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STEEL BOW

Place of Origin: Sialkot, Punjab

Date: 19th Century

Overall: 1050mm (41.5 inches)

Reference: 448

Status: Available

Full Description:

This elegant reflex bow is decorated with lavish kofgari in the Sialkot style.

Slender cartouches flourish throughout the bow’s surface, filled with spiralling foliage which alternate between gold koftgari and plain steel. These spirals continue onto the grip section. Here, the cartouches house multi-petalled flowerheads encircled by scrolling gilt foliage. Such fine craftsmanship and embellishment suggest this bow was likely an expensive and high-status possession, not only for the owner but also for its maker. The present piece is far superior to most that are known to us[1], though a similar bow can be found in the Royal Collection of Jaipur[2].

Although already known in India, this type of bow was reintroduced by Muslim invaders, and the Indians, quickly deeming it to be a superior weapon, gladly adopted it. With wood and horn being susceptible to the climate, metal bows such as this one were sometimes used as appropriate substitutes[3].

Provenance

Collection of Stephen Selby, Hong Kong.

 

[2] Robert Elgood, Arms & Armour at the Jaipur Court: The Royal Collection, Niyogi Books, 2015.

[3] See Dr Parvinder Khanuja, Splendors of Punjab Heritage: Art from the Khanuja Family Collection, Roli Books, 2022, p.232, item 36.

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