Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Jeweled and Enameled Ram's Head Dagger

Object Name:
18th–19th century
Attributed to India, probably Jaipur
Hilt: Gold, enameled and set with precious stones; kundan technique Blade: steel
L. 31.0cm Gr. W. 5.7cm L (hilt). 14.25cm L (ram's head). 4.3cm W. 2.65cm
Arms and Armor
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1970
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
Often tucked into a sash or horseman’s boot, daggers in Mughal India displayed the wealth and power of their owners. An intricately patterned ram’s head pommel adorns the hilt of this dagger, made in the kundan technique in which gems are set into malleable pure gold foil, allowing them to be arranged in any pattern or density over curved surfaces. In this dagger, pieces of quartz adorning the cross guard are surrounded by raised borders of gold which form the curved lines of a flower. The ram’s head is decorated with a floral scroll and is separated from the hilt grip by a quartz collar, also in the kundan method.
Peter Marks, New York (until 1970; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Indian Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18, 1973–April 1, 1973, no catalogue.

Swietochowski, Marie, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Notable Acquisitions 1965–1975 (1975). p. 139, ill. (b/w).

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