Mughal jade dagger handle
Carved out of white ‘moss in snow’ jadeite jade, probably from Burma, this carved dagger hilt from the 17th Century Mughal empire at its peak is very typical of the Central Asian Islamic tradition, that represented more animals than in other branches of Islamic art, possible from a distant memory of animism and the wonderful works of ancient Bactria in modern Afghanistan, founded by Alexander the Great on his way to India. The steel blade is from Damascus and repeatedly folded like Japanese samurai swords, with the wonderful patterns known as Damascene work. Its creation in India evidences the trading links between different regions of the Islamic world. The piece is inlaid with small rubies, and now resides in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Image credit: Jastrow