Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   A katar is a katar till...... (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=24990)

Jens Nordlunde 30th May 2019 03:40 PM

A katar is a katar till......
 
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This is not an invitation to start a new 'game of the name', but I find it interesting all the same.
In Arms and Jewellery of the Indian Muguhuls by Abdul Aziz a plate with weapons is shown from A' in-i-Akbari (Akbar r. 1556-1605) - see the plate below. In this case it is nos. 5, 10 and 11 which is of interest. The text to these three numbers goes like this.
No 5 jamdhar, no 10 narsingh-moth 8 (according to Blochmann, in the plate the name is pesh-kabz) and no 11 katara.


All three we would happily call katars, but in the 16th century things seem to have been more complicated. It is interesting to see how little a weapon had to change before the name changed - especially when it comes to nos 10 and 11.
Pant wrote that a katar is not a katar, it is a jamdhar, and this seems to be correct, but only when it looks loke no 5.
Maybe it was Egerton, or maybe not, who 'collected' all there different daggers, and used the name katar.
As we dont know all the different names used for these daggers, my suggestions is, that we go on using the names katar/jamdhar and no other names, as it will only make the confusion bigger.

ariel 30th May 2019 06:48 PM

Perfect example!

No doubt, old Hindus had some reasons to use different names for these apparently identical weapons, but we do not know whether this was due to linguistics, location, personal moniker, some feature that we cannot identify or anything else.
If in the future we manage to find out the reason, we may have to re-assess our current approach. Till then, katar is good enough for me, and the obsession with blindly subdividing 3 objects into five distinct groups may well be abandoned. Let's stop the madness.

Jens Nordlunde 31st May 2019 03:53 PM

Yes Ariel, the reasons for all the different names can be many.
Although Babur only ruled in India from 1526 to 1530 Baburnama tell us, that he amongst other things gave katars/jamdhars as gifts. Quite unusual, as he must have 'adoptet' the katar quickly, or it would not have been mentioned, and strange as other countries did not seem to think highly about the katar.
Another interesting thing is, that in the drawing is shown one katar with a straight blade, but two katars with a curved blade. To day the katars with a straight blade are found like 'sand at the sea', but curved bladed katars are rare.

Jim McDougall 31st May 2019 08:45 PM

Jens I very much agree with the approach you are taking to this virtual nonsense which often evolves with the dreaded 'name game' which seems to evolve in discussions here often over as many years as I can recall.

What it amounts to is that as you and I have agreed over as many years, it is important to serious researchers on arms to be aware of the alternate terms for weapons used in the vernaculars and parlance of the people who actually used them.
This is because if we are relying on contemporary narratives and accounts, or translated resources, we must know such terms to be sure we are reading about the same weapon we are researching. Without some sort of cross reference or thesaurus of terms for these weapons, especially by dialect, region or period, accurate investigation is useless.

I can recall being told by a key ethnographic researcher on Indonesian weapons, often the same weapon can be called by different terms almost 'by village'. Exaggerated perhaps, but the same dilemma applies often and widely.

I think that using an accepted term used pretty much universally in the vernacular of students of arms, with 'katar' a prime example, it is probably not only acceptable but advisable that it remain the same. This is so we can be sure semantically that we are talking about the same weapon.
The only thing I would hope would be accepted is that some sort of footnote or cross reference could be established as part of the alternate terms for other serious researchers.
For general conversation obviously, there is no such need. I simply often place such terms in parenthesis for such convenience, but clearly many people think it is too much info.

Jens Nordlunde 1st June 2019 09:42 PM

This is not only about the names - it is also about the kater types, with a straight blade or a curved blade.

ariel 2nd June 2019 12:45 AM

Well, Jens is correct as usual: perhaps straight-bladed and curved katars were called differently. We just do not know, and I for one would like to.

Nihl 4th June 2019 09:01 PM

I agree with Ariel, it's definitely interesting that we have a few odd names (categories) that have survived to today, yet no native terms to distinguish straight and curved katars, even though arguably one of the most basic variations you could make to a katar (blade-wise) is to give it a curved blade.

For reference purposes, the surviving, clearly defined terms I've found are:
Bara Jamdadu - a "hooded" katar
Pattani Jamdadu - a katar with a long, straight (pata-style) blade
Jamdhar Sehlicaneh - a katar with a three pointed blade
Jamdhar Doulicaneh - a katar with a two pointed blade
All of these are recorded by Egerton, along with a number of other weird terms, however the ones listed above are the only ones with clear definitions that seem to have lasted, being reproduced by numerous publications since.

Just some observations. :)

Jim McDougall 5th June 2019 01:36 PM

Curved 'katar' (jamadhar)
 
While this thread was not intended to address the ever contentious 'name game' which ever plagues any serious student of arms study, the Indian 'katar' dagger serves as the perfect analogy, as Jens well illustrates.

As often noted on these pages, the use of the term katar to describe these transverse grip daggers was apparently inadvertently transposed by Egerton (1880) to describe these, when in actuality they were termed 'jamadhar'. This is pointed out by Pant (1980).

As noted, it seems Egerton also used a number of compounded descriptive terms for variations of 'jamadhar' with unusual features, such as multiple blades, or points actually as the blades are cut to create them.

Pant, in his quest to use descriptive terminology to classify Indian weaponry, has in many cases followed suit by compounding the weapon form term with qualifying descriptive terms. While it seems many of these as well as other terms in other weapons may be soundly applied based on his research, many such as the classifications of tulwar hilts for example, seem arbitrarily placed.

Returning to 'jamadhars' (katars) for example, on p.171, Pant illustrates one which has a curious spear (or arrow) point, which seems odd for a dagger.
He does not list any particular name or term for this anomaly, however on p.51. he describes a khanda with this kind of tip (like an arrowhead or lance) as a 'shulagra' (presumably based on shula (=lance). He further compounds the term using places other examples are known added to the shulagra term.

This 'system' of creating compounded terms as well as seemingly arbitrarily placed terms on weapon variations creates a climate of confusion in attempting to determine classifications which appear separate, but in reality are simply variations of certain weapon forms.

These kinds of creative terminology, along with simple transposing or semantics, have unintentionally led to the classification dilemmas and conundrums arms researchers constantly face in study of ethnographic arms.

Having said all this, with regard to the curved katar, this apparently rarely used type blade, while mentioned in Pant (p.170, examples 482, 498. 527) does not seem to warrant a descriptive term.

I have known Jens Nordlund for nearly 20 years, and in that time, have had the opportunity to follow along in his specialized study of the katar, and his amazing collecting of them. I am unaware of anyone with the knowledge on this weapon form that parallels his. If Jens does not know a term for this apparent anomaly on the katar, then I would say, one does not exist.

It is my impression that the katar (again using the common parlance term) was a primarily thrusting weapon. The idea of having these with multiple points or blades is baffling, unless these were intended as perhaps left hand daggers to ensnare opponents blades (as with the spring loaded expanding blades).

The idea of a katar with a curved blade seems equally puzzling, unless it was intended for slashing cuts. Rajputs had chilanum like daggers with jambia like curved blades called khapwah (Elgood, 2004, 16.2, p.163), and as the katar was known of course in the north, possibly curved blades were simply mounted as per personal preference. A convention of curved blade use does not seem to be the case, and likely more a one off anomaly.

ariel 5th June 2019 09:09 PM

BTW,
Describing a dagger in his Jaipur book, Elgood casually mentions that it would be called Ch’hura by Rajputs , but that Muslims would called it Khapwa.

Many weapons from tat area have there own names, but on closer look those are reflecting not any specific construction, but rather different ethnicity/ language of the owner.

Mercenary 7th June 2019 04:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
In Arms and Jewellery of the Indian Muguhuls by Abdul Aziz a plate with weapons is shown from A' in-i-Akbari (Akbar r. 1556-1605)

This is a fantasy picture from A' in-i-Akbari edition of late 19th. Like the inscriptions on it
:(

Mercenary 7th June 2019 04:56 PM

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Nihl
Jamdhar Sehlicaneh - a katar with a three pointed blade
Jamdhar Doulicaneh - a katar with a two pointed blade

Thank you. Very well.

Jim McDougall 7th June 2019 10:55 PM

Again, these 'katars' (jamadhars, whatever) with often innovative blades such as one point, two point, spring loaded expanding blades, spear/arrow point etc. leave me wondering......just HOW were these supposed to be used?

While the standard methods of slashing cuts, or the thrust (often katar is termed a punch dagger)...seem possible with a normal katar blade, these other anomalies seem to defy logical use methods.

The idea of the spring loaded expanding blades worsening a wound is not feasible typically as it could not expand within the body in any degree, at least as I have understood.
The double or triple points would impair penetration overall, and multiple blades would be even worse for either slash or thrust.

So I wonder just what these unusually bladed weapons were intended for?

ariel 8th June 2019 01:44 AM

An equivalent of bling-bling for gullible travelers?

In the Old City of Jerusalem one can buy aluminum cans with “ The air that Jesus breathed”, bottles of water from the very same spot in the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized etc.

A sucker is born every minute.

Nihl 8th June 2019 04:26 AM

In regards to how they were used, I think there is no doubt that conventional katars are well documented as being nasty punching (stabbing) weapons. I've thrust (punched) mine into some thick foam before, just for fun, and the "wound channel" that was generated was quite impressive. Just a theory, but curved katars might have been created to capitalize on soldiers that felt more comfortable using the standard style of swinging a weapon in India; keeping the wrist stiff and slashing at an opponent instead of punching/stabbing them. No doubt a curved katar - or even a straight katar - functions (cuts) just like a really small pata. A curved katar might = a better cutting weapon, but any difference in that regard clearly wasn't important enough to create a large amount of them. It's possible that being so out of place in regular society made them not important enough to be named. Though I don't doubt that if you asked an Indian to give a name for a curved katar back in the day they would have just respond with (x) jamdadu/jamdhar. This given the whole thing that the "pattani" of pattani jamdadu - a long straight katar - comes from the (old?) root word "patta", a word used to describe a long, straight blade of grass (I believe Elgood notes this in Hindu Arms&Ritual). I think one of us really just needs to learn Hindi and then we can come up with our own specialized terms for these katars :).

Regarding the actually unusual styles of katar, this is rather puzzling. Personally, I think having a multi-pointed katar (not one with multiple blades, just points cut from a single blade) is actually somewhat viable. Of course the points spread out the force, but assuming one can punch well with a regular katar, the force generated should still be sufficient enough to embed all the points into a target. To get a bit graphic, in regards to getting stuck on things (bone), a regular punch to the chest with a katar would maybe punch through bone, but more likely than not be redirected between the ribs. Depending on the angle and force applied, the widening of the blade could also push apart/cut into/crack nearby ribs, causing further damage. In regards to a katar with multiple points, just imagine the aforementioned, but the blade is wider, and (with a heavy maybe on this one) might be a bit more massive so as to do more percussive/bone-messing-up damage. I suppose realistically, my "thesis" here is just that more points should equal a more graphic, gory wound.

Multiple blades should, in theory, work the same, but with them all being so thin I can see them also being relatively easily damaged.

As a side note on the bifurcated Rajput-style katar (an example being one in Jens' catalouge, pg 134-135), I could see this one as either being an early tourist attraction kind of invention, or, again, a valid type (the construction of the blade - which splits into two only after the forte - seems relatively solid) that could create a more violent wound if used correctly.

"Scissor katars", IMO, are a total joke. Regardless of parrying possibilities, they seem to be so flimsily constructed that it seems to me a hit anywhere on the weapon would disable it's silly "amazing expanding blade action!" It also seems to me that if you want to ever actually use (punch with) a katar, you have to first squeeze the crossbars to adequately hold onto the thing, meaning the blades would always be open; ready to dent, chip, or break off as soon they get hit with an actual weapon.

Mercenary 8th June 2019 08:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
......just HOW were these supposed to be used?

In traditional eastern cultures, daggers are in many ways just status weapons. For war there were muskets, spears and sabers. Daggers were used mainly as clothing item. As well as a lot of items that are now in museum and private collection. Unless, of course, they have not scratches or dried blood stains.
;)

Mercenary 8th June 2019 08:19 AM

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Nihl
Though I don't doubt that if you asked an Indian to give a name for a curved katar back in the day they would have just respond with (x) jamdadu/jamdhar.

Very well again. Thanks.

Mercenary 8th June 2019 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nihl
This given the whole thing that the "pattani" of pattani jamdadu - a long straight katar - comes from the (old?) root word "patta", a word used to describe a long, straight blade of grass (I believe Elgood notes this in Hindu Arms&Ritual). I think one of us really just needs to learn Hindi and then we can come up with our own specialized terms for these katars :)

:( :eek: :mad:
The pata-sword and patta-leaf have different spelling and pronunciation in Hindi, but the same spelling in Persian transcription for Urdu. In any way they are different words with different meanings.

Jim McDougall 8th June 2019 08:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nihl
In regards to how they were used, I think there is no doubt that conventional katars are well documented as being nasty punching (stabbing) weapons. I've thrust (punched) mine into some thick foam before, just for fun, and the "wound channel" that was generated was quite impressive. Just a theory, but curved katars might have been created to capitalize on soldiers that felt more comfortable using the standard style of swinging a weapon in India; keeping the wrist stiff and slashing at an opponent instead of punching/stabbing them. No doubt a curved katar - or even a straight katar - functions (cuts) just like a really small pata. A curved katar might = a better cutting weapon, but any difference in that regard clearly wasn't important enough to create a large amount of them. It's possible that being so out of place in regular society made them not important enough to be named. Though I don't doubt that if you asked an Indian to give a name for a curved katar back in the day they would have just respond with (x) jamdadu/jamdhar. This given the whole thing that the "pattani" of pattani jamdadu - a long straight katar - comes from the (old?) root word "patta", a word used to describe a long, straight blade of grass (I believe Elgood notes this in Hindu Arms&Ritual). I think one of us really just needs to learn Hindi and then we can come up with our own specialized terms for these katars :).

Regarding the actually unusual styles of katar, this is rather puzzling. Personally, I think having a multi-pointed katar (not one with multiple blades, just points cut from a single blade) is actually somewhat viable. Of course the points spread out the force, but assuming one can punch well with a regular katar, the force generated should still be sufficient enough to embed all the points into a target. To get a bit graphic, in regards to getting stuck on things (bone), a regular punch to the chest with a katar would maybe punch through bone, but more likely than not be redirected between the ribs. Depending on the angle and force applied, the widening of the blade could also push apart/cut into/crack nearby ribs, causing further damage. In regards to a katar with multiple points, just imagine the aforementioned, but the blade is wider, and (with a heavy maybe on this one) might be a bit more massive so as to do more percussive/bone-messing-up damage. I suppose realistically, my "thesis" here is just that more points should equal a more graphic, gory wound.

Multiple blades should, in theory, work the same, but with them all being so thin I can see them also being relatively easily damaged.

As a side note on the bifurcated Rajput-style katar (an example being one in Jens' catalouge, pg 134-135), I could see this one as either being an early tourist attraction kind of invention, or, again, a valid type (the construction of the blade - which splits into two only after the forte - seems relatively solid) that could create a more violent wound if used correctly.

"Scissor katars", IMO, are a total joke. Regardless of parrying possibilities, they seem to be so flimsily constructed that it seems to me a hit anywhere on the weapon would disable it's silly "amazing expanding blade action!" It also seems to me that if you want to ever actually use (punch with) a katar, you have to first squeeze the crossbars to adequately hold onto the thing, meaning the blades would always be open; ready to dent, chip, or break off as soon they get hit with an actual weapon.



Well observed Nihl, especially in the detailed and well explained martial aspects in the use of these weapons. While of course, perhaps viewed as 'grim' by some readers, I have seen many physiologically oriented reports and papers concerning the actual use of edged weapons. I think one of the most interesting was in a fencing journal which provided a dramatic perspective on the real nature of duels.

I agree that dual or multiple blades would of course be 'possible' to use as intended, but the skill and strength, not to mention proper dynamics, would be most limited.

In research on the use of notches, and serration on blades, I found that the idea of 'worsening' a wound seems an almost inviable an unnecessary aspect of weapon use. The most consistent focus on this kind of thing was probably the cut vs. thrust debate for cavalry swords in the 18th-19th c.

With notches and serrated edges it seems that the most notable result would typically be the weapon becoming lodged in the wound, and retraction being virtually impossible..much like the barbs in arrows etc. Thus the user becomes without weapon.
With the lance, typical use was to use stabbing with limited penetration rather than impalement for these reasons.

With the dual blade aspect on daggers, it is often held that this is of course toward the famed Dhul i'Faqar sword, but perhaps with that aspect being seen outside others outside the Muslim sphere culturally, the idea of 'if two, why not three, or more' blades may have been the case.
Indian armourers, always vying for patronage of royal and wealthy clients, often created many innovative designs and forms to impress.
These fall into the weapons 'curiosa' category which has given us the firearm and edged weapon combinations and many others.

As Mercenary has well noted, in many Eastern cultures, the dagger is very much a status oriented accoutrement which is worn faithful to tradition even into modern times. I think in many cases these kinds of unique or 'curiosa' weapons were more to 'impress' than as fodder for 'tourists'. These were often difficult to fashion and showed the skill of the armorer and the discerning novelty of the owner's character.

With regard to the terms again, these are simply situational and worthy of note in cross reference, footnote or any means to keep the dialogue well understood in discussion.

Nihl 8th June 2019 10:13 PM

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mercenary
The pata-sword and patta-leaf have different spelling and pronunciation in Hindi...
In any way they are different words with different meanings.

Well, yes, this is inherent in having two different words that mean two different things. Obviously pata-leafs and pata-swords are not interchangeable words, but that doesn't mean that one can't originate from the other.

Further supporting the whole patta/leaf thing, just look at the sosun patta, whose name literally translates to lily leaf, a reflection of the shape of the blade. The pata, it would seem, is the same way. A pata blade looks like a patta leaf, so the weapon came to be called a pata. The oldest phonetic spelling of the word, as per the 1860 Tanjore inventory (shown in Elgood Hindu A&R), is "puttah", which is way closer to "patta", clearly showing the transition between the two - or at least that's my take on it :).

Either way, at least with the sosun patta, it's clear that swords could be given leaf-based names. All I'm arguing is that it's the same with the pattani jamdadu, which shows, in turn, that names can be "customizable" i.e. changed based on the characteristics of the blade/form or the weapon.
Pattani = pata/patta, a long straight blade
Jamdadu = a punch dagger (katar)
Pattani Jamdadu = a punch dagger with a long straight blade

Attached is a silly collage of definitions from Elgood, with the relevant bits highlighted. From Hindu Arms & Ritual and Rajput Arms & Armour, Vol II.

Also, to Jim, I totally agree with your assessment (of my assessment lol), but don't have anything to add at the moment.

Mercenary 9th June 2019 12:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nihl
Well, yes, this is inherent in having two different words that mean two different things. Obviously pata-leafs and pata-swords are not interchangeable words, but that doesn't mean that one can't originate from the other.

Further supporting the whole patta/leaf thing, just look at the sosun patta, whose name literally translates to lily leaf, a reflection of the shape of the blade. The pata, it would seem, is the same way. A pata blade looks like a patta leaf, so the weapon came to be called a pata. The oldest phonetic spelling of the word, as per the 1860 Tanjore inventory (shown in Elgood Hindu A&R), is "puttah", which is way closer to "patta", clearly showing the transition between the two - or at least that's my take on it :).

Either way, at least with the sosun patta, it's clear that swords could be given leaf-based names. All I'm arguing is that it's the same with the pattani jamdadu, which shows, in turn, that names can be "customizable" i.e. changed based on the characteristics of the blade/form or the weapon.
Pattani = pata/patta, a long straight blade
Jamdadu = a punch dagger (katar)
Pattani Jamdadu = a punch dagger with a long straight blade

Attached is a silly collage of definitions from Elgood, with the relevant bits highlighted. From Hindu Arms & Ritual and Rajput Arms & Armour, Vol II.

It is need to use Elgood's glossary very carefully. And descriptions of items too. :(

Sauasan. Arabic. Sword-leaf-forest. Very good stories for gentlemen in pith helmets :)

I met term "sosan" used for such a kind of sword but only in the second half of the 19th. Not early.

I still think (this is just my guess for now) that "lily leaf" it was rather very good a name for ONE famous sword of ONE famous person. The name which was once called in the presence of gentleman.

Sosan-patta sword it is very interesting theme for research and no one has done this yet. Theme for research but not for superficial reflections or definition. Not everything that can be written on forums should be published in books.

Mercenary 9th June 2019 12:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nihl
Well, yes, this is inherent in having two different words that mean two different things. Obviously pata-leafs and pata-swords are not interchangeable words, but that doesn't mean that one can't originate from the other.

One never could be originated from the other.
It is in English "pata" and "patta" sound the same. Because in English there are only one character (and sound) "t". These words have different characters, sounds and the roots of the word: patta-leaf has root "flat", pata-sword has root related to "to strike".

ariel 9th June 2019 03:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mercenary
... in English there are only one character (and sound) "t".

Not a good example: “ t” is pronounced differently in tank, mother, matter, notion , theater ( two different sounds), thistle ( one is altogether silent), thus, city, natural, not pronounced at all, and then there are other blasted exceptions:-)

G.B. Shaw quipped that the word “fish” should be written “ghoti”: gh as in “enough”, o as in “women” and sh as in “mention”.

I strongly suspect that multiple languages of India have their peculiar phonetic differences, rules and exceptions.

Mercenary 9th June 2019 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ariel
Not a good example: “ t” is pronounced differently in tank, mother, matter, notion , theater ( two different sounds), thistle ( one is altogether silent), thus, city, natural, not pronounced at all, and then there are other blasted exceptions:-).

Thanks a lot. As I can see it is impossible to originate word "matter" from "mother". That's the point.

Jim McDougall 9th June 2019 05:09 PM

Nihl, , Im very glad we agree on my assessment of your assessment :) and to the rest of this discourse, I always find these linguistic and transliterations romps entertaining and often interesting.

However I disagree with your use of the word 'silly' in describing any reference by Robert Elgood.
I would acknowledge that perhaps, as with any published author, material could be scrutinized for its content, however I have never known an author who has researched and painstakingly assembled the huge corpus of important data on the subjects he has chosen with the determination he has. He has done so not as a money making venture, but because he has a sincere passion for the study of the arms topics he has chosen.

He has done so by spending much, if not most, of his life 'in the field' to accomplish this research, and all the while working to navigate the treacherous waters of the 'name game' which is the bane of serious arms researchers. ….he has given us the books which have become our guides .
It takes great courage and stamina to accomplish these quests, and as with everything in study, I would regard his work with every measure of respect. Most authors will acknowledge there may be flaws or outright errors in their work, and rather expect and appreciate correction, but deserve respect for all else which recognizes the sound achievements they have presented to us.

I admire the knowledge and linguistic skills of the wordsmiths here, and learn a lot from the entries, but I think in critique, better words could be chosen accordingly.

Having said that, thank you again along with Mercenary for the interesting and detailed entries pertaining to these terms, and I very much agree that the 'sosun pattah' (or whatever it is properly termed) would be a form deserving more thorough investigation. I always welcome the results of group interaction in useful discussions as we have often had here, and agree that such material is not necessarily publishable as is, but certainly gives the content that leads to publication.
To publish takes some pretty 'thick skin', but as I was once told by a very well known author, "...Jim, ignore the critics, most of them have never published anything , just write and as best as you can, tell the people what they need to know".

ariel 9th June 2019 05:42 PM

Elgood did his best trying to transcribe words of one language into another. This is a difficult and thankless task that is opening the “transcriber” to criticisms . I have no idea how the Indian words sound and what would be the best phonetic rendition of Sosun? Sausun? Sauason? Sossun? On top of that the sound should conform to high-class British English. To his advantage he was doing it while staying in India, surrounded by native speakers and professional linguists.

So, guys, perhaps Jim ‘s comments have a grain of truth, and your sniping criticisms reflect not so much phonetic shortcomings of Elgood’s work, but your limited knowledge of languages? Nothing offensive, that can happen to anyone.

Matter ( as substance) and mother come from the same Sanskrit root “ma”,
And BTW, it was Carl Jung ( who by all accounts was not a dummy) who said that the root matter is the mother of all things.

As to the apparent impropriety of using “leaves” in describing “blades”, please recall that leaves of grass are called blades in English, and Walt Whitman is my witness:-)

Mercenary 9th June 2019 05:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Nihl, ....
However I disagree with your use of the word 'silly' in describing any reference by Robert Elgood.

This was said only about the collage itself, not related to anyone.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
To publish takes some pretty 'thick skin', but as I was once told by a very well known author, "...Jim, ignore the critics, most of them have never published anything , just write and as best as you can, tell the people what they need to know".

Well said. I will copy it if you allow.

Jim McDougall 9th June 2019 06:06 PM

Thank you guys,
Mercenary, my comment suggested that 'any' reference by Robert Elgood, should not be described (however it is deemed by the reader) openly as 'silly'. I am clearly no linguist, but if I must criticize, I try to do so respectfully.
Normally I would not have rebutted such a statement, and I did mean it respectfully, and hope my view is accepted in kind.

Of course you may copy my 'quote', which is not attributed to its true author and paraphrased by me...it has stayed with me with more years than I recall, but I will never forget being told this.

With this I hope my reaction to this element of otherwise well explained and discussed material is not taken the wrong way, but Robert Elgood is a highly respected author, and deserves rebuttal entered along side any critique publicly. I meant no negative impression toward anyone in doing so, so I hope my 'critique' is accepted accordingly.

Nihl 10th June 2019 03:05 AM

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Ah! Jim! So sorry, indeed, as Mercenary said, the "silly" was only meant to describe the collage, not Elgood or his research/writing/books/what-have-you. I added it when, after making the collage, I realized that the effort was rather silly given that I could have just written down the definitions in my post and highlighted specific phrases there. I wasn't at all trying to insult Elgood, and certainly didn't mean to insult you. Super sorry! :o :o

On a different note, I was doing some reading in the old Egerton today (mainly because I got a copy out of my local library that is due at the end of the month), and I noticed a few peculiar things.

The most concrete-ish one is the term used to describe a late (as I understand it) form of katar - the Garsoe katar. I've asked Jens about this type previously (in private messages) and I know that he hasn't got a clue as to the origin of the "garsoe" part. Logically I suppose it was just the local name for the type, but what it actually means is of course the big mysterious part.

Even more curious is that at least twice I've found listings for five-bladed katars! They're described as functioning like regular scissor katars, only with two extra blades! Of course these would mostly only function as extra-special status pieces, but their existence in and of themselves is just, well, curious! I'm pretty sure I've only ever seen three blades on a katar, spring-loaded or otherwise.

Relevant pictures attached.

Back on the topic of leafs and blades and what not, I still hold my position on the pat(t)a leaf/sword name theory. Not intending to offend or provoke, but simply speaking unless a more solid explanation/theory can be given for why the two terms are or aren't related, I'm sticking with my position. It just kinda makes sense to me :shrug:

Jim McDougall 10th June 2019 03:31 AM

Nihl, thank you for the explanation, I totally misunderstood. To extend that, I do not see your efforts here as silly either, in fact pretty well thought out. Interesting further detail on the multi bladed katars, and these, among many Indian weapons have pretty much intrigued and baffled us for more years than I can accurately say.
I think the Garsoe question is quite valid, and admit it has crossed my inquiring mind a number of times but never got too far with it. Now you have me wondering. :)

Jim McDougall 10th June 2019 07:11 PM

The Great 'Garsoe jamadhar' mystery
 
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As Nihl has noted in previous post, the curious 'Garsoe ' katar/jamadhar which appears in Egerton (p.138, fig. 727) image attached, defies any definition as to 'why' it has been given this term, or for that matter, why its sidebars are scrolled or undulating.

As I previously mentioned, Jens has an incredible knowledge of the katar, pretty much unparalleled, and if he has not found an answer, it is so deeply hidden that possible no accurate solution may be discovered.

We know that seemingly, Egerton made the first reference to this form of jamadhar/katar and decribes it as with 'curved side bars' (plate XIV, #727) as a 'garsoee katar'. ...and from Bhuj, Kach.

These regions are in Ghujerat, with Bhuj a major city and Kach (Cutch) also a key province. Sind (now in Pakistan) is situated north of Gujerat and separated from Gujerat by the huge salt marsh known as the Rann of Cutch.

It does seem that these regions have given us another distinct weapon, commonly called elephant sword (for the fixture on the hilt using that figure) but often termed a 'bhuj'. This is a hafted dagger often seen used by Sindhi horsemen(picture attached).

It would seem that this curious curved bar katar was perhaps named for the place from which it is known(or tribe?) given the propensity to term a weapon in that manner (i.e. bhuj).

Whatever the case, the Egerton(1880) term (again) stood and was perpetuated by other writers. This carried to the great conundrum which was discovered by Jens in research he was doing on this about 15 years ago (seen in posts by him in 2006).
In "Contribution a l'Etude des Armes Orientales" ( Holstein, Paris, 1931, vol. I, plate XIII, #19) a curious extremely simple transverse grip dagger is illustrated...….it is attributed as 'GARSOE KATAR' from Bhoudj, Catch, and from the Henri Moser collection in Musee d' Berne.

However the curator of that museum insisted that no such dagger in the collection (now in storage)existed. It does seem that in Holstein another dagger with the curved bars was shown in the plate. Obviously this must have been a captioning error (?).
While not offering a solution to our dilemma, it seems clear that even by 1931, nobody knew what 'garsoe' meant.

Pant (1980) shows a Garsoe in fig. 489, but reference on p.173 simply refers to the illustration, saying it has already been described.

The images:
1) the Holstein (1931) image of a 'katar' described (apparently wrongly) as garsoe katar, #19, plate XIII
2) 1827 map of Sind and Catch (Kutch) in Gujerat, the water area (in appearance in the huge Rann of Kutch salt marsh (seasonal).
3) Sindhi cavalier wielding bhuj knife (from Haider)
4) the Egerton (1880) entry for garsoee katar (#727,)

Nihl 10th June 2019 09:27 PM

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Excellent overview Jim! Unfortunately that summarizes my knowledge of the form as well. I did a little bit of looking around online and found an example that has the more usual two-bar grip instead of a single bar, though it's most likely an outlier and not some big subcategory or anything.

Back to the topic of leafs & blades briefly, my simple contribution is the leaf-bladed sword category itself. This is a style (that I'm sure everyone's familiar with) that is double-edged and has a slightly swollen "belly" or midsection that then tapers back down to a point (like a leaf), found all over the world.

Jim McDougall 11th June 2019 03:56 AM

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Thank you Nihl!
This 'Garsoe' topic has got me going :) and I saw a post of mine from 2012 where I asked (rheotorically) I wonder what that term means?

I found a post by Jens about that time, where he had found a coin from 1871 with an image of a katar with distinctive curved ends on the side bars.
This is atypical for katars (as are the scrolled side bars on 'garsoe'), and the coin is from Nawanagar on the Kathiswar peninsula in Kutch .
It is noted that the suffix 'GAR' (=fort).

In Kathiwar (also in Gujerat) the Kuttee people hsve a key affinity for the katar and regard it as a symbol of honor, to the point that any agreement, oath or contract is signed with the mark of the katar. Any breech of said contract is considered dishonorable and requires 'traga', often simply a cut by the katar but is even more dramatically suicide (seldom carried out).
There are talwars which have a katar marked on the blade, which we presume from these regions.

It would seem that the katar has an unusually key significance in these regions of Kutch in a traditional and symbolic manner, and clearly a certain application of 'design' seems afforded the weaponry there.
The 'garsoe' and this other Kutch form with upturned side guard noted (as pictured) seem to reflect such design features of these regions.

The note on 'GAR' meaning fort gives a clue, that perhaps the design for the garsoe might be attributed to an armory (?) in a local fort in Kutch, where such design was fashioned for someone in the princely retinue, or other person of standing

Going through references, this is what I can find thus far. The entry by Jens where he matched the coin to the shape of the katar hilt illustrates the kind of astute research he carries out on these weapons. Amazing!:)

While speculative, perhaps tenuous, these factors are worth considering.

Mercenary 12th June 2019 06:20 PM

It is very likely that the “garsoe” is a highly distorted “plow-shaped”. Plows which look like a handlebar of Harley-Davidson's chopper are much more common in South India, but even single-lever plows often have a curved handle.

Jim McDougall 12th June 2019 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mercenary
It is very likely that the “garsoe” is a highly distorted “plow-shaped”. Plows which look like a handlebar of Harley-Davidson's chopper are much more common in South India, but even single-lever plows often have a curved handle.

That is a most interesting observation (love the Harley analogy! back in the day they called those 'monkey hangers' on their choppers).
It is true many weapons were formed after various tools and implements, but not sure on these distinctively curved bars being so fashioned.

Im more curious on what in the world 'garsoe' means, and where Egerton got the term. As I noted the suffix 'gar' means fort in dialects in Gujerati areas, but hope linguists here can offer some insights.

Jens Nordlunde 13th June 2019 04:09 PM

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Sorry for the late reply, but I have been away for a few days.
Jim shows a katar and two coins, but it is known that the curwed side guards can be seen in the Hamza - so they go back for centuries.
The katar shown in Holstein and in Jim's post no 31 is a drawing. Only after I pubished the article How Old is the Katar? I found a photo of the katar in Hindu Temple art of Orissa, vol. III by T.E.Donaldson.



I have a funny feeling that Pant used the name Jamdhar like we use the name Katar. To him it seems, as if all these daggers were Jamdhars, although he seems to have added some other dagger to this group - see below.


Studies in Indian Weapons and Warfare, p. 159.

Jim McDougall 13th June 2019 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Sorry for the late reply, but I have been away for a few days.
Jim shows a katar and two coins, but it is known that the curwed side guards can be seen in the Hamza - so they go back for centuries.
The katar shown in Holstein and in Jim's post no 31 is a drawing. Only after I pubished the article How Old is the Katar? I found a photo of the katar in Hindu Temple art of Orissa, vol. III by T.E.Donaldson.



I have a funny feeling that Pant used the name Jamdhar like we use the name Katar. To him it seems, as if all these daggers were Jamdhars, although he seems to have added some other dagger to this group - see below.


Studies in Indian Weapons and Warfare, p. 159.

Jens, welcome back! and as you can see, we have needed you here to facilitate our look into these katars in discussion.
As you note, the curved side bars are quite likely to have existed in other than the 'garsoe' termed versions, and even earlier, however not that I have been aware of, which is the objective of my query, to become aware of others.

The plate you show of these daggers is most telling, and ironically Pant seems to have fallen into the same 'trap' that Egerton did in the 'cross use' of a term. Pant had emphatically rebutted the use of 'katar' for the transverse grip dagger he claims was initiated by Egerton, and actually describes the 'jamadhar' .
Here clearly he includes 'bichwa' and another curious baselard looking dagger which has normally configured hilt with 'H' shape, all as 'jamadhars'.

Given the suggested definition of jamadhar as 'tooth of death' or to that effect, there does not seem to be any qualification to a dagger with a distinctive 'transverse grip'.

Could the inclusion of these other daggers in a plate identified as 'jamadhars' be an editing error with publishers? or was it indeed an interpolation by Pant himself?

Is Pant's effort to rebut Egerton's work perhaps too arbitrary? and possibly the jamadhar term had been more broadly used than thought?
That does seem to be the case with vernacular use of words and terms in many cases, and the name game ever plagues historians.

Mercenary 13th June 2019 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
and possibly the jamadhar term had been more broadly used than thought?

If we try to understand what meant these terms by using secondary sources I can say that this is a completely useless exercise, a waste of time and repeating other people's mistakes.

From an etymological point of view, I already wrote before: in sanskrit "jamdhar" meant just "double edge" weapon. But for thousands of years, not only the form of words, but also their meaning and using often change.

So these are different tasks of trying to understand what Pant or Egerton meant, what did it mean in the 19th century, in the 16th or 10th.

Jim McDougall 13th June 2019 08:05 PM

[QUOTE=Mercenary]If we try to understand what meant these terms by using secondary sources I can say that this is a completely useless exercise, a waste of time and repeating other people's mistakes.

From an etymological point of view, I already wrote before: in sanskrit "jamdhar" meant just "double edge" weapon. But for thousands of years, not only the form of words, but also their meaning and using often change.

So these are different tasks of trying to understand what Pant or Egerton meant, what did it mean in the 19th century, in the 16th or 10th.[/QUOTE





Thank you Mercenary, I had forgotten you had noted that etymology on jamadhar. As you say, words often take on almost entirely different meanings over time and through semantics and sometimes transliterations. In English, I know that many people would be stunned to see words meaning now, as opposed to the archaic meaning.

As you also well note, following secondary sources and beyond in trying to determine etymology and meanings is indeed often futile. But sometimes researchers can use developmental clues in sort of 'reverse engineering' a term which can offer a kind of 'trail'. This is the methodology used in what is known as historical detection, and actually can have productive results.
What is considered a waste of time to many, may be a productive route for some intrepid researchers, more tenacious than many of us.

ariel 13th June 2019 11:39 PM

I would be interested to know the original source of translating “ Jamdhar” from Sanskrit to English as “ double edged dagger”.
Was it a primary source or that of a European visitor concentrating on the appearance of a particular object and using it as a general term?

Indeed, all jamadhars ( katars) are double edged, but so are many other short-, and even long-bladed Indian weapons. Is chillanum a Jamadhar? A Bich’hwa? A Khanda?

Mercenary 14th June 2019 12:10 PM

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Linguistics is an exact science as is mathematics. There is no need to explore unprofessional glossaries and dictionaries, interview modern Indians who have long been speaking a different language.

The Yamuna River is so named because it is the twin sister of the Ganges, because it flows in parallel.
YAM = twin
DHAR - it is "edge" even in Hindi. Up to now.
In Sanskrit was a some different word formation and such a word as "double edged" was possible in it.

How can we study Indian weapons without knowing the basics? Unfortunately we can...


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