Original Indian Early 19th Century Triple Blade Scissor Katar Dagger with Faded Silver Inlay

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is really quite something. Dating to the late 18th / early 19th century, this is a traditional Indian Thrusting dagger known as a KATAR. While somewhat odd looking, they definitely are quite effective, and often used to penetrate armor. This example however is definitely unlike any we have had before, in that it has a triple "scissor" style blade. The outer blade is made of two pieces with slots in the inside for a third blade. These were intended to be grasped by the two horizontal cross bars the long uprights naturally extended up your arm. In this case, the upper bar pulls down, which spreads apart the two halves of the main blade.

The Katar would then be bound in place and securely held, so your arm became a thrusting and slashing weapon. The long upright protected you arm from any sword blade attack, and there was no way for the warrior to drop the weapon once in place. With the scissor blade, it would be even more impressive, though we suspect the durability definitely went down. We have unfortunately not been able to find much historical information regarding this type of Katar.

This example is very nice condition, with a lovely patina on the steel. There are traces of the original silver inlay on the main blades, as well as on the handle. We considered polishing it up, but we felt it definitely looks better as is.

Fine old patina, ready to research and display!

Overall length: 13 1/2”
Blade length: 6 1/4”
Handguard Dimensions: 3 1/2" width x 7 3/4" length

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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