Bichuwa dagger
Overall length

31.4 cm / 12.4 inch

Blade length

21.7 cm / 8.5 inch

Blade thickness

middle 3 mm
thickening near tip 6 mm

Blade width

forte 28.5 mm
middle 22 mm
thickening near tip 18.5 mm

Weight

142 grams

Origin

India

Materials

Iron, steel, gold

Dating

18th century

Provenance

From a German private collection

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Introduction

The name literally means "scorpion sting", and most likely refers to the shape of the blade that resembles the sting of a scorpion. The bichwa consists of a loop handle that is designed to fit tightly around the palm of the hand, enabling the wielder to use the hand without having to drop the dagger, for example when engaging in grappling.
 

Description

A fine bichuwa dagger with a dramatically shaped recurved blade of wootz steel, visible on the etched center panel while its edge bevels are burnished bright as per northern Indian aesthetic. The quality blade is in excellent condition with crisp ridges, unharmed edges and an intact tip.

The blade is riveted to an iron looped handle with a shield for the knuckles, designed to fit perfectly over the knuckles of the right hand, with the tip pointing downwards. The shield is of fine workmanship with a well-articulated center ridge. The entire iron handle is covered with very fine gold wire applied cold on a crosshatched background in the form of geometric designs and flowers. Almost all the gold remains. On top of the handle is a mushroom-shaped finial with ribbed top.

While bichuwa are primarily associated with southern India, the blade treatment with the etched panel and burnished edges as well as the designs in gold indicates that this must be a northern example, probably from Rajasthan.

 

Conclusion

A very good north Indian bichuwa dagger with a hilt decorated with fine gold wire, in excellent condition throughout. Rarely found in such quality and condition.

A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor
A fine north Indian bichuwa dagger with gold decor

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