Abstract: This article examines the emergence in weapons complex of the Mughals one of the most emblematic Indian weapon – Jamdhar dagger and offers new, different from the preceding, interpretation of its use. The appearance of the original Indian phenomenon in the culture of the conquerors is based on written sources, as well as in the context of understanding the atmospheric interactions of the cultures of conquerors and the vanquished. In analysis the author relies on the translation of the original teхts and illustrative sources. The article explains that one of the main assignments of the dagger “jamdhar” was its use in the hunting of large predators, primarily, in self-defense from a wounded beast. As an elite attribute that emphasizes the owner’s status as a hunter of tigers and lions, the struggle with the beast, theriomachia, was anciently part of the Royal rituals, a kind of test of the applicant for authority and, at the same time, the procedure of confirming the right to exercise this power, the jamdhar dagger took the place of the status thing of the Indian aristocracy. By the time of the third Emperor of the Mughal Empire Akbar some elements of Indian culture were accepted by the conquerors, though, as a rule, a culture of the defeated a priori has a lower status and as a rule remains unexploited by the new elites. And only in case some prestigious forms of the local culture do not face with competitors in the culture introduced by the conquerors, they will have a chance of being accepted by the elite. In case of the jamdhar dagger, this form of the local culture became hunting for tigers and lions, which before the conquest of India was not a Mongol or Turkic tradition. Author also proves that in the decorative elements of decoration of jamdhar daggers in the depiction of predator attacks on prey, these scenes differ in their composition from the well-known “scenes of anguish” in Scythian and Iranian traditions. In Indian tradition there was an allusion that a warrior who had defeated a tiger, became tiger-like himself, and his enemies were similar to victim and prey. The scenes of such kind were analogues to battle scenes, which explain the lack of battle scenes in the ornament of jamdhar daggers. The tight connection to prestigious hunting was one of the reasons jamdhar dagger was established in the role of power insignia and was ensured an honorable place in the Mughal`s weapons complex.
Keywords: dagger, Indian weapons, jamdhar, katar, hunting, Akbar, Mughals, decorative sceneRead the full version