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A rock-crystal-hilted khanjar dagger

Number

3321

Origin

North India

Time

17th century (dagger); 18th century (scabbard)

Technique

Steel, silver, rock crystal, wood, velvet

Material

Forging, chiseling, chasing, gilding

Dimensions

Overall length (without scabbard) 415 mm; blade length 289 mm; scabbard length 318 mm

The slightly curved, double-edged blade is made of watered steel with a reinforced tip and two shallow fullers on each side. The base of the blade is a hollow socket to attach the hilt. The forte of the blade is chiseled in relief with a pair of mirror-symmetrically scrolls on each side. The hilt of pistol-grip form is carved from one solid piece of clean rock crystal with relief lotus flowers and foliage at the base. The wooden scabbard covered with red-brown velvet. The silver-gilt scabbard mounts are chased with flowers and foliage in relief. The scabbard locket is fitted with two pairs of small rings.

COMMENT. Indian khanjars are characterized by a pistol-grip hilt and a double-edged, usually double-curved blade. There were various hilt forms, but the simplest and most common was a hilt with a strongly curved, rounded pommel and a symmetrical base formed as a pair of scroll-shaped quillons resembling mustache. The khanjar was extremely popular in Mughal India, where they are apt to be more elaborately decorated than any other type of dagger. The hilts were made of jade, ivory, rock crystal, agate and were frequently studded with precious and semi-precious stones. The scabbards were also richly decorated to match the hilts. Mughal emperors often presented to courtiers expensive daggers as a part of the dress of honour called hilat.

LITERATURE: 1) Сіваченко Є. Холодна зброя Індії XVII-XIX століть із збірки Музею приватних колекцій Олександра Фельдмана: [каталог виставки]. – Харків, 2011. – С. 20; 2) Сиваченко Е. Сталь и Золото: Восточное оружие из собрания Feldman Family Museum = Steel and Gold: Eastern Weapons from the Feldman Family Museum Collection. – Киев, 2019. – С. 452-453, №181.