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Old 7th September 2005, 11:56 PM   #1
geneacom
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Default Help wanted Identification of Katars

I am doing some research for my brother, who has no computer.
He is collecting katars for more than 20 years.
We like to find out the meaning of the different inscriptions on his katars.

Thanks in advance
Rob van Willigen,
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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Last edited by geneacom : 8th September 2005 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 8th September 2005, 02:08 AM   #2
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As far as I know, this technical manner of inscriptions usually belongs to Rajastan.
Tell your brother that he owes me a fee for this remarkably informative comment: posting pics of the katars for all of us to see!
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Old 8th September 2005, 05:28 AM   #3
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Most of those inscriptions are arsenal marks?
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Old 8th September 2005, 01:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Help wanted Identification of Katars

Rajastan is a start, now what is the translation?
Although I still don't know what the translation of the inscriptions is, I will ask my brother to make pictures of the katars with inscription.
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Old 8th September 2005, 02:10 PM   #5
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Like Battara writes, most of the markings, if not all, are arsenal markings. Some is no doubt text, not yet translated as far as I know, and other of the markings are numbers. Markings like that were used at the armoury at Bikaner, about 350 km west south west of Delhi, so Rajasthan is also correct.
Pictures would be apreciated.
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Old 8th September 2005, 07:33 PM   #6
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Since my brother only has made some detail photos of the to publish, I will show them here.
I will try to create a opportunity to make digital pictures
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Old 8th September 2005, 07:53 PM   #7
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Would it be possible to have pictures of the whole katar, and of the details?

Jens
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Old 8th September 2005, 08:35 PM   #8
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As I said in my previous post:
"I will try to create a opportunity to make digital pictures".
I just made the arrangement to make some new photos in this weekend.

In the meantime: I am still interested in what the text and/or figures literally is (translated or original).
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Old 8th September 2005, 08:49 PM   #9
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For a better view:
Here are the details again, but now one by one.
I first had some problems posting my pictures, so I just put them all in one picture.
I hope this is better.
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Old 8th September 2005, 09:39 PM   #10
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The details you show are very good, but tell me does you brother also have a mark like this?
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Old 8th September 2005, 11:12 PM   #11
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No, this is all what we found on his katars.

Because I will make new pictures this weekend myself, I will examanie them very closely, to see if I can find something else, that looks like a mark.

There were no inscriptions on the scissor-katar.

Last edited by geneacom : 9th September 2005 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 8th September 2005, 11:14 PM   #12
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Is it better to make my pictures a bit smaller next time?

Last edited by geneacom : 9th September 2005 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 9th September 2005, 01:58 PM   #13
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Personally, I think the size is fine (I have more problem with wide pictures than long ones, because you have to scroll back and forth in two directions). Also, the size of your pictures is perfect for deciphering writing.
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Old 9th September 2005, 02:41 PM   #14
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The question is has anyone ever deciphered these 'armoury marks' before ?
I can't recall anyone on this forum doing it .

Calling Jim !!
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Old 9th September 2005, 03:28 PM   #15
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It will be interesting to see who else has Indian weapons with arsenal marks. Here is one, also with dot markings, the same kind of markings can also be found on tulwar blades.

Some armouries marked their weapons, others not. The marking itself does not tell much about the weapon, other than it has been in the armoury at one point. The weapons in an armoury can be from many places, like weapons from the armoury in Bikaner, can be from Bikaner, but they can also be from a lot of other places in India, like maybe Orissa. If the Rajput’s had been fighting in Orissa and won, they would have taken the weapons home with them and stored them in the armoury, and the arms would be marked with the armoury mark. A thing which must be remembered is, that the one who marked the weapons, most likely, could neither read nor write, so he had to make the marks after a drawing, maybe made by someone who barely could read and write. After having marked a few hundred, with thousands waiting to be marked, it would be natural if his ‘handwriting’ got scamped. This all leads to, that it nowadays is very difficult to read the markings, and only few of the arsenal markings are known to have belonged to certain arsenals.

Hi Rick, not that I know of. The reason, or some of the reason, will be like mentioned above - but maybe some day.

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Old 9th September 2005, 03:49 PM   #16
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Well , here's my contribution .
Wootz tulwar with an almost straight blade .
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Old 9th September 2005, 05:06 PM   #17
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And the important thing about such armory marks, like serial numbers on today's military weapons, may be that each was a unique (or perhaps a unique identifier for a whole group or armory?), rather than necessarily having an intrinsic meaning. In other words, even if it represents a series of numerals and/or legible characters, it may not add up to words.
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Old 9th September 2005, 09:33 PM   #18
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Yes rather like carpenters and other skilled persons marks from many trades that mean nothing to those not involved. Tim
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Old 11th September 2005, 06:23 AM   #19
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Hi Rick,
Thanks for the call!!!
I cant really add a lot to what Jens has beautifully explained concerning arsenal and armoury markings, but we have tried to accomplish gathering data on them before, unfortunately there really is very little data.

The Bikaner armoury, which is being discussed here, seems to have the most distinctive and numerous items, characterized by these punch dot script inscriptions. Some other Mughal items seem to have inscriptions that may be arsenal markings with dates or numerics, but these are not catalogued or otherwise collected.

Robert Elgood ("Hindu Arms & Ritual" p.30) describes the Wodeyar Armoury in Mysore, where Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799-1868) ordered an inventory and pieces numbered and inscribed in 'kannada' script, naming the object and noting his title, 'Srikishna'.

Hopefully those out there with Indian weapons that have distinct markings might post them here!!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 11th September 2005, 11:01 AM   #20
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Hi Rick,

It is an interesting double marking you have on your tulwar, it is seldom to see double markings on weapons. It could be an owner’s name, and an armoury mark added later, or it could be two different armoury markings – but this is only speculation so far.

Hi Jim,

Your quotation of Elgood is very good, as it is very seldom to find a quotation like that.
One thing I forgot to mention earlier is, that besides a number, the text can give the name of the owner of the armoury or the name of the armoury itself, but in most cases it is likely that the text has been abbreviated, which makes it very difficult if not impossible to be sure from which armoury the weapons came, as we now only know of some of the armouries – armouries closed for many years are long forgotten, although we may find weapons marked in one of these places. We must also remember that many different languages were/are spoken in India, and to be able to read the text, you will have to know the language it is written in.
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Old 11th September 2005, 08:22 PM   #21
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Default new pictures of Katars

hello everyone,
I made new digital pictures of my brothers' katars and some extra ones.
One of the extra is a very large katar and the other one is a very old one, I think.
Right now I am preparing the pictures for publishing here.
So keep watching ...
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Old 11th September 2005, 09:52 PM   #22
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Hi Jens,
You're right, it is remarkably difficult to try to read or decipher armoury or arsenal markings because of the varying dialects and alphabetics. Even more confounding is the fact that such markings are typically the result of often reluctant bureaucratic tediom, inventorying. I cannot think of anyone who ever looked forward to 'inventory'! Thus the result of diminishing accuracy and omissions etc. The abbreviations and numbers can only have made sense to those directly involved in that particular armory and period. There was no standardization or system employed outside that armory and by others.

I recall some time ago trying to discover the meaning of such a marking on a Chinese sabre, which was apparantly inscribed in Manchu. Hoping for some meaningful, telling mark I pursued having it translated, not easily done as this is apparantly elusive these days in Chinese linguistics. When finally it was done all that could be determined was a vague interpretation of 'tempered steel' or 'good steel' or something of that form.

Even European military weapons are maddening in trying to discover the significance of key placed little letters and numbers and symbols in all manner of places on weapons. With these one is always hoping to find regimental attribution, but with such markings there is the one constant...inconsistancy!

Looking forward to seeing these next photos Geneacom!!!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 12th September 2005, 12:01 AM   #23
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Well, here's something coming.
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Last edited by geneacom : 12th September 2005 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 12th September 2005, 12:37 AM   #24
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This is a large one, the ruler is 30 cm long!
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Old 12th September 2005, 12:59 AM   #25
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Here is my special piece, the one I like the most.
More detailphotos following soon ...
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Old 13th September 2005, 11:20 PM   #26
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here are some additional (detail) pictures of the small katar.
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Old 13th September 2005, 11:55 PM   #27
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Katar with text on 2 sides
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Old 14th September 2005, 10:20 PM   #28
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The last week I have published 4 photosets of katars from different viewpoints.
That's what everybody was asking for.
Up until now, not a single reaction.
Nobody interested anymore?
That's a pity, because I have another 25 katars waiting to be photographed.

If there is no reaction at all, I wil stop and save myself the trouble of making all these pictures, put them all together and publish them!
Rob van Willigen (Geneacom)

Last edited by geneacom : 14th September 2005 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 14th September 2005, 11:12 PM   #29
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Thanks for your time & effort Rob!

I have found this a fascinating thread, especialy your photos & the discusian re armoury marks.

I am jealous of such a museam quality collection!

I would imagine this group of katars is the envy of anyone who collects katars.

Spiral
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Old 14th September 2005, 11:24 PM   #30
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I think that from reading the discussion Rob no one here knows how to decipher the armory marks . Many legitimate reasons were given for this .
I'm sorry if we seem to have let you down in this respect .
Quite possibly no one has ever made a study of these markings .

The katars are quite beautiful .
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