• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7751

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    6 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 237

    A SILVER STANDARD TAKEN AFTER THE BATTLE OF OMDURMAN

    IN THE NAME OF MUHAMMAD AL-MAHDI, SUDAN, DATED 2ND SEPTEMBER 1898

    Price Realised  

    A SILVER STANDARD TAKEN AFTER THE BATTLE OF OMDURMAN
    IN THE NAME OF MUHAMMAD AL-MAHDI, SUDAN, DATED 2ND SEPTEMBER 1898
    In the form of a spear, of sheet silver on wooden core, each third with two large spherical elements, the tapering terminal decorated with an inscribed almond-shaped medallion, the shaft with two vertical bands of repoussé decoration of meandering floral scrolls, rings with engraved inscriptions above and below each sphere with the bismallah, the shahada, a silver plate in the middle of the shaft bearing the inscription "Omdurman, 2nd September 1898", minor splits and cracks
    47½in. (120.6cm.) long


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    The inscriptions read:
    On the terminal: nasr wa fath min Allah (Victory and triumph from God)
    On one of the rings: Muhammad al-Mahdi khalifa rasul Allah (Muhammad al-Mahdi successor of the Prophet of God)

    At the Battle of Omdurman on 2 September 1898 an Anglo Egyptian force led by the future Field Marshal Lord Kitchener of Khartoum destroyed the army of the Khalifa Abdullahi and with it the Mahdist state which had ruled Sudan since the death of Gordon fourteen years earlier, opening the way to British rule in Sudan. Abdullahi was the successor to the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmed (1844-1885) who had proclaimed Jihad in 1881. The battle was marked by the courage of the Mahdist forces in the face of superior weapons, and by the last cavalry charge by the British army, in which the young Winston Churchill participated.

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