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A paper knife

Number

7532

Origin

India

Time

Late 19th or early 20th century

Technique

Carving

Material

Ivory

Dimensions

Length 616 mm

COMMENT. The presented item is a so-called paper knife, which could be used as a letter opener, a bookmark and a page turner. It is carved from ivory with a handle in the shape of an elephant standing on an elaborate pedestal. Such "knives" are characteristic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were produced in India and supplied by the British East India Company to the western market as expensive exotic but quite functional souvenirs. The presented example has not so much practical as decorative value, since it is twice as large as the standard proportions of such "knives".