Original Indian 17th Century Wootz Steel Katar Dagger with Heavily Embossed Handle and Scabbard

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is really quite something. Dating back to the late 1600s, this is a traditional Indian Thrusting dagger known as a KATAR. However, this example is unusually early and of very high quality. It has a double sided 9" blade made of WOOTZ Steel: an early form of Damascus steel. This is mounted on what appears to be a brass guard with an ivory or horn grip. The blade is contained in its original heavily decorated and embossed scabbard, which appears to be decorated with grape vines.

Originally the metal was all heavily gilt, however 300 years of age has seen the gold dissipate, as typical of this this style of gilding. This really is a thing of early design and great quality. The scabbard body is actually of leather, which is then overlaid with cloth panels, which is then inset into the heavily embossed brass surround. The central cloth panels of each side of the scabbard were actually originally of red or maroon velvet, however almost all of the fabric nap has been worn to the threads.

Together with the original Gold enhancements, this would have been a weapon of very great beauty and rarity. Dating from the 1600s and ready to display.

History of the Katar

The katar or katara, is a type of push dagger from South Asia. The weapon is characterised by its H-shaped horizontal hand grip which results in the blade sitting above the user's knuckles. Unique to South Asia, it is the most famous and characteristic of Indian daggers. Ceremonial katars were also used in worship.

The katar was created in south India, its earliest forms being closely associated with the 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire. It may have originated with the mustika, a method of holding a dagger between the middle and index finger still used in gatka today. A specific type of dagger might have been designed for this, as maustika is described vaguely as a "fist dagger" in the arsenal list of Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak. One of the most famous groups of early katar come from the Thanjavur Nayak kingdom (Formerly called Tanjore) of the 17th century. Katar dating back to this period often had a leaf- or shell-like knucklebow curving up from the top of the blade to protect the back of the hand. This form is today sometimes called a "hooded katara" but the knuckleguard was discarded altogether by the later half of the 17th century.

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