for this Kard. It is complete with steel chape, which has a fine ballpoint. The metal throat band also has a locket, a sign of good care and preservation. The metal chapes are finely proposed in an openwork design in a floral form, on purple velvet backing, which provides a very quality feel in hand. There are three comparable examples to our scabbard at The Met Museum, Accession number 36.25.1049a, b, 36.25.700a, b and 36.25.1067a, b. The elegantly designed open work chapes are of very fine detail; each tendril and flower clearly visible makes this Kard distinctive. This is a sign of fine craftsmanship.

Overall, this is a Kard of a rare nature. The Damascus steel is of high quality and the Kard is complete with its original scabbard – which is in itself a work of art. A great addition to collectors with high-end taste.

 

Further reading/references:

Leo S. Figiel. (1991) On Damascus Steel. Atlantis Arts Press

George Cameron Stone (1999). A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor: in All Countries and in All Times

Reddy, Ravinder. Arms & Armour of India, Nepal & Sri Lanka: Types, Decoration and Symbolism. London: Hali Publications Limited, 2018. p. 311, ill.

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/24308#:~:text=A kard is defined as,same width as the blade.

Nicholas Wells Antiques advisors are available to answer all your questions. 

Please email us or call +44 (0)207 6920 897

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The 19th Century Mughal Kard "Taj Mahal" with a metal blade and an intricately designed silver handle and sheath, featuring floral patterns, laid on a plain white background.

19th Century Mughal Kard

Stock Number: 3775

An exquisite example of a complete late 18th / 19th Century Indian Kard.
Origin: India

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  • Height: 40 cm (15.75 inches)

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