Rare Mughal Floral-Form Ivory Hilt with Polychrome
length: 13.5cm, weight: 114g
This superb and rare solid ivory hilt, which would have adorned a khanjar dagger, most probably was made for court use. This is suggested by the relative fragility of the material used and the quality of the carving.
The pommel has been carved as a fleshy tulip or related flower emerging from a thicket of foliage. It has been delicately coloured with red, green and gold highlights.
A band of acanthus-like leaves borders the lower section and more green leaves decorate the base and quillons. A central flower motif decorates the lower section on both sides.
Most probably the hilt was made in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Related hilts are in royal collections in Jaipur and Bikaner.
The hilt has no chips or other losses or restorations. There is some old age and shrinkage related cracking to one side but this is stable and to be expected given the age of the hilt.
A dagger with a related flower-form hilt in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art can be seen
Elgood, R., Arms & Armour: At the Jaipur Court – The Royal Collection, Niyogi Books, 2015.
Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime’s Passion, Robert Hale CI Ltd, 2013.Illustrated:
page 38 – Hales, R., Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime’s Passion, Robert Hale CI Ltd, 2013.
private collection, UK.
Inventory no.: 4387