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19th C. Indian Mughal Agate or Bowenite Stone Handled Khanjar Dagger خنجر

( ID: id805 )

This unique 19th century Indian khanjar dagger features a carved pistol grip stone handle.  The blade is double-recurved echoing its origin in South India.  Extending 16 inches, the reinforced blade boasts an intriguing construction, which extends 16 inches.

Based on research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, weapons at this point in Indian his-tory, are linked to several superstitions and cultural beliefs in South Asia.  Drawing a weapon without reason is forbidden and considered by Hindus to be an insult to the goddess Chandika, underscoring the thought a sword cannot be sheathed until it has drawn blood.  It was the duty of the mother of a warrior to fasten his sword around his waist prior to engaging in battle. 

In addition, the mother of a solider would pierce her finger with the sword to execute a tilak on his head from a drop of her blood.  A tilak was used as well to sanctify weapons tra-ditionally with the blood of a decapitated goat.  Other taboos for warriors included looking at their own reflection in their sword, revealing the origin or cost of acquisition, throwing their weapon on the ground or employing it for domestic purposes.

Moreover, the French and the British East India company engaged in combat for military control of the sub-continent.  This period resulted in shifting alliances between the two East India companies and local authorities, mercenary armies employed by all sides, and broad upheaval. Eventually, British power, in alliance with Hyderabad indigenous people, pre-vailed.  The subsequent local rulers of these states accepted the principle of paramountcy of the British Crown.  The cultivation of coffee and tea was introduced to the mountainous regions of South India during the British period, and both continue to be cash crops.  This rule lasted until the mid 20th century.

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