Object Name: Dagger
Date: second half 16th century
Geography: India, Deccan, Bijapur or Golconda
Hilt: copper; cast, chased, gilded and inlaid with rubies.
Blade: steel; forged
Dimensions: L. 15 5/8 in. (39.6 cm)
Classification: Arms and Armor
Portraits of Sultan ‘Ali ‘Adil Shah of Bijapur (r. 1558– 80) show him wearing daggers with zoomorphic hilts similar to this one. In this superlative, ruby-studded hilt, a dragon, whose tail wraps around the grip, attacks a lion, which in turn attacks a deer, symbolism associated with the deity Garuda. Before the deer is a parrotlike bird with a snake in its beak. Lower down on the hilt is the head of a yali, a mythical lionlike animal, with floral scrolls issuing from its mouth.