mughal dagger

Ram’s Head Dagger

India (likely Jaipur), Mughal, 18th or 19th century

Hilt: Gold, enameled and set with precious stones; kundan technique Blade: steel

Often tucked into a sash or horseman’s boot, daggers in Mughal India displayed the wealth and power of their owners. An intricately patterned ram’s head pommel adorns the hilt of this dagger, made in the kundan technique in which gems are set into malleable pure gold foil, allowing them to be arranged in any pattern or density over curved surfaces. In this dagger, pieces of quartz adorning the cross guard are surrounded by raised borders of gold which form the curved lines of a flower. The ram’s head is decorated with a floral scroll and is separated from the hilt grip by a quartz collar, also in the kundan method.

This dagger bears a striking resemblance to another dagger posted recently.


India, Mughal, early 17th century

Rock crystal, gold, ruby, emerald, diamond, textiles

An early seventeenth century Mughal dagger with a rock crystal hilt inlaid with rubies in a gold tracery design; with later sheath with gold mounts. Recorded in the North Corridor Inventory of Windsor Castle c.1870 as no 803 a ‘Nepalese’ dagger and later noted in the collection of King Edward VII in the early 20th century.

These ear daggers can be seen in Mughal miniature paintings from the reign of the Emperor Jahangir, notably the well known painting attributed to 1618 in the Freer Gallery, Washington D.C., of an imaginary encounter between the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and the Persian Shah Abbas, where the Emperor and his cup bearer both wear them. A number of these daggers with straight quillons in Persian style survive.

Indian (Mughal) Jambiya (curved dagger), 19th century, double-edged watered steel blade with double grooves, central ridge, waisted hilt entirely covered in gold overlay in floral and foliage patterns, the pommel is rounded and also decorated with gold overlay. The rounded pommel finial is also gilded, green velvet covered wooden scabbard has a metal chape and an attached leather belt band.

Punch Dagger (Katar)

India, Holkar, first half of the 19th century

Steel, gold, rubies, emeralds and diamonds

The term ‘punch dagger’ is derived from the action with which it is used, with an upright fist gripping the double crossbars. In this example the grips and side bars are made of gold, set with numerous rubies, emeralds and diamonds in floral and foliate settings in the style of early eighteenth-century Mughal work. The blade was specially etched with an inscription for presentation to the Prince of Wales. The Prince met the Maharaja of Rutlam on 9 March 1876 at the Residency at Indore, where he was the guest of the Maharaja Holkar of Indore.