Openwork Elephant Goad (Ankus)
Place of Origin: North India
Date: 19th Century
Overall Length: 570mm (22.5 Inches)
This elephant-goad (or ‘ankus’) is formed with a basal cap overlaid at its brim with alternating chevrons in silver and gold, from which rise vertical panels of curling vine tendrils in gold framed by silver borders. The openwork handle has been lined with gold and silver overlay and comprises six tiers each filled with a bell, so that the goad produces a ringing sound when swung. The ankus’ head comprises two spikes – one conical and the other curved – the latter formed at its interior terminal to depict the miniaturised body and head of a makara. The surface is decorated throughout with gold foliate designs, the central section replicating the motif found at the base of the handle.
An example of near-identical construction is preserved at the Wallace Collection (Inv. No. OA1599).