Place of Origin: India (Mughal)
Date: 18th Century
Overall : 190mm (7.5 inches)
This highly unusual folding knife from India has grips made of mother of pearl and a pommel in the shape of a parrot’s head. There are three large gold rosettes on each side, each studded with a ruby. The top rosette forms the bird’s eye while, below, five smaller rosettes sit along the neckline, and a further two sit equidistant from the central rosette. A small kidney-shaped ruby represents the mouth. A watered steel bolster is inscribed in an oval cartouche with a name:
The clipped-back blade folds into the grip and is forged from a very high-quality piece of kara taban (brilliant black) jawhar (wootz) steel with a kirk narduban (Mohammed’s ladder) pattern, confirming that this must have been made for a person of importance.
A small fruit knife with a parrot pommel, said to have belonged to Empress Noor Jahan, the wife of the fourth Mughal Emperor Jahangir, is in the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, India, and on permanent display in the Jade Room.