A double sided southern katar | Peter Dekker's Mandarin Mansion: Antique Arms & Armor

A double sided southern katar

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com



Overall length: 52 cm / 20.5 inch
Blade length: 33 cm / 13 inch
Thickness: forte 5 mm, middle 4.5 mm, near tip 3.5 mm
Blade width: forte 34 mm, middle 27.5 mm, near tip 19 mm
Weight without scabbard: 700 grams


Origin: Deccan or South India
Materials: Iron, steel, silver, gold.
Dating: 17th century


Description

This fascinating piece has a handle that shows a completely different decor, depending on the side from which it is viewed. It is part of a small, extremely rare group of such katars I am aware of. I only know of two in private collections, none of the notable museums I am aware of have an example.

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com
The decor on one side is a rather restrained geometric decor with a pierced background and "tree of life" elements running over each side-bar and the langet that holds the blade on one side.

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com
The other side shows a more flamboyant floral pattern, a series of leaves and flowers that all project from a single, long stem. The style feels very Deccan. The absence of Hindu iconography may attribute it to the Deccan Sultanates.

The handle is silver damascened in its entirety, and subsequently fire-gilt. The surface covering is still largely intact, with only very minor losses. The thick use of silver and gold makes the designs a little less crisp than they were originally cut from the steel, yet this didn't stop them. The thick layers of precious metals were probably considered extra luxurious at the time.

Two katar of somewhat similar overall shape were presented to the Prince of Wales, who was later to become King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, during his visit to India in 1875. Now held at Sandringham.1 They are said to have come from Vizianagram, Madras and date from the 18th century. This example has ball-shaped handlebars that are reminiscent of earlier pieces, like those found on 16th century Vijayanagara katar. The overall shape of the handle, combined with this feature make me think it's probably a 17th century piece.

Ball-shaped handles on two early Indian katar daggers. mandarinmansion.com
The handle compared to a 16th century Vijayanagara katar

The long blade is double edged, tapering to an acute point. It has a flattened diamond cross-section with center ridge line. In its current condition it shows faint traces of a forge folded construction.


Conclusion

An incredibly rare Indian katar with two very different types of decoration. It is lavishly clad in silver sheet which was subsequently fire-gilt.

Price on request



Notes
1. C. Purdon Clarke; Arms and armour at Sandringham: the Indian collection presented by the princes, chiefs and nobles of India to His Majesty King Edward VII when Prince of Wales, on the occasion of his visit to India in 1875-1876, W Griggs & Sons, London, 1910. Pages 20-21, catalog numbers 259 - 260.



Interested? Questions?
Contact peter@mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com

A very rare 17th century katar with two types of decoration. mandarinmansion.com




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