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Royal Dagger Carved with Hindu Figures

17th century

This ceremonial dagger, made in southern India for Thirumalai Nayak (r. 1623–1659), ruler of Madurai, constituted an offering to a Hindu temple. The carved ivory handle is entirely covered in leaf and bead motifs and tiny elephants. The pommel is in the shape of a yali, a mythical protective creature of the Hindu religion, lion, horse and elephant at the same time, with bird-like features. Fearsome even though never intended for use, the openwork blade is finely chased with phytomorphic tracery and mythical birds. At its base, the god Shiva brandishes a trident and tramples on a dwarf demon as a sign of the king’s power over people and animals.

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: Thierry Ollivier

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: Thierry Ollivier

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: Thierry Ollivier

Title: Royal Dagger Carved with Hindu Figures
Geography: India
Date: 17th century
Medium: ivory and steel
Classification: arms, military equipment, uniforms
Dimensions: 35 x 6 x 2 cm
Inventory number: LAD 2014.013
Contact for images: [email protected]
Permalink: https://www.louvreabudhabi.ae/en/Explore/online-collection/royal-dagger-carved-with-hindu-figures
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