Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
It is most heartening as I read on your clearly impassioned approaches toward properly understanding the extremely complex field of the arms and armour of India and Central Asia. Again, I do deeply apologize for not better directing my comments to Jens, which I had not realized would become such a faux pas.
As I explained, I have had the opportunity to work alongside him in many cases in the study of these very weapons over many years.
What I should have emphasized is how delighted myself, and I am sure Jens and others who have most seriously studied these weapons, are to have others join in this quest. Having new eyes and new ideas as well as more perspective in recalling what have become well travelled roads of years ago is outstanding.
The image Jens posted in his last post for example, brought to mind the term 'maustika'. While I recall the frieze, and the term, I could not immediately recall more on the word nor the image, but of course remember where it was from.
Searching the term 'maustika' on Google, it was amazing to see a discussion on this very subject between Jens, myself and B.I. who is a brilliant scholar on these weapons who used to write here. It was from these pages Apr 28, 2006, and we had all been years into the search already.
Apparantly I had found reference to this 'maustika' listed as a 'fist sword/dagger' in Richard Burton ("Book of the Sword" 1885, p214-215). Burton had in turn referenced this from Professor Gustav Oppert ("Weapons of the Ancient Hindus", 1880). Again, in turn, Oppert cited his reference from the 'Nitiprakashika' Book III.
This entry was resultant of a the study Jens had been doing on the origins of the katar, in particular of a small triangular blade with a transverse bar for a grip, as if the entire weapon was cast in one piece. This was from a line drawing and the actual weapon if I recall was from the Moser Collection (Bern, and the image from Holstein, 1931).
Returning to the frieze Jens just posted, I believe (again if memory serves) this represented the Goddess Mahisasuramardini, Durga, slaying the buffalo demon (Orissa temple frieze?, 13th c.).
This clear example of a transversely held dagger seems compellingly to be a katar, and the weapon from Holstein, an even earlier and simpler 'proto katar' (?).
In that particular discussion from 2006, the shield with blade or spike was also mentioned as I noted earlier here.
I wanted to share these notes from those earlier studies and discussions only to present them as perhaps benchmarks or ideas to further pursue various avenues toward the more conclusive resolutions we all clearly hope to achieve.