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Old 31st October 2006, 03:47 AM   #1
Aurangzeb
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Default Indian Katar

Hello All!

I got this nice katar recently. It is good quality steel and shows good age. Unfortunatly a t some point in recent history it looks like it was scrubbed with a wire brush! So any koftgari on it is long gone but some spots between the crossbars shows s ome real nice aging as well as some old black rust, but no active rust is on it.How old could it be,, could it be from the Mughal period? Comments are welcome!

Mark...
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Old 31st October 2006, 04:10 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Aurangzeb
You might find the thread on the katar posted by Athena, which is about six spaces down interesting. Often the search feature will reveal data on katars as well, which might give information on similar examples.
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Old 31st October 2006, 05:01 PM   #3
Jens Nordlunde
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Hi Aurangzeb,

It’s a nice old katar you have, and a pity it has been scrubbed down with a wire brush. This, unfortunately, happens sometimes. Do you think it has a watered blade?

This one could be from the Mogul period, but it is difficult to say after the treatment it has been through, although my personal opinion is, that it very well could be.
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Old 31st October 2006, 08:09 PM   #4
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Hi Aurangzeb,
Very nice piece.
I happen to have a "katar" very much similar to yours. Can i ask you a question?
Have you measured the width between the two handle bars? Can you easily fit your hand onto the grip bar?
Thanks in advance
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Old 31st October 2006, 09:54 PM   #5
Jens Nordlunde
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Hi Fernando,
You should know, that it is not possible for a normal western hand to fit into a katar hilt. There have been several discussions about this, and no one could prove that it would fit.
Try to make a search.
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Old 1st November 2006, 04:32 AM   #6
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My hand does fit somewhat good on the crossbars. As to wether it has a watered blade, I'm not really sur is there a way to check to see if it is because it is well wire brushed. I will try to get a close up of the untouched space between the crossbars later. So this dates to about the late 18th. or early 19th. century probalbly. Can this one be put to a specific rehion? Thanks for the help!

Mark...
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Old 1st November 2006, 12:28 PM   #7
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Thanks Mark for your answer, i will apreciate that picture.

Hi Jens, i am aware of that field of discussion, but my question is a bit of a diverted one as, apart from having a katar ( jemadhar, learning with JimMacDougall ) with a fair fit handle, i also have this one with an unusually narrow width ( 6 cms. ), that was sold to me as an "adolescent" katar. I haven't yet seen this specific situation well established by the Experts, or confirmed in any text.

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Old 1st November 2006, 01:35 PM   #8
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Hi Fernando,

You are not likely to see anything along that line proven by experts.

One of the only things I can suggest is to make the Barleycorn test, and see how it fits to your finger width. Eight Barleycorns should be the width of one index finger measured at the tip. This measure was used for measuring the length and width of blades, and possible hilts as well.

I have had a look at some katars, the most narrow one measures 6.2 cm at the cross bars and the biggest 8.5 cm. This is a difference of 2.3 cm, which I think is quite a lot. Another thing which we must be remembered is, that people who could afford it, had weapons ‘tailored’ to fit them, but those who could not afford this, had to do with the standard size, made by the armouries. In India boys were trained in using weapons, from they were very young, and I have no doubt, that they also had their own weapons, could their parents afford it – made to fit their size of course.
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Old 1st November 2006, 08:28 PM   #9
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Thanks a lot Jens, for your info and explanations.
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Old 1st November 2006, 08:40 PM   #10
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Ive owned a few of them since I started collecting and since I knew nothing about them at the time I assumed the small handles which would not fit my hand were made for children and resold them But I just recently bought one with a 10 inch blade and maybe I missed this in a priv. post but does anyone know excatally why the handles are so small? Did they all just have very small hands or did they hold them diffrently then the design indicates? Im lost maybe someone out there knows.
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Old 1st November 2006, 08:51 PM   #11
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Boy soldiers. I have stated this before which was left in question. I cannot see why this is not so, boys have been used in the British army up untill the later part of the 19th century, and are still used in Africa today. I might add also anywhere conflict is out of the way and not involving the latest weapons technology.
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Old 1st November 2006, 09:01 PM   #12
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Newbie

Most of these katars are from the 1700s and early 1800s people in general were smaller than we are today therefore smaller people smaller hands. My grandparents who first arrived from Europe in the late 1800s were small grandpa was 5'4" and grandmother was 4'10" I am 5'11" tall so go figure?


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Old 1st November 2006, 09:24 PM   #13
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I figured after the frist few katars Ive owned and the articles Ive seen that it was the case that they were just generaly smaller, Ive noticed it in other daggers and even swords I have that the handles were for smaller hands. And generaly speaking from my knoledge on the era wasnt it standard for younger people to be made up of most of the armies, maybe Im mistaken, but it seems as though it would make sense that more young people were used as people didnt live as long especially in times of war.
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Old 1st November 2006, 10:09 PM   #14
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I would say 18 yrs would have been the starting point for most and you would be at almost full height by that age. So if you mean young 16 might be the limit I am sure there were no 12yr olds running around the battle field swinging swords. Average height back then was around 5ft 2inches-5ft 7 inches and 125 lbs-150lbs for men.
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Old 2nd November 2006, 02:01 PM   #15
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People living several hundred years ago were no doubt, like Lew says, smaller than people living to day. If we accept Lew’s theory, that their hands were slimmer than the hands of people living to day, and to this add a finer bone structure, then the hands of the Indians living one or two hundred years ago, would no doubt have fitted a katar or tulwar hilt. There is however one thing, which bothers me with the theory, that tall people, has big hands but people being not so tall have small hands. I am rather tall, but I know people a head smaller than I am, with hands as big, or almost as big, as mine. However, the Chinese, Thai and Indians I have met, all have a finer bone structure than I have, and therefore slimmer hands. It could, of course, also be that Lew’s theory holds, so it would be a combination of smaller size and finer bone structure.
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Old 2nd November 2006, 02:32 PM   #16
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It is a difficult question as there are a great many Indian weapons with what you think of as a normal hand grip. In some environments males may come of age and enter the adult world at 14/15. Add to that a poor diet and all the stuff about bone structure. You would need a smaller grip.
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Old 2nd November 2006, 03:49 PM   #17
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Jens

We are bigger boned due to our Viking genes I actually have an old tulwar with a larger hilt that my hand fits into so maybe some swords were fitted with larger hilts to accommodate taller larger warriors.

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Old 2nd November 2006, 04:54 PM   #18
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Lew,

So far nothing has been said more concrete, but as we are discussing a katar, I guess we are discussing a katar and possible a tulwar hilt. It is true that both katar and tulwar hilts can be found in different sizes, but it is also true, that the bigger part of the hilts are small for Western hands. If we move to khanda/firangi hilts, they are bigger, and I more than doubt, that they were only meant for the ones with beefy hands. One thing could be, the different ways of fighting with the different swords; fighting with some types needed more movement than fighting with another type. Now, let us make it a bit more complicated, have a look at a typical South Indian hilt – it is even smaller than the katar/tulwar hilts. This suggests to me, that the way the swords were held could be different – or they must have had even smaller hands – but I doubt that very much.

Another thing is, if you look at the bronze deities armed with swords, some of the swords have a flat half circle pommel and a short grip. If the proportions are correct, this would suggest that you did not grip it with all fingers, but that the little finger and the hand palm rested on the half disc – but that is another story.


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Old 7th November 2006, 03:26 AM   #19
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Jens

Here are a few shots of my 14 year old son holding a katar and tulwar. Notice his hand fits nicely into both. Well he stands 5ft 5 inches tall and weighs 100lbs which helps show that the warriors of 200 years ago were as smalled boned as a modern 14-15 year old teenager.


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Old 7th November 2006, 02:35 PM   #20
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Lew,

That is exactly what I mean, thank you for showing. But I mean more than that, I think that you even to day will be able to find many Indians who can easily hold a tulwar or a katar, and I believe it is due to a finer bone structure, than the one most from the western part of the World have.

Nice katar. No decoration, but maybe a dot marking – am I right? If I am right, it maybe could come from the Bikaner armoury.
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Old 7th November 2006, 03:38 PM   #21
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the hilt size has been an on-going discussion/debate and, as it is all speculation, people tend to stick to their camps and believe what in their own different theories. all are valid, but i fear it cant really go past guesswork.
my theory runs along the same lines as jens. if you go to any 'indian' area, you will see a wide spectrum of cultures, all roped within that continent. however, it is apparant that a large body of indians are small in size (even today). their bone structure is noticibly lighter than normal, and their hands are small. my theory is that these people originate from the early hindus, pre-islamic 'invasion'.
persians, turks, ottomans etc tend to be of a bulkier frame (much like the western form) and i think that with a 1000 or so years of infiltration, the indian body has, in general, incorporated these genes within. so, you have rajputs that are bigger in size but i think that ancestrally, they were much smaller. there are many full grown indians that can easily hold a 'normal' size tulwar and katar.
i have seen/owned many indian pieces of various sizes. in general, they are smaller, but i have pieces that i can easily wield.
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Old 7th November 2006, 03:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Lew,



Nice katar. No decoration, but maybe a dot marking – am I right? If I am right, it maybe could come from the Bikaner armoury.


Jens

I am pretty sure this katar is from Bikaner it also has a W11 engraved on the side bar which I was told came from a famous British arms collection the Rotunda at Woolwich that was on display for many years until it was broken up in the middle of the 20th century.

http://www.ideal-homes.org.uk/green...ich/rotunda.htm
http://www.oldtowns.co.uk/Kent/woolwich.htm
http://viewfinder.english-heritage....76285&=&JS=True



Lew

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Old 7th November 2006, 05:23 PM   #23
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Hi Brian, very well described - thank you very much.

Hi Lew, I can't say, 'if you have seen one, you have seen them all', but have a look.
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Old 7th November 2006, 05:40 PM   #24
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Almost twins! Definately from the same amoury.

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Old 7th November 2006, 08:09 PM   #25
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This might be nonsense but, wthin the relative narrowness of the grip between the sword ( tulwar ... ) and the katar, i would adventure that katars may have even got narrower handles than swords as, in the sword you have to be able to swing your wrist, whereas in katars both your hand and forearm are completely aligned inside the long bars ... even sometimes tyed with bandages. So you wouldn't need a "tolerance factor".
I am posting pictures of a ( poor condition ) katar which, in my unitiated eyes, is similar to the one shown by Aurangzeb in this thread opening. The blade is 10 inches long but, in the contrary, the grip section in this one hardly measures a critical 6 cms. I have being reluctant to abandon the boy's katar version as, the shop owner whom i bought it from, is a relatively known weapons historian-writer and has an imense collection. Whereas he didn't ponder all this time on the ( some ) Indian peoples actually slim hands, and just decided to call this piece an adolescent specimen for comercial purposes, is something i find bitter to digest. But as we say over here, even the best cloth gets stained.
Kind regards
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Old 7th November 2006, 08:22 PM   #26
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I have to agree with Fernando. I just cannot believe that a large amout of adult Indian WARRIORS with training and so on were only the size of the average modern western teenager. Some weapons may have been used with a glove but that still leaves a huge question about all the others.
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Old 7th November 2006, 09:05 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
I have to agree with Fernando. I just cannot believe that a large amout of adult Indian WARRIORS with training and so on were only the size of the average modern western teenager. Some weapons may have been used with a glove but that still leaves a huge question about all the others.


Tim

I have been in many old homes dating back to the 1750s and the door frames in these homes are quite low 5'7-8 inches high maybe even lower. You just have to face it most people who lived 250 years ago were short. Here in the states we see a large number of immigrants coming out of Equador and Peru my son who is 5ft 5 inches towers over most of the adult men and the women are tiny 4ft 8 inches tall. During WWII many Americans seemed huge next to the Japanese. You also can see this trait in many of the Ghurkas from Nepal old kukris have small hilts for small handed people. As the old saying goes if the shoe fits wear it or if the katar fits you must acquit Click on this link! I also found this in my searches.

Height and weight of early 20th century Filipino men


J. E. Murray A1

A1 Department of Economics, University of Toledo, Ohio, USA


Abstract:

Background: Recent anthropometric studies of Filipinos have concentrated on women and children. While present-day studies of Filipino men are few, scattered sources of historical height and weight samples exist and can be studied to estimate a rough baseline for comparison, as well as to study trends in the past. Aim: This paper estimates heights and weights of men in the Philippines about a century ago. Height-by-age profiles and comparisons to contemporary populations in south-east Asia as well as present day Filipinos provide context. Subjects and methods: One sample consisted of 843 prisoners from throughout the islands, who were measured by an American anthropologist in Manila. A previously overlooked published source included measurements of 1016 seamen, police and prison guards, and civil servants in Manila. A contemporary source also measured 100 relatively remote Igorrote in Luzon. Results: Average heights fell in a relatively narrow range of 1.60-1.62 m, except for police who were subject to a minimum height requirement. Body mass index (BMI) fell in a broader range of 18.24-21.26. Some regional variation was also evident in the prisoner sample. Height-by-age profiles suggested some improvement in net nutritional conditions over the century. Conclusions: Heights of turn of the century Filipino men were not very different from men elsewhere in south-east Asia, nor from present-day Filipino men. To understand trends in heights over the longer term more samples of men in the present-day Philippines would be desirable.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


http://www.webmd.com/content/articl...9531713CA348%7D

So why is it so hard to believe that 18th century Indian warriors would be any bigger than other peoples from Europe and South east Asia?



Lew

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Old 7th November 2006, 09:31 PM   #28
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It would be interesting to compere the hilts with medieval and later hilts of some of the shorter European people.
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Old 7th November 2006, 10:08 PM   #29
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Tim,

You are wrong, and living in England where you have so many people from India/Pakistan living, I don’t understand that you can’t see, that the arguments from Brian, Lew and myself are right – it is beyond me, but I don’t think your arguments hold water – sorry. There are however, a lot of other questions to e discussed about the hilts, and I hope we can discus them at another time.

Lew, could you show the dot marking, and tell from where you have the translation – please.

Fernando, please realise that the way of fighting in Europe and in India was very different, and this makes the different hilts interesting – have a look at post #8.
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Old 7th November 2006, 10:24 PM   #30
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[QUOTE=Jens Nordlunde]



Lew, could you show the dot marking, and tell from where you have the translation – please.

Jens

Dot markings on what the katar?

Lew
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