"Right now, in almost every river in the world, some 12,000 different species of caddisfly larvae wriggle and crawl through sediment, twigs, and rocks in an attempt to build temporary aquatic cocoons. To do this, the small, slow-moving creatures excrete silk from salivary glands near their mouths which they use like mortar to stick together almost every available material into a cozy tube. A few weeks later a fully developed caddisfly emerges and almost immediately flies away."
Since the 1980s Duprat has been collecting caddisfly larvae from their normal environments and transporting them to aquariums in his studio. There he gently removes their own natural cocoons and puts the larvae in tanks filled with materials such as pearls, beads, opals, turquoise and pieces of 18-karat gold. The insects still do exactly what comes naturally to them, but in doing so they create exquisite gilded sculptures that they temporarily call home. If you saw them out of context, you’d never guess they’d been created insects.
- Dated: 18th century
- Culture: Indian (Mughal)
- Measurements: overall length 40.5 cm
The dagger has a straight, double-edged, Damascus steel blade, grooved at the centre and slightly strengthened at the tip. It features a beautiful, dark green jade grip with an angled pommel, chiselled with floral motifs at the edge and enriched with rubies framed with yellow gold.
The silver-plated wooden scabbard is engraved and decorated at the upper parts with a bas-relieved garland and a band featuring an inscription in Arabic. There’s also a shell-shaped tip, a decorated suspension ring and remains of gilding.
For similar, jade grips decorated with hard stones and gold, see “Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour” by Robert Hales, pages 18-27. Also, this is interesting and rare blade, almost straight, has an unusual length considering the type of dagger.