Turkey and Germany
16th and 17th centuries
blade of gold-damascened steel with pearls; hilt of lapis lazuli and gilt silver; sheath of leather-covered wood with silver mounts
36cm (length, dagger); 26.5cm (sheath)
The steel blade, with armour-piercing tip, is slightly curved and is slit along its length. It is datable by its superb gold damascening to circa 1540–50. The panel below the hilt bears three freely moving seed pearls. Blades of this high quality reached 16th-century Western Europe as diplomatic gifts. The 17th-century European hilt, which is probably German, is of faceted lapis lazuli set in a silver quillon-block: the quillons terminate in a down-turned feline’s head and the up-turned face of a moustachioed barbarian. The engraving of the silver-gilt collar is en suite with that on the silver mounts of the black leather-covered sheath. Both are a creditable version of a mid-16th century Ottoman hatayi scroll.
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.51, p.102. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.412, p.346–7.