Art of Swords

Sword
/sôrd/
Noun
1. A weapon consisting typically of a long, straight or slightly curved, pointed blade having one or two cutting edges and set into a hilt.
2. An instrument of death or destruction.

Silver Khanjar with Watered Steel Blade

~~~

Medium: Ottoman

Location: Turkey

Dated: 18th century

Dimensions: length: 55cm, weight: 622g

~~~

This khanjar (or kanjar) comprises a curved double-edged watered steel blade with a medial ridge, and a hilt and sheaf entirely sheathed in silver. The pommel and the guard of the hilt are engraved with ribbon, bow and quiver designs commonly seen on other examples of Ottoman silver such as vases and drinking vessels and these motifs are whimsically interspersed with forest strawberries.

The scabbard is stamped with a clear Ottoman tughra and the top of the hilt has an associated etched ‘zig-zag’ assay mark. The upper section of the blade is overlaid with Arabic inscriptions in gold on both sides (there are no losses to the gold overlay.) The inscription is short and appears to be Koranic: the Arabic word for ‘Allah’ is evident.

A closely related khanjar is in the collection of the Tarskoye Selo Palace near St Petersurg. The St Petersburg example, also entirely sheathed in silver, has an almost identical Arabic inscription on the blade. The etched design on the top of the handle is almost identical, suggesting that the Palace knife and this knife came from the same workshop. The Tarskoye Selo knife is attributed to the eighteenth century, allowing a similar dating for this knife.

Source & Copyright: Michael Backman Ltd

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