5917

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Indian Sufi Mendicant’s Elbow Rest with Concealed Dagger

central or northern India
19th century

height: 37cm, width: 23.3cm, weight: 1,255g

Available - Enquire

Provenance

UK art market

This elbow rest is of brass or bronze. Each of the three ends terminates with a well-cast yali-type head, with mouth agape.

The stem unscrews from the curved top section to reveal a thin, pointy, double-edged blade.

Such devices were intended to be used as arm or elbow rests for sitting or mediating sufi mendicants, although the structure might also have been used as a muscat rest for firing. The concealed blade also allowed the mendicants to protect themselves.

A related, though cruder, example is illustrated in Aryan (2005, p. 154).

The example here has a golden patina and obvious age.

References

Aryan, S., Unknown Masterpieces of Indian Folk and Tribal Art, KC Aryan’s Home of Folk Art, 2005.

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