later 17th century or early 19th century
silk, tabby weave, enriched with metal thread
189 x 59.5cm
The principal motif of this section is the legendary bifurcated sword Dhu’l-Faqar which, according to Muslim tradition, was booty from the battle of Badr. The quillons, in the form of incurving dragons’ heads are peculiar to the banners of the Ottoman empire. Along the blade are references to those who fight in the Holy War, from surah al-Nisa’ (IV), verses 95 and 96.
Banners of this type are known from the late 17th century: notably, one was captured at the relief of Vienna in 1683, by one of the generals of John Sobieski, King of Poland. Later, however, like other banners facsimiles of this type were also made, for example, a banner in Münster (Westphalia) dated 1225 AH (1810–11 AD). [see TXT 329]
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.59, pp.112–13. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.388, p.328.