Language: Nepali
Source: Secondary reference material

Description

Kothimora khukurī refers to a khukurī in an ornamental scabbard, usually with elaborately worked silver mounts but sometimes found in silver with parcel gilding or entirely golden mounts as well. 1

The term primarily applies to the scabbard, there may be a very mundane khukurī inside, although in some cases they were produced together and both of a higher than usual quality.

A large kothimora khukuri

A large kothimora khukurī of the so-called "regimental type".
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.

 

About the term

The word consits of kothi (कोथि), and muhura (मुहुड़ा). 
Kothi (कोथि) is the Nepali word for the silver chape on the scabbard of a khukurī. 2
Muhura means “face”.

Colonel J.P. Cross states that the full wording would be “kothimora dap bha'eko khukurī”. 3

This would literally translate to "silver chape face scabbard done khukurī", written in Nepali it is कोथिमुहुड़ा दाप् भएको खुकुरी.

 

 

Sub-types of kothimora khukurī 

John Powell, a pioneer in khukurī studies, distinguished three main types: The "Palace or Court kothimora", "regimental kothimora" and the "box kothimora". He also noted that many do not fall into these set categories, and those can just be referred to as kothimora khukurī. 4

 

Palace or Court kothimora
Usually with black leather covered scabbard with gold or silver scabbard mouth and endpieces. Each fitting worked in repousse or engraved, frequently with the National Coat of Arms of Nepal. 

Palace or Court Kothimora

Palace or Court Kothimora khukurī
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.

 

Regimental kothimora
The most commonly encountered type. These were primarily made for Ghurka soldiers. Powell describes that sometimes these were just regular fighting khukurī that were brought to the metal worker to fit the scabbard with a fancy dress, usually in repousse silver, as an honour permitted to men of valor.

As military weapons, they sometimes come with regimental insignia.​​, but are more often encountered decorated with traditional local elements. Their wooden scabbards can be covered with leather or silk velvet.

According to Powell, in the British Indian army, regimental kothimoras were worn only by the Pipe Major (senior bagpiper) when on parade and senior NCO and ORs of the Officer's Mess. They were also presented to retiring Ghurka officers, or when an officer moved up rank. 5

Kothimora

A large kothimora khukurī.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.

 

Box kothimora
The main defining feature of this type is that the scabbard does not have separate leather or fabric pockets for karda and chakmak, it is all integrated in a single case, often clad in sheets of silver going around the circumference of the scabbard, and with mouthpiece and endpiece much like the regimental kothimora. These seem to have been primarily pieces that were presented to civilians.

Box KothimoraP.L. Achard

A box kothimora khukurī presented to wildlife conservationalist Peter L. Achard.
From the staff off the Tea Estate Terai in Panighatti, presented between 1947-1966.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.

 

 

Notes
1. John Powell; The kukri. Unpublished. See: archive.org
2. Sir Ralph Lilley Turner; A comparative and etymological dictionary of the Nepali language. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1931.
3. John Powell; The kukri. Unpublished. It is unclear from which source Col. J.P. Cross is quoted. Transliteration altered by me according to modern standard.
4. Ibid.
5. John Powell; The kukri. Unpublished. See: archive.org

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