Vijayanagara hooded katar
Overall length

45 cm

Blade length

28.2 cm

Blade thickness

Base 3 mm

Middle 2 mm

Near tip 1.5 mm

Blade width

Base 51 mm

Middle 35 mm

Near tip 20 mm

 

Weight

788 grams

Point of balance

Blade/hilt junction

Origin

Vijayanagara empire, South India

Materials

Steel, iron, brass solder

Dating

Circa 1550-1600

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Introduction

Hooded katar with long, wide blades are seen in the hands of statues at Seshagiri Rayar Mandapam. This is a 16th-century pillared hall in the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu. A marvelous feat of late Vijayanagara architecture.

Vijayanagara katar on statue

Photo by Richard Mortel from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Wikimedia Creative Commons

 

The style seems to have quickly fallen out of use in the early 17th century, coinciding with the decline and fall of the Vijayanagara empire. Smaller katar without the hood became more and more popular, also in the south, and replaced this style completely.

 

Further reading
Robert Elgood; Hindu arms and Ritual, Eburon Publishers, Delft. 2004. Pages 145-150.

 

Description

An early hooded katar with a wide, flat blade that gradually tapers to a point. It has a strong ricasso with the edge bevels starting a little further up the blade. Some hints on the blade surface suggest a forge-folded construction.

The blade is firmly held in place by two thick langets that project from the hilt, to which it is riveted with three rivets. It is further secured by the short tang that is peened on the other side of the hilt. Langets are engraved with stylized palm-like motifs on one side.

The hilt has an arched base, two thick side-bars and a very sturdy shield that protects the hand. The shield is decorated with shallow floral engravings at the base. The inside shows a thickly patinated hammered curface.

The edges of the shield are grooved, and the end is hooked, all to prevent a weapon from slipping into the hand or arm after it hit the shield.

The grip consists of two spool-shaped grips, forged and chiseled to shape.

 

Condition

Some denting to the blade. A tiny chip off the tip. No signs of excess cleaning, no pitting. In pretty decent, original condition, especially for age.

 

Conclusion

A simple version of the Vijayanagara hooded katar, of practical, sturdy construction with thick shield. It is not great in terms of quality and condition, but priced accordingly.

 

Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar
Hooded katar

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