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Old 6th June 2006, 05:27 PM   #1
Lew
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Default Indian Bichwa Dagger For Comment

Hi Guys

This auction just ended. Thought is was going to be a sleeper but there were a couple of sharp eyes out there. I don't think I did too bad though

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...ADME:B:DS:US:28


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Old 6th June 2006, 08:10 PM   #2
ariel
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You had a run for your money, buddy
But you did well.
I watched it too, but ... one has to prioritize. Unfortunately.....
The e-snipe has changed the nature of bidding quite dramatically.
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Old 6th June 2006, 08:18 PM   #3
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I saw it too. But, I do not liked it... Some of thoose indian weapons recently on ebay doesn't look good to my eyes, maybe just overcleaned but still... just not of my taste I guess...
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Old 6th June 2006, 10:36 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Valjhun]I saw it too. But, I do not liked it... Some of thoose indian weapons recently on ebay doesn't look good to my eyes, maybe just overcleaned but still... just not of my taste I guess... [/QUOTE

It is a matter of taste and collecting preferences, I am sure. Many of them are very beautiful, especially the long blades. But I agree, many of them are overcleaned. Perhaps, because they were not cared for properly for a long time...
However, when you see Indian wootz, it is a sight to behold....
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Old 11th June 2006, 11:34 AM   #5
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Thats a nice dagger Lew. I've never seen one before (Indian weapons not being my forte) Would you mind posting pics on this thread, after you receive it, the listing photos are not too clear.
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Old 17th June 2006, 08:37 PM   #6
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Hi All

The dagger arrived the other day so here are some better pics. Bichwa strike me as a pure stabbing weapon.


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Old 17th June 2006, 08:59 PM   #7
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I agree. Nasty, stabbing (backstabbing, too) street gang type weapon. An equivalent of Shiv.
Impossible to imagine a "knightly" person fighting with this thing.
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Old 17th June 2006, 09:04 PM   #8
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When fighting being a knight or an oik makes no difference, a stab is a stab whoever sticks it in.
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Old 17th June 2006, 10:27 PM   #9
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A big fork for a big steak! Now you need a big knife

Very nice and very impressive!!!!
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Old 27th June 2009, 06:21 AM   #10
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Hello, I know this is resurrecting an old thread
..but I had a question and I didn't want to open up a whole new thread...

What is the significance of the double blade? Many bichwas have just one, but many also have two. Does a double blade give advantages like more stabs, ability to trap weapons, and being able to hit a given target easier? Would the single bladed kind just be simpler to use and manufacture? Was there training involved or was it mainly an assassination and thuggish weapon, not often in the hands of someone who had to face a wary and skilled opponent?

Thanks
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Old 27th June 2009, 05:18 PM   #11
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Nice addition to the collection mate! I've never had one myself.
I always assumed that the handle shape and configuration of the blade would make it perfect for use with a Dahl on the same arm.
I believe that the benefit of twin bladed weapons, whether one above the other or side by side is that the wound is often more difficult to 'patch'.
I think the benefit of the strange handle on these is that it stays on the hand when open, in other words the hand using it isn't completely incapacitated by holding it, allowing for grabbing or other last resort close quarters actions, even possibly for holding the reins of a horse while having it in hand?

Last edited by Atlantia : 27th June 2009 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 29th June 2009, 05:17 AM   #12
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Hi Kukulz,
Thank you for bringing up this old thread! and an extremely interesting topic.
I think its great that you're reading through the older material, and asking very valid questions on these interesting daggers.

For the record, I would note that these are essentially a Maratha weapon that seem to have developed from daggers originally made from a single buffalo horn probably around the 17th c. While most examples noted in references seem to be primarily of Madhya Pradesh origin, they of course diffused widely, as the recurved blade following the horn shape evolved.
These did not always have the loop handle, and many had more traditional hilts , especially examples from Tanjore (Thanjavur) in Tamil Nadu.

It is well known that these were called 'bichwa' ( roughly translated as the scorpions sting), and were often concealed in sleeve in a sheath by common people in Mysore and Hyderabad (Egerton p.116, #490, Pant.p.155).

As for the double blade, there are examples of these noted as with 'forked blade' ("Indian Arms & Armour" G.N.Pant, New Delhi, 1980, p.153-155, fig. 406). Unfortunately there are no specifics on the purpose of the dual blades.
There is an ivory hilted example with dual blades which is a regular form hilt resembling somewhat a choora style and two bichwa blades, with the hilt split in the middle and held together by two hooks (plate CCXXXVII, Pant).
This piece is attributed to the East India Co. c.1800, and seems likely from Mysore, when that company took over in these regions.

This separating function would seem to be an effective use of dual bladed weapons such as the Chinese dual blade knives, and Marathas did often use dual weapons in fighting, even use of dual patas is known. However, a double bladed knife would obviously be effective only in slashing, as it does not seem likely suited for effective penetration in stabbing. The Marathas from what I understand favored slashing regardless, so perhaps mostly a more fearsome looking weapon?

The loop type handle would offer a more secure grip, and some of these are fashioned in trench knife (knuckleduster fashion) with bagh nakh (=tigers claw) on the loop. One cannot deny the psychological effect of these weapons, which were likely pretty effective as well. Gene offers some very plausible reasons for the loop as well.
In some 18th century Scottish basket hilts there is often an oval loop in the hilt configuration, which seems generally held to be placed there for holding reins (not suggesting any Highlanders were among Maratha's, just a note).


Best regards,
Jim
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Old 29th June 2009, 10:50 AM   #13
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Thanks Atlantia. You mention a double blade-inflicted wound may be harder to patch up. But Jim says the double blade is a possible hindrance for penetration. Would this suggest that those who used double-bladed bichwas tended to slash (like Jim suggested of the Marathas), and the lead blade would make the initial cut, and the second would follow to deepen the wound...?

Thanks Jim. I appreciate the info-packed response and the encouragement.
The old posts are a great reservoir of information, and usually, even if they have topics not directly pertinent to your search, it's very interesting. Oftentimes it triggers more questions.
The variations in "bichwas" is very interesting. Everything from a curved dagger, to the same blade on a loop, to double blades on a loop, to a knuckle-duster style handle with the dagger blade, to a set of bagh-nakh claws on the loop... My feeling is that the variants must have been more an issue of personal preference rather than regional taste? ... or would it be both?
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Old 29th June 2009, 07:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KuKulzA28
Thanks Atlantia. You mention a double blade-inflicted wound may be harder to patch up. But Jim says the double blade is a possible hindrance for penetration. Would this suggest that those who used double-bladed bichwas tended to slash (like Jim suggested of the Marathas), and the lead blade would make the initial cut, and the second would follow to deepen the wound...?

Thanks Jim. I appreciate the info-packed response and the encouragement.
The old posts are a great reservoir of information, and usually, even if they have topics not directly pertinent to your search, it's very interesting. Oftentimes it triggers more questions.
The variations in "bichwas" is very interesting. Everything from a curved dagger, to the same blade on a loop, to double blades on a loop, to a knuckle-duster style handle with the dagger blade, to a set of bagh-nakh claws on the loop... My feeling is that the variants must have been more an issue of personal preference rather than regional taste? ... or would it be both?


Hi KuKulzA28,
Yes, Jim is entirerly correct. The double blade in this format would hinder penetration, and unless razor sharp in the inside, would 'bunch up' material inbetween the blades.
So saying, a stab would doesn't need to be up to the hilt to cause problems of course, and I don't see this as a weapon meant to kill, more a secondary weapon for disabling or wounding.
I imagine that it would be good for slashing, well raking, as the cuts would be very unlikely to follow the same track continually, rather drawing two ragged cuts probobly very close, at some points parallel, some overlapping, other places falling into sync and cutting deeper.
Thing about two parallel cuts close together is that they are very hard to stitch. Often its simply not possible.
This may mean that a light/moderate wound might keep a fighter from returning to battle, or a wound might be more likely to infect etc.
Also, even stabbing would produce horrible wounds which would be difficult to treat, and would cause similar problems.
Just some thounght, I've never seen a paper on how these were used in battle or even their style of use.
Gene
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Old 29th June 2009, 07:24 PM   #15
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Hi,
Looks as if it could be an effective 'swordcatcher' with some offensive capability.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 29th June 2009, 08:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Hi KuKulzA28,
Yes, Jim is entirerly correct. The double blade in this format would hinder penetration, and unless razor sharp in the inside, would 'bunch up' material inbetween the blades.
So saying, a stab would doesn't need to be up to the hilt to cause problems of course, and I don't see this as a weapon meant to kill, more a secondary weapon for disabling or wounding.
I imagine that it would be good for slashing, well raking, as the cuts would be very unlikely to follow the same track continually, rather drawing two ragged cuts probobly very close, at some points parallel, some overlapping, other places falling into sync and cutting deeper.
Thing about two parallel cuts close together is that they are very hard to stitch. Often its simply not possible.
This may mean that a light/moderate wound might keep a fighter from returning to battle, or a wound might be more likely to infect etc.
Also, even stabbing would produce horrible wounds which would be difficult to treat, and would cause similar problems.
Just some thounght, I've never seen a paper on how these were used in battle or even their style of use.
Gene

Good point about not needing to stab up to the hilt... after all a quick jab-slash (thus stabbing and then causing a big 'departure' wound) would be pretty terrible.. especially if done near the head/neck or the gut... doesn't take a deep stab to hurt the bladder, stomach, liver, throat, eyes, etc.
Also, it's intriguing that this weapon may not be a direct killer... but you might as well have killed the enemy's fighting ability if his body is criss crossed with deep jagged cuts and he is losing blood fast (and will not be able to be healed easily).
I wonder... are double-bladed bichwas usually very sharp on the inside?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi,
Looks as if it could be an effective 'swordcatcher' with some offensive capability.
Regards,
Norman.

I thought the same... though somehow it makes me cringe to think of catching a sword in the small space between the double-blades, especially since the sword is bigger, possibly coming at me.. and the blades are likely to be riveted rather than part of a single solid piece...

then again, if the enemy is occupied with a weapon on your right, you could rush it and trap his sword with the double-bladed bichwa, and then expose the enemy to be killed with your right-handed weapon...

still there's probably better sword-catchers in India, and in Europe and China/Japan there were definitely weapons specifically designed to be able to do so
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