Sheath for a Dagger

Location: Ottoman Turkey

Materials: wood, covered with silver sheet worked in repoussé with chased and engraved detail, set with a coral

Dimensions: 22.5cm (length)

Accession Number: MTW 894

Other Notes:

The surface is worked with an arabesque of leaves, tendrils and chinoiserie lotuses, all on a punched ground. Along one edge is a frieze of animals, birds and a wyvern-like dragon which is about to catch a fleeing man by the foot, and a double-bodied snake-dragon. The tip is shaped like a dragon’s head holding a coral bead in its jaws.

Such motifs continue the repertoire of mid 16th-century Ottoman goldsmiths but their treatment here is more characteristic of the early 17th century.


D. Alexander, The Arts of War. Arms and Armour of the 7th to 19th Centuries, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XXI, London 1992, cat.48, p.100.