Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 30th October 2006, 08:08 AM   #1
athena
Member
 
athena's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 42
Send a message via MSN to athena
Default Indian Katar

I recently picked it up. Open to comments.
Attached Images
     
athena is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2006, 05:01 PM   #2
Philip
Member
 
Philip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 472
Default

Athena,
It appears to be a good, solid example. From its construction, it appears typical of the style popular in the northern part of India whose weapons culture was strongly influenced by the Mughals over a period of over 3 centuries. The tip is reinforced for penetrating chain mail. The blades on many of these are forged from a fine crystalline damascus steel (poulad jauhar / wootz) but your specimen has so much corrosion on it that you can't tell for sure with it in its current state. Your piece may have been decorated at one time with a gold or silver overlay, either solid or in floral designs. If you look carefully you might be able to see traces of it here and there.

Katars from the southern part of India are often made with the blade as a separate piece, rivetted between a pair of projecting flanges on the front of the hilt. Those types are often richly decorated with deep chiselling and pierced, filigree designs in the iron bars of the handle.

The katar was put in a scabbard that was worn in the sash around the waist. It was usually used in the left hand, with the saber or talwar held in the right. Its purpose was to block an opponent's strikes (to avoid damaging the saber's edge by hitting on another sword), and to thrust into a vulnerable spot in an armor coat. Some fighters used a katar in the right hand and a small shield in the left, for combat in confined areas.

I've seen quite a few katars in museums in China, they are very old, good ones and I think that they may have been brought back as war trophies during the late Qianlong era when Qing troops defeated the Gurkhas in Tibet and marched to Nepal to receive its king's surrender and tributary oath.
Philip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2006, 05:12 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,713
Default

Hi Athena,
It appears you have acquired a good, solid example of an apparantly Mughal fighting or combat grade katar from Indias northwestern regions. It would seem that the age pitting indicates it has been cleaned some time ago and some evidence of recent and minimal surface rust. This is most likely from about mid 19th century to latter.

The form corresponds with an example shown in Stone (fig.434, #2) which also has the twin lobed 'guard' or base of hilt, as well as the twin grips which have the centrally enlarged shape (much as seen on tulwars).
The blade has a centrally ribbed armour piercing cross section as favored in northern regions, and a strikingly similar example to yours appears in "Islamic Arms & Armour of Muslim India" (Dr.S Haider, Lahore, 1991) on p.207. This example, much more ornate, dates 1801, and suggests the form was among those favored by the Mughals. It would seem quite plausible that this form hilt, in basic form, would have been produced to supply warriors in the ranks of Mughal forces who often included Rajputs and other tribes.

The form also appears in Dr. G.N.Pant ("Indian Arms & Armour", New Delhi, 1980) in fig.#505. Interestingly, Pant notes that the proper term for the dagger we know as the 'katar' is actually 'jemadhar'. He explains that the term was misapplied by Egerton in what may have been transcribing error in his 1880 work, and that the etymology of the jemadhar term is actually 'jam' (= Sk. yama, god of death) and 'dhar' (=sharp edge, tooth) thus , tooth of the god of death (Pant, op.cit. p.163).

It is always extremely hard to date examples of Indian weapons as the forms persisted with very subtle change for many years, and the constant geopolitical flux on the subcontinent created the persistant diffusion that confounds definitive identification in so many cases. Your example seems to be consistant though with what I have described.

Nice example, thank you so much for sharing it. I am always grateful for those who contribute on the weapons of India as there is so much more work to be done on the research.

All the best,
Jim
Jim McDougall is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2006, 05:22 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,713
Default

Hello Philip,
Im glad to see you posting on this one!!! and especially glad for the perspective and fascinating material you always include! I hadn't thought of the possibility of decoration having been lost off this example, especially in light of the very ornate Mughal example that appears in Haider.
Do you agree with the Pant discussion on the jamadhar term? He seems to present good evidence, but of course since the term katar has become commonly used it would seem counterproductive to try to revise it.

All best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 31st October 2006, 06:11 AM   #5
Philip
Member
 
Philip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 472
Default terminology

Hi, Jim
Thanks for the detailed writeup on this one. I don't have any bone to pick with Dr. Pant's terminology, in fact I've encountered this explanation elsewhere (can't remember where at moment) so it's corroborated. I agree with you that "everyone" is so used to the term "katar" that to campaign to change the common usage may be a comparable to that Greek fellow's trying to roll the boulder up the hill every day...

By the way, do you have E. J. Paul's ARMS AND ARMOUR: TRADITIONAL WEAPONS OF INDIA? Nice introductory volume, isn't it? Wonderfully illustrated. Not as academic a volume as Rawson's classic THE INDIAN SWORD, but very accessible to the general reader and beginning collector.
Philip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st October 2006, 11:58 AM   #6
Andrew
Vikingsword Staff
 
Andrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,725
Default

Great discussion, guys. Many thanks.
Andrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2006, 04:06 PM   #7
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,420
Default

Hi Athena,

Thanks for showing you katar.

You should however try to clean is a bit, how much is up to you, as we all have different preferences as to how we would like out weapons to present themselves. Should you need help when cleaning it, please make a search for cleaning/etching.

Donít you have any comments at all?

Jens
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2006, 01:06 AM   #8
athena
Member
 
athena's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 42
Send a message via MSN to athena
Default

Hi Philip,

Thanks very much for your comments. I can tell the whole steel is very good. It's tip is quite sharp and maneating, one might guess how it would penetrate the chain mail and the vulnerable spot in an armor coat.

However, it looks very different from normal Chinese weapons. Only the length and part of functions are similar to short weapons, or other weapons.

Athena
Attached Images
  
athena is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2006, 01:27 AM   #9
athena
Member
 
athena's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 42
Send a message via MSN to athena
Default

Hi Jim,

Also thank you for your time.

Now and again, I come across alien weapons at market, I think that's the result of culture amalgamation, which relates to many historical events.
athena is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2006, 01:32 AM   #10
athena
Member
 
athena's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 42
Send a message via MSN to athena
Default

Hi Jens,

I tried to clean it, but the steel seems too hard.
athena is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2006, 03:31 PM   #11
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,420
Default

Hi Athena,

There must be a misunderstanding, the katar is pure Indian, not Chinese. The earliest description I know of, is from around 1330, written by Ibn Battuta/Batula or several other ways of spelling his name.

Jens
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 02:53 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.