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Old 27th September 2013, 12:28 AM   #1
JamesKelly
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Default Makara

As part of going every which way at once in this new hobby (surely not obsession . . .) of mine I got this small Indian kard recently. I am a metallurgist, and wanted a good example of wootz (a.k.a. watered) steel. This one has the Mohamed's Ladder pattern. Well, since the hilt includes a Hindu Makara I suppose the Muslim reference is inappropriate. Decided Makara makes a fine Avatar. I have Manfred Sachse's 3rd edition Damascus Steel (in English) & need to study a bit. Am so pleased to have a fine example of this steel that has been legendary for two millennia.
Anyway, this knife is about 250mm overall, with a 160mm blade. Bought this and an Indian made Arab style Jambiya from a dealer in England, with a Tulwar on the way from the same gentleman. Time to slow down, I reckon. Although I hope to have a Sudanese arm dagger from a German auction house, if I can figure out their incomprehensible (to me) system of how one pays the bill.
All these will be mixed in my den with American & English pocket pistols, sporting rifles and muskets, flint & percussion. Space is a problem - I am Wall Challenged (American joke).
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Old 27th September 2013, 05:28 PM   #2
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesKelly
As part of going every which way at once in this new hobby (surely not obsession . . .) of mine I got this small Indian kard recently. I am a metallurgist, and wanted a good example of wootz (a.k.a. watered) steel. This one has the Mohamed's Ladder pattern. Well, since the hilt includes a Hindu Makara I suppose the Muslim reference is inappropriate. Decided Makara makes a fine Avatar. I have Manfred Sachse's 3rd edition Damascus Steel (in English) & need to study a bit. Am so pleased to have a fine example of this steel that has been legendary for two millennia.
Anyway, this knife is about 250mm overall, with a 160mm blade. Bought this and an Indian made Arab style Jambiya from a dealer in England, with a Tulwar on the way from the same gentleman. Time to slow down, I reckon. Although I hope to have a Sudanese arm dagger from a German auction house, if I can figure out their incomprehensible (to me) system of how one pays the bill.
All these will be mixed in my den with American & English pocket pistols, sporting rifles and muskets, flint & percussion. Space is a problem - I am Wall Challenged (American joke).



Salaams JamesKelly ~ I dont think they are Makara but I do suspect they are Nagas.... equally impressive!

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 28th September 2013, 06:39 PM   #3
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With respect, the snout, ears, fin and all those little teeth imply to me, in my Sophomoric view, Makara.
Kind of reminds me of the Sea Serpent with whom Donald Duck (Walt Disney) had to contend in a little 1946 cartoon book of mine. Yes, I use only the most sophisticated references.
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Old 28th September 2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesKelly
With respect, the snout, ears, fin and all those little teeth imply to me, in my Sophomoric view, Makara.
Kind of reminds me of the Sea Serpent with whom Donald Duck (Walt Disney) had to contend in a little 1946 cartoon book of mine. Yes, I use only the most sophisticated references.


Salaams JamesKelly Haha! I like your references... As you probably know Makara spew (nicely) Nagas all about them... Take for example the Makara displayed at Hindu Shrines invariably with Nagas at the base..Anyway here it is a Naga or a Makara proudly appearing as a dagger hilt.
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Old 30th September 2013, 01:34 PM   #5
Gavin Nugent
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Default The steel

Hi James,

I too think it is a stylised Makara...I have one here in ivory that almost looks like a dog!

I do not see any ladders in this blade. Do you have better images?

Gavin
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Old 1st October 2013, 06:51 PM   #6
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Salaams all . There is another school of thought on this zoomorphic style that places the animal form as an antelope. I have a picture waiting to display showing such an antelope being attacked by a tiger ... the entire display being the hilt of an Indian sword...
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Old 4th October 2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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Hi,

Thought this is what a makara was; an amalgamation of elephant, naga and other creatures.

Or at least what it was in Patani / Malay peninsular interpretation...
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Old 4th October 2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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Hi James,

Nice piece. I also agree the zoomorphic pommel appears to be a makara...

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 4th October 2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moshah
Hi,

Thought this is what a makara was; an amalgamation of elephant, naga and other creatures.

Or at least what it was in Patani / Malay peninsular interpretation...




Salaams Moshah,
I have to say that your picture of the Malay weapon is very interesting. I have often wondered if the Makara hilt of Sri Lanka was more influenced from the East or that it spread there from Sri Lanka .. I recall an enormous conflab on the Kastane Hilt in Makara form and whether it was a lion or the Makara. I would certainly like to use your picture as a reference on that thread please?
Regarding this thread I am about to show that #1 is, in fact, an antelope style, thus, neither the Naga nor the Makara, however, it is an intriguing conversation just the same...

...and lest we forget The Makara was occasionally displayed with the head and legs of an antelope and the body and tail of a fish.. see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14998 post 17 for a full description of The Makara.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 6th October 2013, 02:21 PM   #10
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As-salaam Ibrahim,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
I would certainly like to use your picture as a reference on that thread please?

The picture was an encrypt from the book "Spirit of Wood" - a Malay woodcarving book. I do not see any problem of using the pix for your study, but I would like to concur here that the beautiful hilt wasn't mine. Enclosed are few more pictures that also wasn't mine, but perhaps would bring more words of wisdom around...the last one, was mounted on Philipines / Moro - based weapon IMHO.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Regarding this thread I am about to show that #1 is, in fact, an antelope style, thus, neither the Naga nor the Makara, however, it is an intriguing conversation just the same...

I agree, it doesn't look like a makara to me. I always thought, as my recollection from discussion with senior keris collectors of Kelantan, Makara was a folklore creatures that takes major body of an elephant, with naga appearances. For what it's worth, I think it is an interesting hilt form usually found on Malay badiks - a small, single-edged and very-easily-concealed weapon that is easier to be carried around than the keris.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
...and lest we forget The Makara was occasionally displayed with the head and legs of an antelope and the body and tail of a fish.. see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14998 post 17 for a full description of The Makara.

Thank you for the link, it was a delightful read indeed!
The Angkor-based Khmer Empire relation was interesting, since Pattani Kingdom was subjugated by the Siamese on the 17th century, so does the Khmer somewhere down the line, IMHO. Need to revisit old text that I have a copy to be exactly sure though...

Regards,
Moshah
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Old 6th October 2013, 02:46 PM   #11
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This sort of thing is not an area I know much about so what I have to contribute is a little off the wall. The item could very easily be seen as a boars head hunting or hunters knife, some what rural in style but still having some table knife elegance. I think the pattern blade would not be particularly unusual depending on time and place?
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Old 6th October 2013, 06:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moshah
As-salaam Ibrahim,


The picture was an encrypt from the book "Spirit of Wood" - a Malay woodcarving book. I do not see any problem of using the pix for your study, but I would like to concur here that the beautiful hilt wasn't mine. Enclosed are few more pictures that also wasn't mine, but perhaps would bring more words of wisdom around...the last one, was mounted on Philipines / Moro - based weapon IMHO.



I agree, it doesn't look like a makara to me. I always thought, as my recollection from discussion with senior keris collectors of Kelantan, Makara was a folklore creatures that takes major body of an elephant, with naga appearances. For what it's worth, I think it is an interesting hilt form usually found on Malay badiks - a small, single-edged and very-easily-concealed weapon that is easier to be carried around than the keris.



Thank you for the link, it was a delightful read indeed!
The Angkor-based Khmer Empire relation was interesting, since Pattani Kingdom was subjugated by the Siamese on the 17th century, so does the Khmer somewhere down the line, IMHO. Need to revisit old text that I have a copy to be exactly sure though...

Regards,
Moshah




Salaams Moshah and thank you for your excellent post.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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