Its hilt overlaid with thick silver, then fire-gilt.
Spearhead 12 cm long
Hook 22 cm wide
From the collection of Han Hendriks 1919-2008.
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Aṅkus (अंकुस) comes from the Sanskrit word aṅkuśa (अङ्कुश) means "elephant goad". It is a hooked instrument with a sharp spearhead-like point. They were used by the mahout (the keepers, trainers, and drivers of elephants) to control elephants.
Elephants were expensive, and important and dangerous assets in the field. Those who controlled them well were of considerable importance to rulers and trusted with important tasks during processions, hunting, and warfare. The aṅkus, in that sense, was as much as a tool as an emblem of rank.
For more, see my glossary article: Aṅkus (अंकुस)
A rare south Indian ankus head, made of forged iron. It consists of a spearhead with a long tang with a threaded end. Attached to the tang on one side is an iron hook that is shaped like a parakeet.
Like parrots, parakeets can learn how to mimic human speech and were found to be able to memorize the chants uttered by worshippers in temples, which made people think of them as sacred. They are considered to be the vehicles ("vahana") of the Hindu gods Kamadeva and his consort Rati, who represent love and desire. Goddess Meenakshi, consort of Shiva, is also often depicted holding a parakeet, and the parakeet is associated with the goddess Andal, a Tamil poet and saint devoted to Vishnu.
The head is mounted on a long tang with a threaded butt end. The whole was once probably mounted on a wooden shaft, with a pommel screwed at the bottom.
South India, 17th to early 18th century.
The piece comes from Han Hendriks (1919-2008), a notable Dutch blacksmith with a forge in the Balistraat, The Hague. He kept a study collection of antique ironwork from around the world, some of which I have been able to purchase from his descendants.
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Of a style often associated with Tanjore, the seat of the Vijayanagara empire.
Somewhat worn but once very high-quality, with great sculptural qualities and remains of silver "true…
An exceedingly rare set with fine mother of pearl inlaid string board
In excavated condition, with copper alloy hilt.
With forge folded, overlaid blade.