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Mughal Steel Dagger (Chilanum or Khanjarli)
length (without scabbard): 37.2cm
This chilanum (also spelt chillanum) or khanjarli dagger is made of all steel. It has a multi-fullered, double-edged, re-curving blade that is swollen at the tip and
with a central, single palmette motif chiselled between the fullers (Alexander, 1992, p. 190 identifies a similar motif on a katar as a cypress tree). The hilt is of
waisted form and incorporates a solid spherical knop in the middle of the grip with trefoil palmettes on either side, and a bud-like finial at the end of the
bifurcated pommel. The disc guard has serrated edging and ball quillons.
This dagger relates to a group of daggers associated with northern and Mughal India of the seventeenth century. The form is elegant but austere, the
decorative restraint allowing for a greater sculptural aesthetic and visual impact. See Hales (2013, p. 70) for some related examples.
The dagger has a later scabbard of wood, covered with dark green velvet and with white metal mounts.
The dagger is in excellent condition.
Alexander, D., The Arts of War: Arms and Armour of the 7th to 19th centuries - The Nasser. D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, The Nour Foundation, 1992.
Hales, R., Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime's Passion, Robert Hale CI Ltd, 2013.
Provenance: private collection; acquired from Simon Ray, London.
Inventory no.: 3203
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