Experts believe that a gold-encrusted dagger once owned by the Shah Jahan, the Indian Emperor who built the Taj Mahal could fetch $1 million when it goes on sale next month. Once a part of Shah Jahan’s collection, the dagger is dated to the years just after the Mughal Emperor came to power in the 17th century. Inscriptions on the back of the blade include Jahan’s official titles, date and place of birth, and an “honorific parasol”, which was an ancient pan-Asian symbol of the divinity of royalty, according to Bonham’s auction house. Jahan ruled his empire from 1628 to 1658 is said to have had a love of beautiful objects. Taj Mahal is a very fine example of the same.
According to the Scottish historian William Dalrymple, “The fabulous hilted dagger … is typical of Shah Jahan’s taste and character in a number of ways.” He added that the hilt reflected his love of rare and precious stones; its workmanship represents the skills of the Mughal atelier at this peak of refinement and the weapon itself is emblematic of its owners sometimes murderous tendencies. The dagger that will go under the hammer in London on April 10 is one of several items that are being auctioned from the private collection of wealthy French textile businessman Jacques Desenfans.