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"Katar" (Fist of Punch Dagger)

Description Conservation Credit
Description This type of dagger, characteristic of India and Southeast Asia, has an H-shaped grip so that the user’s knuckles are perpendicular to the wide blade, giving the dagger the strength and stability of the balled fist when thrust directly at the opponent. The shape remained popular for centuries, so precise dating is difficult. The shape and attention to ornament distinguish the Indian fist dagger, known as a "katar," from the typical European dagger, which is more flexible in its use but rarely so exuberantly decorated. By at least the later 1500s, Indian fist daggers were prized by European noble collectors. Inventories of the collections of Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria (1529–95), who owned more than one, suggest that he was fascinated by the weaponry of other cultures.

Old wax coatings and polish residues were reduced using organic solvents.

Date Description Narrative
5/25/2017TreatmentCleaned for exhibition
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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17th-19th century
Steel, decorated with gold
(Arms & Armor)
Accession Number
Overall: 22 7/16 in. (57 cm)
  • India (Place of Origin)


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