A JADE-HILTED CHILANUM
A JADE-HILTED CHILANUM
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A JADE-HILTED CHILANUM

MUGHAL INDIA, 17TH CENTURY

Details
A JADE-HILTED CHILANUM
MUGHAL INDIA, 17TH CENTURY
Of typical form, the hilt with minor loss, the red velvet sheath with open work silver mount engraved with flowerheads
13 ¾in. (35cm.) long

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Sara Plumbly
Sara Plumbly

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Lot Essay

A very similar jade-hilted chilanum is in the collection of the Louvre Museum in Paris, gifted by Baroness Salomon de Rothschild in 1922 (inv. R 891; Istanbul, Isfahan, Delhi. 3 Capitals of Islamic Art – Masterpieces from the Louvre Collection, exhibition catalogue, Istanbul, 2008, no.161.A, p.307). The vegetal decoration of our hilt and that in the Louvre is characteristic of the naturalistic forms seen during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir (1605-27). The Louvre hilt is missing the finial above its curved pommel and one of its bud-shaped terminals on its disc guard.

A variant is illustrated in Bashir Mohamed, The Arts of the Muslim Knight: The Furusiyya Art Foundation Collection, Milan, 2007, p.217, cat no.208, p.217. The jade hilt has a leafy pommel with its bud-shaped finial intact like our example. It has a separate oval disc guard with small bud-shaped quillons but lacks a knuckle guard. Mohamed dates the Furussiya chilanum to the mid-seventeenth century and assigns it to the Deccan during Mughal rule.

Another comparable nephrite jade chilanum dagger, dated to the late 17th century and thought to be from the Deccan or Mughal dominions, is in the Al-Sabah Collection in Kuwait. It has its knuckle guard in place but is missing its disc guard (inv. no. LNS 251 HS; S. Kaoukji, Princely Indian Weapons and other Princely Accoutrements, London, 2017, no.31, pp.102-03).

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