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Indian

Axe knife and sheath circa 1870 - 1875

Steel, copper, gold, wood and red glass | 61.8 x 6.2 x 3.7 cm (whole object) | RCIN 11434

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An axe knife or bhuj with a broad blade embellished in parcel gilt and chased with floral motifs springing from an elephant's head set with red glass imitating rubies. The copper handle covered in gold sheet, chased with floral design and conceals a slender knife that can be pulled out of the handle by unscrewing the pommel. The gilt copper sheath lined with wood and chased with a floral design of poppies and vines. This ceremonial weapon or bhuj is named after the capital of Cutch, a Princely state in north-west India, where this type of weapon is thought to have originated. The chased patterning on the sheath and handle is also similar to the patterning of late nineteenth century silverware produced in Cutch suggesting that the axe may have been made there.