India, 19th century CE. An "ankus", or "ankusha", also known as a bullhook or elephant goad, modeled from a tool used for the handling and training of elephants, but here a ceremonial prestige item. An iron blade with intricate gold-painted designs of an elephant standing on a bank above a river, with tall plants stretching above and past him it, slots over the handle, which is made of highly polished Asian elephant ivory in seven sections. The bone is decorated with small designs; the handle terminates in a rounded grip. Symbolically in Hinduism, this item often relates to the god Ganesha; in Buddhism, it is associated with the difficulty of training the mind, the way one trains a wild elephant. Size: 15.1" L x 4.05" W (38.4 cm x 10.3 cm)
Provenance: Ex-New Jersey Collection
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