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Old 22nd August 2016, 07:18 PM   #1
Cthulhu
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Default Ram's head khanjar for comment

This dagger (which I'm calling a khanjar) recently came into my possession. I'd be curious to know anyone's opinion on it. If it's old, how old and where from, or am I going to be sad to learn it's made for ebay? It has one of the more artistically accurate animals I've seen on a knife, but the horns do seem a tad outlandish and impractical for a actual-use knife. And, if it's actually period-made, if anyone would be willing to PM me a valuation, I'd be grateful.

Also I'd love to see any photos similar figural hilts in member's collections.

Thanks!
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Old 22nd August 2016, 08:47 PM   #2
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Yes, Indo-Persian Khanjar.
The handle is old, with spots of rust, tarnish and pitting.
The blade, however, is pristine and the wootz pattern is very similar to modern Indian examples.
There is some black mastique oozing from the slit in the handle. Epoxy?
Where did you get it from?
Rajastan?
I am sorry for my paranoid remarks, but that's IMHO.
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Old 22nd August 2016, 09:18 PM   #3
Jens Nordlunde
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Ariel you came first:-), but I would also like to know, what are the flaws on the blade in the third picture?
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Old 22nd August 2016, 09:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Yes, Indo-Persian Khanjar.
The handle is old, with spots of rust, tarnish and pitting.
The blade, however, is pristine and the wootz pattern is very similar to modern Indian examples.
There is some black mastique oozing from the slit in the handle. Epoxy?
Where did you get it from?
Rajastan?
I am sorry for my paranoid remarks, but that's IMHO.
If anything was new I would say the handle is and the blade is old and refitted to the handle, I see no signs of wear on the edges of the handle.
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Old 22nd August 2016, 11:25 PM   #5
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The black lines on the blade in photo 3 are easier to see in the photo than in person, but the upper one looks like a crack or surface forging flaw, and the lower one definitely looks like a crack, particularly because it has a similar line directly on the other side of the blade. I can just barely feel their presence rubbing the point of a toothpick across them.

I can't tell what the black material holding the blade in place is. Is black an unlikely color for an authentic piece?

The blade doesn't seem much more pristine than a real antique (authenticated by Bonham's) kard I have. But, on the khanjar's blade there's no rust/etc at the base of the blade where it meets the hilt (ie in the hard-to-clean places), that does point more towards newness, I guess, particularly with the hilt having pitting.

I didn't get the knife in Rajastan, no. It was in the US.

And I'm slightly confounded that now there are opposite opinions on what's old and what isn't. Maybe both are new? Or old?

And the hilt design; it seems plausible as an old piece?
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Old 23rd August 2016, 05:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu
And I'm slightly confounded that now there are opposite opinions on what's old and what isn't. Maybe both are new? Or old?

And the hilt design; it seems plausible as an old piece?
Nothing said here is absolute from what I can see. While rams head hits are common enough I have not seen this particular type before in either old or newly made daggers. I think the blade is old but determining the age of the hilt will be very difficult and in the end you will just have to make your own assessment.

I do not know of any newly made Indian blades that have the look of yours and as for it being fairly clean looking this can be explained in several ways. Unless someone can come up with an example of a similar looking wootz blade that is definitely newly made I would assume that the blade is old and the handle is one of two possibilities, original / old or more recent.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 12:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
The blade, however, is pristine and the wootz pattern is very similar to modern Indian examples.
.
Ariel, I have not seen any newly made Indian daggers that have a wootz pattern that looks as good as this one, except when an older blade is attached to a new handle, do you have any examples. I look at the newly made Ebay examples from Indian and they do not look convincing to me.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 05:57 AM   #8
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I feel relatively certain that it's a marriage; the blade and hilt did not originate together. I base this on the condition of the hilt, especially near the blade insertion area, relative to the seeming total lack of corrosion on the blade.

When you finally decide you can no longer live with the tension caused by this dichotomy, I'd be pleased to take it off your hands.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 08:25 AM   #9
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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....

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Old 23rd August 2016, 08:49 AM   #10
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It is not uncommon for broken blades from other weapons to be incorporated into daggers... I think the damage near the hilt is because of this re match.... Nice hilt and a good example of the Zoomorphic nature of these daggers.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 07:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
It is not uncommon for broken blades from other weapons to be incorporated into daggers... I think the damage near the hilt is because of this re match.... Nice hilt and a good example of the Zoomorphic nature of these daggers.
First, I know next to nothing about Indian weapons but in my opinion you have hit the nail here! Old broken blade (from this the cracks in the blade) with an IMVHO old hilt, I see the wear in the good pictures, look the last picture in #1. And also the pitting at the handle let me think it's an old one. Both old/antique and put together I think.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 24th August 2016, 05:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
It is not uncommon for broken blades from other weapons to be incorporated into daggers... I think the damage near the hilt is because of this re match.... Nice hilt and a good example of the Zoomorphic nature of these daggers.
Ibrahiim, two of your examples are modern made.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 05:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
The blade, however, is pristine and the wootz pattern is very similar to modern Indian examples.
I thought new Indian "wootz" looked different than this........
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Old 24th August 2016, 07:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Yes, Indo-Persian Khanjar.
The handle is old, with spots of rust, tarnish and pitting.
The blade, however, is pristine and the wootz pattern is very similar to modern Indian examples.
There is some black mastique oozing from the slit in the handle. Epoxy?
Where did you get it from?
Rajastan?
I am sorry for my paranoid remarks, but that's IMHO.
I second what Ariel have said. Owned a few of the recently made Indian wootz pieces, good projects if you are making replicas but a complete rip off if sold as antiques. Though some have really good quality and craftmanship.

The wootz is not crystalline but modern wootz tend to be similar to it. The cracks are not sign of age but sign of forging flaws which can happen to this day (unless you believe in the miracle of modern technology, which I doubt Rajastanis are using in mass)
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Old 4th September 2016, 02:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Yes, Indo-Persian Khanjar.
The handle is old, with spots of rust, tarnish and pitting.
The blade, however, is pristine and the wootz pattern is very similar to modern Indian examples.
There is some black mastique oozing from the slit in the handle. Epoxy?
Where did you get it from?
Rajastan?
I am sorry for my paranoid remarks, but that's IMHO.
After seeing some clearly modern but well made swords with wootz blades and hilts being sold on Ebay I think this whole dagger may in fact be a new creation. Here is an example.
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Old 4th September 2016, 04:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
After seeing some clearly modern but well made swords with wootz blades and hilts being sold on Ebay I think this whole dagger may in fact be a new creation. Here is an example.
Contrary to my initial oppinion, I concede that you may be right. There are indeed quite a few very good, traditional, but newly made wootz blades on the market. And they are sold as antiques.
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Old 4th September 2016, 05:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Contrary to my initial oppinion, I concede that you may be right. There are indeed quite a few very good, traditional, but newly made wootz blades on the market. And they are sold as antiques.
If what I have seen is what I think it is then this very scary. People are being fooled by a new wootz that is a step above what has previously been called "wootz". The swords I have seen have no scabbard or obviously newly made ones, and the swords show no sigh of wear / age etc but they are fooling people, some are selling for a lot of money.

Take a look at this, the cracks in the metal, the lack of wear, the wootz pattern, there is some red rust, this makes me think that the steel rams head dagger being discussed here is of the same type, a modern made replica. The rams head hilt is atypical with other similar examples and while it is pitted there is no sign of wear as you would expect to see on a 100+yr old dagger and there is a small amount of what looks like red rust on it as well. To many warning signs in my opinion.
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Old 6th September 2016, 05:27 PM   #18
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I'm glad we're moving towards consensus. On the other hand, it's a disappointing consensus.

Oh well; they can't all be antiques.
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