A katar dagger of the Maharao Ram Singh of Bundi




India, Rajasthan (Bundi)




Forging, casting, chiseling, gilding


Steel, gold, silver, wood, leather


Overall length (without scabbard) 432 mm; blade length 219 mm; scabbard length 238 mm

The straight, double-edged blade is made of watered steel with a reinforced tip and three pairs of fullers on each side. The forte of the blade on each side is decorated with an elephant’s head, which is chiselled in relief and highlighted with gold in the mulamma technique. The steel hilt is formed by two flat side bars and two transverse grip bars of rounded-square section chiselled with floral motifs and covered with gold in the mulamma technique. In addition, there are pierced flowers and leaves between the grip bars. The wooden scabbard is covered with fluted black leather. The chape is made of silver.

COMMENT. The presented item is a qualitatively executed example of "classical" katars, however, the main value of this dagger is that the names of the maker and owner, as well as the date and place of its manufacture are reliably known. It belongs to the second recorded group of royal katars that were manufactured for the Maharao Ram Singh of Bundi (r. 1821-89) by the prominent armourer Khema in 1872. Three daggers from this group were shown at the Jeypore (Jaipur) Exhibition of 1883. A common distinctive feature of them is a pierced floral design connecting the grip bars. Daggers from the first group made for Ram Singh in about 1850 have hilts with exactly the same pierced floral design, but their side bars and grip bars are round in cross-section (see Elgood, R. Arms & Armour at the Jaipur Court: The Royal Collection. – New Delhi, 2015. – P. 91, no. 66). Ram Singh personally presented one of the daggers from the second group to Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, during his tour of India in 1875-76 (see Clarke, C.P., Birdwood, C.M. Catalogue of the Collection of Indian Arms and Objects of Art, Presented by the Princes and Nobles of India to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales K.G., K.T., K.P., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., &c. on the Occasion of His Visit to India in 1875-1876. Now in the India Room at Marlborough House. – London, 1898. – Case E, no. 97). For other similar examples, see Marlborough House. – London, 1898. – Case E, no. 97). Для ознайомлення з іншими подібними екземплярами див.: Bromberg, A.R. The Arts of India, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas at the Dallas Museum of Art. – New Haven & London, 2013. – P. 147, no. 85; Butterfield & Butterfield: The Dr. Leo S. Figiel Collection of Mogul Arms: August 24, 1998 in San Francisco: [Auction Catalog]. – San Francisco, 1998. – Lot 2117; Czerny’s. Auction 69: Fine & Scarce Antique Arms & Armour: March 25th, 2017, Sarzana: [Auction Catalogue]. – Sarzana, 2017. – Lot 20; Lempertz: Auktion 1080. Asiatische Kunst = Asian Art: 8/9 Dezember 2016, Köln: [Auktionskatalog]. – Köln, 2016. – Los 591; Runjeet Singh: Arms & Armour from the East. Winter 2016: [Catalogue]. – Coventry, 2016. – P. 8-9, no. 1; Sotheby’s: Arts of the Islamic World. London, 25 October 2017: [Auction Catalogue]. – London, 2017. – Lot 181.

LITERATURE: 1) Сіваченко Є. Холодна зброя Індії XVII-XIX століть із збірки Музею приватних колекцій Олександра Фельдмана: [каталог виставки]. – Харків, 2011. – С. 5; 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. 418-419, №163.