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Old 6th June 2021, 04:19 PM   #1
Interested Party
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Default Kerala Kard?

The question of the etiquette in reviving a topic that hasn't been spoken of in a bit is always interesting. I have decided the best way is to link the old threads to the new one giving us a common point to embark from.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ht=kerala+kard

These relatively common knives seem to get little attention in literature or our forum. Characterized by a forward curving blade (slightly reminiscent of a kukri), a T-spine stabilizing a thin cross section below, brazed metal bolsters, and riveted scale handles with a parrot head pommel. The form seems to be a blade of the common man. Is the thin cross section of the blade to aid in slicing or for economy to save iron and steel? Was it more of a utility knife or a weapon? To me many examples look to be cut orientated, but the T-spine seems to disagree with this analysis. On the other hand the thin edge of the self guard would be less than comfortable if any resistance was encountered and one's full weight was being applied to the thrust.

Maybe the lack of bling has contributed to their obscurity. I have a couple of these blades, more or less in excavated condition, sitting around because I have always been curious about their construction methods. The cambered blade style is a shape I have experimented with off and on over the years as a utility knife. I wondered if any forum members had information about these knives? Are they a relatively new form (19th century)? Does anyone know of source material concerning them? Stone's glossary hasn't yielded much information on this subject. Is the name Kerala kard still current? Since the style is supposedly southern Indian; is kard a Persian word correct or is it an anglicization or derivative of khad, Sanskrit meaning "to cut" (Elgood, Hindu Arms and ritual" P. 258 Piha-Kaetta)? If the blade recurves does it become a pesh kabaz?

Thanks,
IP
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Last edited by Interested Party; 6th June 2021 at 11:24 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 7th June 2021, 01:55 PM   #2
Ian
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IP,

These are indeed interesting knives. However, there has been debate for some time as to whether many of the knives shaped like your example are indeed from Kerala or whether they come from northern India, notably Rajastan. It seems likely that both areas have similar knives, and whether this is a case of co-evolution or one area introducing into the other has not been resolved as far as I know.

Perhaps one way to judge this is to look online at the numbers of similar old knives in "excavated condition" coming from sellers in Rajastan versus those said to be from Kerala. Overwhelmingly, those offered come from sellers in northern India. The T-spine on these knives might fit with a more northern pattern also.

I would agree that these are mainly work knives, and the recurved edge aids with both slicing and chopping. However, not all of the Kerala knives are work tools--there are some fancy examples with silver hilts and nice sheaths.
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Old 7th June 2021, 07:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
These are indeed interesting knives. However, there has been debate for some time as to whether many of the knives shaped like your example are indeed from Kerala or whether they come from northern India, notably Rajastan..... The T-spine on these knives might fit with a more northern pattern also....I would agree that these are mainly work knives, and the recurved edge aids with both slicing and chopping. However, not all of the Kerala knives are work tools--there are some fancy examples with silver hilts and nice sheaths.
Ian, you are right about Rajasthan and the T-spine. The northern influence would also make the word "kard" more logical. Sometimes I forget what I know.

As far as items online in "excavated" condition I always wonder how many are old and how many have been soaked in a corrosive bath. Then again go into any barn and items such as these can be found in whatever pattern that region uses. The recurved example that I posted had been used as a wedge at some point.
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Old 7th June 2021, 09:19 PM   #4
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Please, look at Elgood's book, he has two or three pages about these knives and from North India...
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