A jade-hilted khanjar dagger




North India


19th century


Forging, carving, inlaying, gem-setting


Steel, gold, jade, diamonds, rubies, glass, wood, brocade


Overall length (without scabbard) 390 mm; blade length 268 mm; scabbard length 296 mm

The slightly double-curved, double-edged blade is made of watered steel. The forte of the blade on each side is decorated with a gold koftgari floral cartouche in the form of a lobed arch topped by a palmette. The hilt of pistol-grip form is carved from one solid piece of pale grey jade and decorated with vegetal motifs inlaid with gold and set with gems in the kundan technique. Total 96 diamonds, 55 rubies, and 43 emeralds.

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. 18; 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. 456-457, №182.