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An ankusha, a sharpened goad with a pointed hook, was the main tool for managing an elephant. The ankusha first appeared in India in the 6th-5th century BC and has been used ever since, not only there, but wherever elephants served man.[2]


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In iconography and ceremonial ritual tools, the elephant goad is often included in a hybridized tool, for example one that includes elements of Vajrakila, 'hooked knife' or 'skin flail' (Tibetan: gri-gug, Sanskrit: kartika), Vajra and Axe, as well as the goad functionality for example. Ritual Ankusha were often finely wrought of precious metals and even fabricated from ivory, often encrusted with jewels. In Dharmic Traditions the goad/ankusha and rope 'noose/snare/lasso' (Sanskrit: Pāśa) are traditionally paired as tools of subjugation.[7]

In the Tattvasamgraha tantra (c 7th century), one of the most important tantras of the Buddhist Yoga Tantra Class, the ankusha figures in the visualization of one of the retinue. This tantra explains the process of the visualization of the Vajradhatu Mandala, which is one of the most visually stylized of Buddhist mandalas. The Ankusha is the symbolic attribute for the visualization of the Bodhisattva Vajraraja, an emanation within the retinue of Vajradhatu. This visualization is treated in Tachikawa (c2000: p. 237).[11]

Also known as an elephant goad, this tool consists of a 2- to 3-foot rod ending in a spearhead and a backward-facing hook. Traditionally used to train and direct large animals, the ankus can be used as a weapon in a pinch.

But Mowgli naturally did not understand what these things meant. The knives interested him a little, but they did not balance so well as his own, and so he dropped them. At last he found something really fascinating laid on the front of a howdah half buried in the coins. It was a three-foot ankus, or elephant-goad- -something like a small boat-hook. The top was one round, shining ruby, and eight inches of the handle below it were studded with rough turquoises close together, giving a most satisfactory grip. Below them was a rim of jade with a flower-pattern running round it--only the leaves were emeralds, and the blossoms were rubies sunk in the cool, green stone. The rest of the handle was a shaft of pure ivory, while the point--the spike and hook--was gold-inlaid steel with pictures of elephant-catching; and the pictures attracted Mowgli, who saw that they had something to do with his friend Hathi the Silent.

They were glad to get to the light of day once more; and when they were back in their own Jungle and Mowgli made the ankus glitter in the morning light, he was almost as pleased as though he had found a bunch of new flowers to stick in his hair.

They had not gone half a mile farther when they heard Ko, the Crow, singing the death-song in the top of a tamarisk under whose shade three men were lying. A half-dead fire smoked in the centre of the circle, under an iron plate which held a blackened and burned cake of unleavened bread. Close to the fire, and blazing in the sunshine, lay the ruby-and-turquoise ankus.

Two nights later, as the White Cobra sat mourning in the darkness of the vault, ashamed, and robbed, and alone, the turquoise ankus whirled through the hole in the wall, and clashed on the floor of golden coins.

Textual note: "The King's Ankus" as printed in the first edition of The Second Jungle Book ends with the words "Close to the fire, and blazing in the sunshine, lay the ruby-and-turquoise ankus.", inadvertently omitting approximately 500 words from the end of the story. The error was corrected in subsequent printings, but has been perpetuated in some reprint editions that have used the first edition as their source.

A south Indian pierced iron elephant goad or ankus. Such hooks are used by the mahout (the keepers, trainers and drivers of elephants) to control elephants. The elephant was a huge beast, only those of considerable wealth could afford elephants and thus the ankus also served as a status symbol.

Their importance is underscored by the fact that the best example of South Indian metalwork known in the world is not a sword, but an ankus. Now in the Bostom Museum of Fine Arts, accession number 1995.11.

As for dating, most museums date their to the 17th century but I cannot find any reason why it would be that old. It seems more likely to me that they were 19th-century pieces, made to be carried during official assemblies and/or parades. They are all notably shorter than most practical ankus which leads one towards a more ceremonial rather than practical function.

Wearing this ankus possibly conveyed a certain status. Elephants were expensive, and dangerous assets in the field. Those who managed to train and control them well were of considerable importance. Elephant trainers were often trusted with important tasks during processions, hunting, and warfare. These under-sized ankuses may have been emblems of rank carried by such persons when not on the elephant, for example when assembling in a durbar, a public official reception.

Mowgli scorns to kill him, as he also scorns the royal jewels and coins he does not understand. His curiosity only bids him take the jewelled and golden ankus or royal elephant yoke. And in a day, he sees four men lose their lives in lust for it.

The ankus is a hooked device used to steer elephants. It deals only subdual damage, but because of its hook, you can also use it to make trip attacks. You can drop the ankus to avoid being tripped during your own trip attempt. The ankus has 10-foot teach.

In short, Los Angeles and some other US cities have either banned or are considering banning the ankus, the traditional tool for guiding elephants. The ankus, also known as an elephant goad or bull-hook is a two or three-foot-long stick with a metal point and hook on one end and is the only means of controlling an elephant in what's known as free contact management. That is, where elephant and handler are in an unenclosed space such as a street or circus ring. Not using an ankus would be the equivalent of walking a horse through a public space without a rein.

With the ankus outlawed, Ringling has the choice of leaving its elephants out of the show or taking its show out of the city. For an entertainment company that needs to be where the crowds are, that's a simple decision.

Opponents see the bull-hook as an instrument of pain and punishment. Sadly, there is much video evidence of hooks being used in an abusive way. Fed a diet of such images by animal rights groups, it's no wonder many legislators and members of the public believe that is the ankus' only purpose.

Elephant handlers, however, maintain the ankus is a simple guiding tool which, when used correctly, is no more detrimental to an elephant than a horse rider's crop or spurs, or the bit in a horse's mouth.

When Anne the elephant was moved from a circus to Longleat safari park, animal rights groups were perturbed to see that her new handlers continued to use the ankus. The park's director Dr Jonathan Cracknell defended the practise, stating it was "not a tool of domination... but more akin to that of a rope on a horse, used to guide her in the right direction and communicate what we need her to do."

The Management Guidelines for The Welfare of Zoo Animals - Elephants, published by the British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA) sets out how an ankus can be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement and the association with verbal commands to train elephants in a humane way.

To see the ankus used correctly, watch this video of Willie Thieson, the elephant manager of a zoo in Pittsburgh, showing TV news presenter Sally Wiggin how to use a hook to make an elephant lie down for a veterinary procedure. "The hook is not as sharp as it looks," Wiggins observes, "and I barely had to touch her to get a response." 041b061a72


Céline Héloïse Larcade, Laure Molina, Nawal Touil, Nicolas T...


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