North Indian Wootz Kard


A 19th-century north Indian kard, the high carbon watered blade showing exceptional detail and the ladder effect referred to as “Muhammad’s Ladder”

Origin: North India or Persia

Date: 19th century

Materials: Bone and Wootz Watered Steel

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A fine and humble example of a Kard (dagger).

Kard daggers are a prominent weapon of choice in the east – ranging from Turkey, Iran and India. This particular example is from India or Iran. Identifying the Kard is straightforward – they are known for having a straight single-edged blade, a slim build and in most cases, a hilt. The better examples on the market have a Wootz blade. The Met Museum describe the Kard as follows:

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.

The two slim and slender slabs of bone produce a gentle and humbling look for this dagger. The hilt has a nice feel and grip; patina and colour. Four strong steel bolsters hold the hilt in a secure position. The tang of the hilt is etched with flowers and vines. This was previously anointed with gold, however, due to the age of the dagger, only very small portions of this gold remains. Still, the aged look gives a sense of history to this dagger – you can see with the condition, the touch, and the feel, that this dagger is a part of a bygone period.

The long and tapering single-edged blade of distinctive Muhammad’s Ladder Wootz formed with a slender rib along the back-edge make this Kard distinctive. The Wootz blade is dark, with a fine and active pattern of good contrast. The swirls are almost crystallised to form nice structures and the ‘ladder’ effect. The ‘ladder’ symbolises ones journey to heaven in the Islamic tradition. Figiel (1991, p70) claimed that using a sword [or dagger] that contained such a variation of Wootz in holy war, would grant the user access to paradise. This form of Wootz was very sought after, and till this day is only found on specific arms and armour.

A great addition for those collectors treasuring rare forms of Indo-Persian daggers.


References and further reading:

Met Museum:,same%20width%20as%20the%20blade.

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

Indian and Oriental Arms and Armour by Earl Wilbraham Egerton

Arms and Armour: Traditional Weapons of India by Jaiwant Paul

An Introduction to Indian Arms and Armour by Hugh Pearce Pearson.

Financing is available on request via Art Money.