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Old 27th October 2019, 04:05 PM   #1
Jens Nordlunde
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Default Cut steel decorations on Indian arms

It s seldom writers comment on the decoration of the Indian weapons, but Hermann Goetz did in his book The Art and Architecture of Bikaner State, p. 125, 1950.
Cut steel decoration was far more popular than most think, and lasted quite long, before inlay and koftgari took over. Here is a quote from Goetz' book.
The katar shown is an example of cut steel decoration. In this case the katar is 17th century, but with a Bikaner dot inscription.
Surat Singhji (r. 1787-1828). Ji is a honorific suffix.
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Old 28th October 2019, 12:46 AM   #2
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Itís a high class one: reserved, elegant and beautiful. Unlike many overdecorated one, it has simple clean lines with limited decorations. And the wootz inner panels are perfect.For some reasons it looks to me like a ballet dancer.

I love it.

A question: I can understand the way S. Indian katars were assembled. But this one puzzles me: how was the blade securely attached to the handle? Was the lower horizontal piece of the handle originally en bloc with the blade?
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Old 28th October 2019, 09:36 AM   #3
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Yes Ariel, the hilt base and the blade is one piece of steel, so the whole katar was made in one piece.
These steel cut pieces are fantastic, and when you think of the tools they had at the time it is even more fantastic.
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Old 28th October 2019, 10:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Yes Ariel, the hilt base and the blade is one piece of steel, so the whole katar was made in one piece.
These steel cut pieces are fantastic, and when you think of the tools they had at the time it is even more fantastic.


The Egyptians built the pyramids with Bronze tools...

If i'm not mistaken only the Southern Tanjore type katars are made of two pieces: a sword blade with 3 rivets to connect with the hilt?
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Old 28th October 2019, 04:19 PM   #5
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Kubur, I know what you mean and agree with you, but I also seem to remember that Robert Elgood - somewhere - mentions that a katar had a blade solded to the hilt. However, a katar with a solded blade, would hardly be a good weapon in a battle - one hard hit with a sword on the side of the katar blade, and the katar blade is likely to have gone.
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Old 29th October 2019, 02:04 AM   #6
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Soldering uses tin or zinc and those are very soft. They are good for repairing houseware or joining wires, but not for much else.

Not being a metallurgist of any sorts, how about brazing? Apparently it provides much stronger bond. In fact, it is a subdivision of soldering, only it uses brass. Brazing was used on bronze Sumerian swords 3000 years BC. I canít remember where I read that brass and especially silver brazing bond is stronger than the steel parts they are joining.

I have a composite Indian sword with a S.Indian straight blade 14-17 century and a basket hilt 16-18 century joined by extensive brazing. When, - is another question :-), but historically they might have been married 300-400 years ago. And still holding strong:-)
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Old 29th October 2019, 01:04 PM   #7
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Like you write soldering cant have been a very good solution, so some other method must have been used.


Kronckew, you have a nice south Indian katar, and maybe the south Indians, now and again, changed the blader of their katars - I dont know.
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Old 31st October 2019, 03:50 AM   #8
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An attractive and quite interesting catter, kronkew! Looks like a recycled European blade, or the tip end thereof? Interesting that laminations are visible which are in keeping with pre-industrial manufacture.
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Old 31st October 2019, 09:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
An attractive and quite interesting catter, kronkew! Looks like a recycled European blade, or the tip end thereof? Interesting that laminations are visible which are in keeping with pre-industrial manufacture.


Yup, I like it a lot, broken off tip of a euro blade I think. the carrier was a bit more decorative once, but is well worn and a bit pitted, but the blade is still tight and functional, wish it were a bit wider tho, can only hold it with 4 fingers.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 04:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
wish it were a bit wider tho, can only hold it with 4 fingers.


Southern catter hilts are often a tad cramped, the peoples of the deep south are mostly of Dravidian stock and are of smaller stature than northerners. They sure were great metalworkers, though. Their cut and pierced steel work is tops, as is that from the nearby island of Sri Lanka at the tip of the Subcontinent.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 08:14 AM   #11
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I have the little sister
And here is what i think... (who wants to be a millionaire)
All these katars had originaly 3 rivets but as you said the blade was not securely fitted. So the owners have to do some basic soldering to reinforce the thing.
Most of these katars have the same problem: disgusting and ugly soldering and it cannot be the armorer who did this lovely katar...
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Old 27th April 2020, 02:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
It s seldom writers comment on the decoration of the Indian weapons, but Hermann Goetz did in his book The Art and Architecture of Bikaner State, p. 125, 1950.
Cut steel decoration was far more popular than most think, and lasted quite long, before inlay and koftgari took over. Here is a quote from Goetz' book.
The katar shown is an example of cut steel decoration. In this case the katar is 17th century, but with a Bikaner dot inscription.
Surat Singhji (r. 1787-1828). Ji is a honorific suffix.


interesting!
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