A very good example of an Indian, Mughal, fighting Katar with silver inlaid work and armour piercing tip.
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.
Our example is in an exceptional state of preservation. The fullers are fine and neat, and the steel and silver work is in immaculate condition. This Mughal Katar features a crisp watered steel blade, which has been crystallised to provide a mirror finish – making it reflective. The blade is double-edged to allow for slashing; the blade also has a swollen armour-piercing tip to enable thrusting. As stated, the blade is finely worked, and is chiselled with a palmette at the centre, which blends into the medial ridge. One either side of the medial ridge, are fullers that run parallel to the edge of the blade. All these meet towards the armour-piercing tip to provide a thick reinforcement.
The steel sidebars are covered with decorative silver work in select places. The silver work is in the form of tendrils, vines and flower heads; which makes the handlebars pronounced and prominent. The overall build of the katar and design shows that this particular example was utilised for combat purposes rather than courtly attire. Making this a fantastic collectible given its almost pristine condition.
Overall, an exceptional example of an Indian (Mughal) Katar with fine craftsmanship and silver work.