Monday, April 15, 2013

Mastery of Design: King Edward VII’s Punch Dagger, 1876

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Images Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Punch Dagger
Indian, 1876
Gold, Steel, Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds
Presented to King Edward VII while Prince of Wales.
The Royal Collection
This is not a dagger for Mr. Punch though I’m sure he wouldn’t mind having it. This rare weapon is called a “Punch Dagger” because of the method by which it is used. The dagger is gripped in an upright fist by the double crossbars. So, why did King Edward VII have such a weapon—especially one that is encrusted with diamonds, rubies and emeralds?

It was a gift. It is customary for the monarch to be presented with lavish gifts from high-ranking officials in the Empire during an official State visit. This jewel-studded dagger with gold crossbars and a steel blade was presented to King Edward VII while still Prince of Wales when he met the Maharaja of Rutlam on March 9, 1876 at the Residency at Indore. The Prince was there as the guest of the Maharaja Holkar of Indore.

The elegant, but deadly, item is inscribed H.R.H. PRINCE OF WALES / RUTLAM A.D. 1876.

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