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Old 22nd September 2021, 10:08 PM   #31
Ian
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Saracen,

That's an interesting thought. Any ideas as to which social or ethnic groups in India may have used the khanjarli? That could help point us in a certain direction to look for images.
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Old 22nd September 2021, 11:49 PM   #32
Jim McDougall
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If I may, not to detract from the banter, and following Ian in returning to objectivity, I think possibly this entire situation is partly 'name game' and partly a variant form from one to another.

In Pant (1980) he notes the 'KHANJARLI' (p.179) and that Egerton has wrongly termed several 'kanjarli' (502-505) and pictured with the lunette pommels as khanjhars.
In checking Egerton however, it is as noted, but 500,501 ARE described as Khanjharli, but not pictured.

In searching old posts here, I found one which had a chilanum grouping, but one had a lunette ivory pommel instead of the flared 'arms' type. With that I thought perhaps this is a variation.
As 'khanjharli' does not appear in the index or glossary in "Hindu Arms & Armor", Robert Elgood, 2004............I had not found this, but looking back at the chapter on Vijaranagaram there it was..........p.179:

Chilanum and khanjharli, with notes that the form probably evolved in Vijayanagara with Maratha conquests in Orissa. Orissa, known for elephants may have presented the ivory to be used to form the lunette style hilts. The lunette form pommel is seen in Deccani dagger types (also seen in Elgood, p.175).

The chilanum is typically regarded as a Maratha originated dagger (some suggest Nepal but that may be from diffusion northeast) . While Pant suggests Hindu origins, perhaps that is due to the Vijayanagara examples of chilanum.

Clearly terminology, influences and diffusion of styles add more confusion to the identification of weapon forms and the semantics in describing them.
The image of the Sikh warrior in the original post, may have had the term khanjarli used to describe what we know as a chilanum. ....due to the case noted.
If he was in the Deccan, where these daggers (chilanum) were well known, the term khanjarli may have inadvertantly been used to describe a chilanum, although not the variant 'khanjarli' >..a word known to the photographer or others captioning the photo.

As far as finding a warrior of cultural region wearing these recurved, lunette pommel daggers.....look to art work from Vijayanagara 17th century, and Marathas there.....specifically Orissa, also in Madras, c. 1758, (as per Zarkoe Selo cat. p.276) an example from Arkati.


I hope this helps.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 07:27 AM   #33
Ian
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Thanks Jim, for your very helpful and informative response.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 06:00 PM   #34
Saracen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Saracen,

That's an interesting thought. Any ideas as to which social or ethnic groups in India may have used the khanjarli? That could help point us in a certain direction to look for images.
No, Ian. It was an insight. Or, if you like, a hypothesis within the framework of a hypothetico-deductive model of research, which is still waiting for its confirmation or refutation.
To do this, now everyone can attach their deduction to this hypothesis.

Last edited by Saracen; 23rd September 2021 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 06:24 PM   #35
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Thanks Jim, for your very helpful and informative response.
Thank you Ian.
I have found more toward the Vijayanagara connection from a query on this I relayed to a personal friend who is an established authority on Indian arms. He notes that finding artwork such as miniatures which might have such a depiction from the south is unlikely as this type of art was more peculiar to the north. Also the obscurity of this particular weapon compounds the problem.

He does however point out that the 'khanjarli' as a dagger was emplaced as a gift on two (perhaps more) occasions in the 19th c. by Maharajahs of Vijayanagara, in one case to Prince of Wales, the other to a British general. Presumably this may have been the source of Egerton's references, but have not looked further.
These events and Egerton may have been the sources for the references which claim the khanjarli is of Hindu origin and from Vijaranagara.

The age of these seems suggested from the 18th c. and that seems likely. That these were presented by Maharajahs to British figures in the 19th c simply reflects that these were weapons deemed worthy of such presentation even if much earlier examples.

As I have shown in my earlier post, the khanjarli appears to have been a variation of the Maratha chilanum with the ivory lunette as a pommel which came into regions of Orissa in their incursions. This is clearly shown in Elgoods" Hindu Arms and Ritual" as noted with an ivory lunette pommeled example among other 'chilanum'.

This again, is the reason the Sikh in the original post was 'supposed' to have a khanjarli, it referred to the chilanum clearly seen in his sash.

After this research, I was furnished the attached photo from another personal friend, which is a remarkable find to say the least! He indicates this image is from Pondicherry, a location in these regions on the eastern side of India, c. 1838.

Again the plate of Chilanum from Elgood. It would seem that the khanjarli developed into a slightly smaller weapon perhaps leading to the term with suffix 'li' which I think may be a diminutive of 'khanjhar' ?
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Old 23rd September 2021, 08:08 PM   #36
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Jim,
It is a khanjarli.
Not only the lunette, but also the grip are covered in ivory plates.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 08:59 PM   #37
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After this research, I was furnished the attached photo from another personal friend, which is a remarkable find to say the least! He indicates this image is from Pondicherry, a location in these regions on the eastern side of India, c. 1838.
Dear Jim
Thanks so much for this awesome image!
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Old 23rd September 2021, 10:29 PM   #38
Ian
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Saracen's earlier comment about the khanjarli possibly being associated with a certain social group seems to be on target. Jim has pointed, through his friends' comments, to the presentation of khanjarli to distinguished foreigners, and the picture of the gentleman from Pondicherry indicates someone of wealth. So it appears the khanjarli might have been a prestigious item in its day. We seem to be generating more hypotheses to be tested.


Thanks to Jim and Saracen for their insightful ideas and information.
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Old 15th October 2021, 07:19 PM   #39
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I thought I’d add a little related information, as this photo has just come up for auction with the following description:

“A Nihang bodyguard serving in the Nizam of Hyderabad's irregular Sikh army
India, Hyderabad, by William Willoughby Hooper (1837–1912) and George Western (1837–1907), circa 1865
albumen print, in mount
190 x 148 mm.
Footnotes:
Provenance
Formerly in the collection of M. & Mme Horvat.
Private UK collection.

Another print of this image appeared in the exhibition Empire, Faith and War: The Sikhs and World War One, Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London, July-September 2014; and that same print has been published in A. Singh Madra, P. Singh, Warrior Saints: Four Centuries of Sikh Military History, vol. 1, London 2013 (front cover); and in D. Toor, In Pursuit of Empire: Treasures from the Toor Collection of Sikh Art, London 2018, pp. 264-265.

The two photographs presented here (lots 325 and 326), taken in the princely state of Hyderabad in the Deccan, could arguably rank among the most mesmerising photographic portraits ever taken anywhere in the world. Although little by way of documentation comes down to us, it can be readily surmised that these warriors were members of the Sikh community located in Central India and connected with Takht Hazoor Sahib, the final resting place of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

Separated from the traditional Sikh heartlands of Punjab by hundreds of miles, the proud Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib steadfastly maintained ancient practices and manners that were largely lost to their northern compatriots, who had lost their fiercely independent nature after having come under British rule in the mid-19th century.

Among the Deccani Sikhs, one of the most beguiling characters to make an appearance is Maharaja Chandu Lal (1766–1845). For over four decades beginning in the first half of the 19th century, this diminutive bookkeeper, who rose to become virtual dictator of the Muslim-ruled state of Hyderabad, stands out as Takht Hazoor Sahib's single-most important patron many years before Maharaja Ranjit Singh took a keen interest in the Guru's Deccani legacy. Chandu Lal's interactions with Sikh warriors, who he employed in his personal bodyguard as well as irregular troops responsible for local policing and revenue collection, provides a fascinating insight into a little-known aspect of Sikh history.
In 1858, not long after Chandu Lal's death, one of the photographers of our work, William Hooper, arrived in India and joined the 7th Madras Cavalry just after the Sepoy Uprising was quelled. As a young lieutenant he became known as an enthusiastic and competent amateur photographer. In 1862, he was released from military duties to allow him to contribute to The People of India project, a monumental, eight-volume catalogue of ethnic, racial and caste types of the subcontinent. He was transferred to the 4th Cavalry, Saugor and Secunderabad, where he devoted himself for the next four years almost exclusively to acquiring and taking portraits of the peoples of the Central Provinces of India. These, like our portraits, were taken against a plain cloth backdrop and are distinctive for the intensity of the subjects' expression and the immediacy of their presence.
Hooper worked in collaboration with a Madras army veterinary surgeon, George Western, in the 1860s and together they achieved some commercial success with their firm Hooper and Western.
The present prints are two of only three known to have come onto the art market in the past three decades.


The intense stare of this fearsome and prodigiously armed Sikh of the Nihang ('Crocodile') order, coupled with his curled-up moustachios, gives him the singular air of energy and vigour characteristic of his warrior creed.

The unnamed warrior grips a double-edged khanda sword in his right hand, and in his left he holds a ball and chain flail (kamand-karora). Tucked in his cummerbund is an all-steel South Indian dagger (chillanum). His other weapons include a hide shield (dhal), a talwar sword and a pistol (tamacha), the butt of which is visible under his left arm. His peculiarly tied battle-turban is fortified with an array of razor-sharp steel quoits, miniature blades, crescents and steel chains.

Philip Meadows Taylor, a British officer who served in Hyderabad in the 1850s, gave the following description of the Akali-Nihangs ('Immortal Crocodiles'), presumably from his own personal experience: 'It is only in the native states, at Hyderabad in the Deccan, for instance, where the Akalees in all their pristine fierceness and defiance of order are to be met with; and their wild figures when in the company with bands of their own countrymen who serve as soldiers, are always very remarkable.' (See J. F. Watson & J. W. Kaye, The People of India: a Series of Photographic Illustrations, with Descriptive Letterpress, of the Races and Tribes of Hindustan, 8 vols., London 1868-75, vol. 4, p. 225.)

The bands of soldiers referred to were the Jama'iat-i-Sikhan ('Assemblage of Sikhs'), an irregular force of purely Sikh troops established at the beginning of the nineteenth century by the Nizam of Hyderabad's minister, Maharaja Chandu Lal. He had achieved the high office of deputy diwan (finance minister) in 1809 through the influence of the state's British resident. Well aware of his precarious position in a hostile court, this devotee of Guru Nanak wasted no time or expense in hiring a large personal bodyguard recruited from the thriving colony of Sikhs at Nanded. Chandu Lal was its single-most important patron.

Besides serving as his bodyguards, especially against the Arab and Rohilla mercenaries inhabiting the region, the Jama'iat-i-Sikhan collected revenue from uncooperative landlords and suppressed local rebellions. This tradition was continued by Chandu Lal's successors, all of whom occupied his political office for the remainder of the 19th Century.”

Last edited by Silver John; 15th October 2021 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 15th October 2021, 11:30 PM   #40
Jim McDougall
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Thank you so much for this thorough and fascinating information. I know I appreciate this kind of detail for further research, and that you took the time to compile all of this and present it here.
This will be extremely helpful to anyone researching the Sikhs as well as these distinctly unique daggers.
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