Dagger and Sheath

gold hilt on a lac core, enamelled and set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds in gold kundan; watered steel blade; sheath of fabric-covered wood, with matching mounts

40cm (length)

The dagger and sheath bear witness to the close artistic contacts between Safavid Iran and Mughal India. The shape is Iranian, but the enamel colours and gems are northern Indian. The hilt is set with table-cut diamonds on a ground of translucent red enamel, while bands of small cabochon rubies line the outer edges and central moulding of the hilt. The sheath’s enamelled chape and locket are similarly decorated. The double-edged watered steel blade has a medial rib, and curves slightly.

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.451, pp.372–3.

P. Moura Carvalho, Gems and Jewels of Mughal India. Jewelled and enamelled objects from the 16th to 20th centuries, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XVIII, London 2010, cat.112, pp.212–3.