Gold overlaid punch dagger (katar)
The triangular blade has a watered-steel centre with polished steel edges and slightly reinforced point. There are raised gold flower motifs at both sides of the forte. The hilt of iron has gilt in trellis pattern throughout; it is of an H shape with two slender, straight arms attached to the double baluster-shaped grip. In between the double grip are two gilded vine shapes that connects the two grips at the thinnest points. Rubies arranged in the shapes of three-, four-, five- and seven-petal flowers are set in the arms and the grip of the hilt.
This type of punch dagger originated in the sixteenth century in the Indian region and remained a popular style of accessory for armed men in India for several centuries. They were depicted in manuscript paintings between the sixteenth and nineteenth century. This particular dagger was most likely produced in the eighteenth century as the raised flower motif at the forte and the fine decorations at the hilt can be best compared to katars from the eighteenth century (e.g. Cats. 192 and 193, The Furusiyya Art Foundation).
Comparative Material & Reference:
Folsach, Kjeld von, Joachim Meyer, and Peter Wandel. Fighting, Hunting, Impressing – Arms and Armour from the Islamic World 1500-1850. Copenhagen: Strandberg Publishing, 2021. Cats.41, 100, 101, 127 and 128.
The Arts of the Muslim Knight: The Furusiyya Art Foundation Collection. Milano: New York: Skira, 2008. Cats.192 and 193.