Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1605 Rajput bhumi

Subjectbhumi infantryman
Culture: Rajput
Setting: Mughal empire, Hindustan mid 16-17thc

Context (Event Photos, Period Sources)

* Nicolle ill. McBride 1993

* Richards 1993 p298
"bhumiya[:]  warriors of the land, less powerful retainers of a Rajput thakur or chief."


* Withers 2010 p95
"To a Rajput horseman, the khanda was very much a lethal weapon of last resort. If unhorsed and surrounded by the enemy, he would quickly draw the large blade and begin swinging it around his head, taking full advantage of its estimable hacking and slashing functions. Because of the great width of the khanda blade, it was never perceived as an efficient thrusting sword.
    "The khanda was effective against the leather and chain-mail armour of the Mughal invaders, as its great strength (especially when wielded with two hands) could cut through these materials with considerable ease.  [CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION: If armor could be cut so easily, why did anyone bother wearing it?]  When carried by infantrymen, this sword gave them a chance against horse-mounted soldiers."

* Elgood

* Coe, Connolly, Harding, Harris, Larocca, Richardson, North, Spring, & Wilkinson p192 (Frederick Wilkinson, "India and Southeast Asia" p186-203)


* Elgood 2015 p80
​"[V]ery long katars date from the mid-sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  The earliest surviving katar known to the author is dated 965 AH/1558 AD. ...  Katars are shown on late medieval hero stones which cannot be dated with certainty; and are illustrated very frequently in the Hamzanama, a Mughal manuscript dated mid-sixteenth century.  A katar is also illustrated in the 1570 Bijapur manuscript the Nujum al-'Ulum.
    "The art historian Hermann Goetz who spent years working in Bikaner argued that the katar (and the patta) was a Deccani weapon introduced into Rajasthan when the Rajputs served as auxiliaries under the Mughals in the Deccan.  Goetz's date for adoption may seem surprisingly late but the Bikaner Raja Kalyan Mal only made his submission to the Emperor in 1570.  If Goetz's argument is expanded, a key moment in this process was probably when his son Rai Singh, the ruler of Bikaner from 1571 to 1612, served as Mughal governor of Burhanpur in 1585-92.  The Mughals used this town as a military base for their attacks on the Deccan and Burhanpur was formally annexed by Akbar in 1596.  Raja Rai Singh died there during his second term as governor.  Travellers describe the town as a major centre of arms production and a bahi sword dated 1746 VS/1689 describes the town as a major maker of katars, but earlier information is missing.  Sixteenth- and early-seventeenth century Deccani and Rajput katars tended to have longer triangular blades than those of the Mughals.  Indeed, these very long katars were rarely worn by the Mughals themselves, and Mughal cultural influence in the early seventeenth century brought about a change in fashion in those areas where they were worn.  However, katars on this scale are illustrated in the Salim Album in the Chester Beatty Collection dated c. 1590-1600 and the Victoria and Albert's Akbarnama of c. 1599-1600.  Similar long katars are shown in a portrait of Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner attributed to 1575; and in a portrait by Nur Muhammad of Rao Bhoj Rathore, Raja Rai Singh's uncle, dated c. 1606.  A portrait from the Shajahan Album by Hashim c. 1633 of an Abyssinian wearing such a katar shows that the fashion was followed in the state of Ahmadnagar in the Deccan.  The origin of these long katars does appear to be in the Deccan, where they were adopted by Rajputs serving in the Mughal armies."


* Nicolle ill. McBride 1993 p