Racinet 1876: some Indian adornments, tools, and weapons

Source: ebay, Nov. 2005

"India, that country full of luxurious vegetation, rich in natural products of every kind, with inexhaustible mines of precious metals and stones, displays her character of overflowing abundance and the fantastic spirit of her inhabitants also in the productions of her art. But notwithstanding her old and comparatively high  civilization, a certain conservatism, extending for nearly a thousand years to the social and religious conditions and, institutions, exercised, as a matter of course, its unavoidable influence also   on the artistic productions, especially when you look on the caste-like separation of the several trades. Only since the beginning of our century can we report new  introductions in the Indian art.   Being little conventional and flowing freely, Indian ornament - seems to have the greatest affinity with  the Persian style. The surface decoration, never losing its specific character, mostly exhibits a very profuse richness  of recurring motives, and a grand splendour of colouring which, far from harassing the eyes of the beholder, affords, on  the contrary, a salutary repose to them.  The outlines of the design, in which all modelling is avoided, are generally executed on light ground in deeper colours than the  pattern itself, and on dark ground-in light colours. The Indians found their principal motives, as seems most likely, among their native plants, employing in the first place lotus, excellently drawn roses, pinks, granates, etc.; but most frequently, especially in modern productions, we meet with the palm-branch always-treated conventionally

Fig. 1 and 2. Wooden spoons from Calcutta used for cream, Fig. 3. Bengalese fan used in Indian homes. The handle is made of wood, the fan part of silk and satin. The first fans used in India were made of palm leaves. They were used against flies, also a tail of the yak (Tibetan steer)) was used for this purpose, Fig. 4. depicts a book made of elongated wooden tablets tied together with a wire, Figs. 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16. depict various buttons, brooches, buckles made of embossed  and chiseled gold, embellished with various precious stones, diamonds and pearls, Fig. 6. Antique steel hook used by elephant riders, Fig. 7. Little knife from Nepal, Fig. 8. A khouttar, Indian dagger, distinguished by its sheath covered with velvet. This weapon is only known in Hindustan, Figs. 9 and 10. Another dagger with a bent-shaped blade, strengthened along its length with a raised rib. This type of dagger was not attached to a belt but was carried hanging from it, Fig. 17. Depicts a shoe of a nahab. The fabric is made of golden filaments, embroidered with silk and pearls, Fig. 18. A helmet of a mogul from the 16th Century, the top is highlighted by a pyramid-shaped button, the front has the nose protector."