Place of Origin: Jeypore (Jaipur), India
This intriguing Indian dagger of the chillanum type is marked to the Jeypore School of Arts. Robert Elgood in his 2015 book ‘Arms and Armour at the Jaipur Court’, p.16, explains the school was opened in June 1867 under the directorship of the surgeon and painter William Frederick de Fabeck, and as well as blacksmith’s work including arms making other trades were taught including pottery, carpentry, and wood carving.
The blade follows the same elegant re-curved, double-edged and armour piercing design that is redolent of the type’s form at the height of its popularity during the 17th century. The blade, however, is heavier and wider than what was generally produced at that time.
This example has a straight grip with a moulded collar, two moustache-shaped pommel arms, and two shorter, lower arms that form the quillons. Each arm has a U-shaped finial and surmounting all is a bulbous pommel. The entire hilt is covered in a repeating floral pattern beautifully rendered in gold koftgari and presenting large flower heads, creeping vines and other intricate foliage. The name Jeypore can be seen within a box on one side, while School of Arts can be read on the other.
The Horniman Museum, London, has a group of seven items (1) which are attributed to the School of Art in Jeypore—all dated 1894–1912. They are all decorative and made from stone or ceramic materials, with koftgari-decorated metal seemingly a rarer production from the school.
Provenance: UK art market.