As mentioned elsewhere, I saw an interesting bone-handled kukri in a local antique shop and made a note to go back and buy it at a later date, finances permitting. A later date arrived and the kukri is now mine, following a generous discount on the marked price.
It’s very fine and narrow-bladed, with a handle so slim that I originally assumed it had to be intended for a woman or youth – I felt that it was simply too small for a man to hold comfortably. (I have also read that these narrow-bladed kukris were intended for medical/veterinary use.)
In the event, this kukri was closely examined by serving members of the Brigade of Gurkhas who, at my suggestion that this was a woman’s kukri, immediately said “No, it’s not a woman’s kukri, it’s a man’s light, fast, fighting kukri. It’s a fighting sirupate.”
A sirupate is a kukri, narrow in relation to its length, typically from eastern Nepal, and named after the long, thin leaf of the siru plant.
The bone of the handle is undamaged and only slightly darkened through handling. I suspect that this has been a wallhanger, not a ‘user’.
The blade is single-fullered with a fairly standard kaudi (‘blood notch’) and a knurled bolster. Knurling is common on brass bolsters but less common on steel, as on this blade. There is a butt cap of white metal alloy, probably zinc (often made from old, melted-down toothpaste tubes).
The sheath is in good condition and appears to be original, with multiple compartments, as opposed to just two compartments for karda (knife) and chakmak (sharpener), which themselves are absent. To my surprise, the outer pocket still contains the tiny leather tinder pouch (which itself still contains tinder!).
This kukri is visually very appealing – seductive, even – with its bone handle, delicate profile and generally attractive features. However, when you look closer at the details of construction, the hand-forged blade is distinctly lumpy, with undulations clearly visible towards the tip, and the fullers were forged in a less than perfect curve with little or no final polishing. This kukri is nice (I’d buy it again, or a second one, in a heartbeat) but it’s not an example of top quality metalworking.
On advice: ‘it dates from the 1940s, probably made by a Nepali living in India, possibly Assam or Darjeeling (the bolster being typically Nepalese and the butt cap being typically Indian)‘.
As ever, much assistance received from the friendly denizens of IKRHS.
A. 3.8cm belly
B. 28cm blade
C. 5.8cm drop
D. 37cm OAL
E. 9.0cm handle
F. 6.5mm spine at bolster
G. 5.5mm spine at belly
H. 39.5cm along curve
Balance: 10cm ahead of bolster
Weight: 313g / 11oz
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