All-steel Bikaner armory katar | Peter Dekker's Mandarin Mansion: Antique Arms & Armor

All-steel Bikaner armory katar

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.



Overall length: 42 cm / 16.5 inch
Blade length: 23.5 cm / 9.3 inch
Blade thickness: forte 8 mm, middle 7.5 mm, near tip 7.5 mm
Blade width: forte 67 mm, middle 42 mm, at thickened tip 19 mm
Weight without scabbard: 608 grams


Origin: Bikanēr, India.
Materials: Steel, wootz steel.
Dating: 17th or 18th century



DESCRIPTION
This all-steel katar has a handle that is of typical southern form, with cupped base from which the langets project that hold the blade. The wide blade seems more of a northern style. It is of excellent quality high contrast wootz steel that was probably imported from Persia. Such steel was very expensive; Hendley quotes a price of 40 Rupees for a Persian steel katar, where some others he mentions, probably of local Indian steel, cost only 5 Rupees.1

The blade is hollow ground in two sections, separated by means of a well-defined central ridge. The edge consists of a secondary bevel and is polished bright. Despite the overall Southern feel of the handle's shape, its workmanship seems typical for Bikanēr; Made of substantial steel, of excellent geometry, but with no decoration whatsoever. The handlebars are facetted, with a swelling in the middle. Two turban shaped ornaments are held between the bars with an axle, enabling them to spin. It has lots of subtle details in its geometry, like slightly concave side bars. The appeal is solely in its form and quality manufacture.

This is probably what Hermann Goetz called "early Rajput aesthetics" in his description of such arms found in the Bikanēr armory.1

It comes with three armory marks in the typical format of the Bikanēr armory.

Markings on an all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.
One side-bar is marked "Bi 513"

Markings on an all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.
The other side-bar is marked "Bi 402"

Markings on an all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.
One of the langets is marked "368"

If you look carefully you can also see a word on the edge of the cupped base of the handle. It seems to be ना () which, oddly, means "no" or "not".



CONCLUSION
An impressive, well-made katar from the Bikanēr armory. It shows a blend of a typical southern form of hilt, executed in early Rajput manner where not the decoration but the geometry of the piece is left to do the talking. It is fitted with a fine blade of dark wootz, probably imported steel from Persia.



€ 2500,-



Notes
1. Thomas Holbein Hendley; Ulwar and its art treasures, London: W. Griggs, 1888. (I'd love to quote a page here but the book as no page numbers.) Also see many mentions of Persian steel on Indian weapons in: Lord Egerton of Tatton; Indian and Oriental Arms and Armour, Dover Publications; Revised edition, 2002. Pages 52-53 for the line drawings, page 133 #678 for the description. About boy's guns he quotes Prince Soltykoff: "Voyage dans l'Inde", page 174.
2. Hermann Goetz; The Art and Architecture of Bikaner State, Published for The Government of Bikaner State and The Royal India and Pakistan Society by Bruno Cassirer, Oxford, 1950. Pages 46-47.



Interested? Questions?
Contact peter@mandarinmansion.com

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.

An all-steel katar from the Bikanēr armory. mandarinmansion.com.



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