A Kard, literally meaning ‘knife’, was a very popular secondary weapon in India, Persia and Turkey. The Kard is a simple dagger and is distinctive through the design of the blade; which is straight and single-edged. The tangs on the Kard are flat and usually the same width as the blade. The Kard was primarily used as a stabbing weapon, and to tear chainmail.

Our example stays true to the traditional design of the Kard, with a single-edged straight blade. The hilt is formed of two slim slabs of walrus ivory. The ivory is in fine condition for its age, with natural wear. The ivory of this Kard exhibits good colour and age patination, along with naturally forming cracks throughout; this being a natural sign of walrus ivory.

The gold damascened work is immaculate and extremely fine. The craftsmanship and detailing is second to none, and what makes this sought-after is the condition. The gold is bright, and outstandingly preserved – approximately 95% intact. Along the tang is a hunting scene where lions are chasing deer’s with tendrils and birds in between. The scene is very intense and it is clear that the artisan paid attention to the details. This scene extends to the forte of the blade, where the lion is successful and there is a depiction of the lion catching one deer; completing the imagery of the hunt. On both sides of the blade, the forte is elegantly decorated with tendrils and floral gold. The blade also has an Urdu inscription that reads:

Ali [or Umar?] Muhammad Raheem

This could translate to ‘highest is [prophet] Muhammad and [he is] the most merciful.

Along the spine of the blade, there seems to be a Lotus flower etched in, with a layer of gold damascened work. In Eastern cultures, the lotus flower signifies purity, enlightenment, and re-birth. It’s clear that the artisan aimed for the dagger to symbolise this. The gold damascened work provides a pronounced contrast to what is a fine Persian Wootz blade. There is a consistent pattern, of swirls, running along the entire length of the blade; creating almost a glowing effect. The fine waves of the Wootz are finely spaced. There is a similar example to our Kard at the Met Museum Accession number 36.25.1043a, b and Note the similar design, but the examples at the Met Museum does not feature the gold damascened hunting design like ours; which in this case makes our Kard one of higher quality and craftsmanship.

Overall, this is a fine Kard with a sought-after, and high quality, Persian Wootz blade. The gold damascened hunting scene makes this Kard superior and a real collector’s item.

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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Stock Number: 13601

A fine Kard with gold damascened work in the form of a hunting scene.

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