Lot 84. A gem-set jade-hilted dagger (khanjar), North India or Deccan, circa 1675-1700; 14 3/8 ins. (36.6 cm.) long. Estimate USD 700,000 - USD 1,200,000. Price realised USD 795,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019
Set with rubies, watered-steel blade, later cloth-covered wooden scabbard with original gem set jade locket.
Exhibited: The Miho Museum, Koka 2016, p. 35, no. 40
Grand Palais, Paris 2017, p.120, no,91
The Doge’s Palace, Venice 2017, p.145, no,93
The Palace Museum, Beijing 2018, p.169, no,97
de Young Legion of Honor, San Francisco 2018, p. 90, no. 32.
Note: The form of this hilt derives from an early all-steel hilt type which ended in animal heads. Good examples, both with curved katar-like blades, are in the Furusiyya Collection (Mohamed, 2007, no.175, p.187) and in the Victoria and Albert Museum (IS 86-1981; Skelton et al, 1982, no.421, p.131). Here the terminals have been transformed into scrolls instead of tigers’ heads, but the material enables the allusion to tigers to be made in the stripes (bubri) of the design. The previous catalogue entries for this dagger point clearly to the significance of the tiger stripes and their later association with Tipu Sultan. The design is far older than this, appearing on 16th century and earlier manuscripts and textiles. Similar hilts are noted as being worn by Prince Muhammad Muazzam Shah Alam Bahadur, the second son of the emperor Aurangzeb, in around 1680 (Falk and Archer, 1981, no.91). In his entry on the Furusiyya example Bashir Mohamed notes another example worn by one of the princes in the famous image of The Princes of the House of Timur by Mir Sayyed 'Ali dating from 1550-1555 in the British Library (inv.no.1913,0208,0.1). The blade here, of rare Indian form, is also found on a steel hilted dagger dating from around 1600 in the al-Sabah Collection (LNS 1053 M)
Christie's. Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence, New York, 19 June 2019