A fine Kard with gold damascened work in the form of a hunting scene.
A Kard, literally meaning ‘knife’, was a very popular secondary weapon in Persia, Turkey and India. 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 stay 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 natural 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 sough after is the condition. The gold is bright, outstandingly preserved – approximately 95% intact. Along the tang is a hunting scene where lions are chasing deer’s with tendril 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 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 220.127.116.114. 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 collectors item.