Instagram post by @runjeet.singh Runjeet Singh

Following on from my previous post, this was another fantastic ‘re-discovery’. Last published in 1967 by Wilkinson, and since hidden away in private collections, objects such as these are now rightly being rediscovered as masterpieces in their own right. Is this the golden era of Indian / Eastern arms and armour? Regardless, I’m thrilled to be part of it, and this ‘best of its type’ dagger was sold to a private collector in 2016 and published by me in the same year. Read on for more information: An elegant, high quality seventeenth century dagger or chilanum from the Deccan plateau, south-west India.
The sculptural iron hilt is decorated with koftgari gold flowers and bunches of grapes on scrolling vines. It has sweeping pommel arms and a curving knuckle guard terminating in a drooping lotus bud shrouded by a leaf. The oval hand guard has two bands of delicately pierced decoration and lotus bud finials at either end.
The re-curving blade in excellent condition is cut with eight finely worked fullers. The blade displays the ‘watered steel’ surface pattern which indicates that this blade is forged from wootz damascus steel.
I have previously likened the re-curved blade on such daggers to a Hindu goddess in her tribangha pose, but Elgood writes that the shape probably derived from an animal horn knife, being double-curved and double-edged. He further states the direct antecedent is the Mughal khapwah, a dagger listed in the A’in-i-Akbari and in the Jahangirnama. Mentioned frequently as a jewelled Mughal presentation weapon, the decoration on this example points to Mughal influence with the use of bunches of grapes with floral sprays.
Published
Frederick Wilkinson, Swords and Daggers, 1967, plate 177. #armsandarmor #armsandarmour #mughalart #asianart #artcollecting #worksofart #indianart #islamicart #knifestagram #knifeporn #wootz #wootzsteel #damascussteel #koftgari #runjeetsingh

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