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A RARE IMPERIAL MUGHAL-STYLE CEREMONIAL SWORD AND SCABBARD
A RARE IMPERIAL MUGHAL-STYLE CEREMONIAL SWORD AND SCABBARD

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A RARE IMPERIAL MUGHAL-STYLE CEREMONIAL SWORD AND SCABBARD
QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

The sword formed of an elongated S-shape, fitted with a mottled grey nephrite handle terminating in a rounded pommel, the opposing end attached to a gilt-metal sword-guard cast in relief with floral scrolls separating the slender blade, the blade indented on each of the flat sides with double grooves, tapering to the gently upturned tip; the scabbard formed of wood, covered with a shagreen veneer, bound with pierced gilt-metal bands for attachment, set between similarly cast floral mounts protecting the mouth rim and the tip
35 5/8 in. (90.5 cm.) across

Lot Essay

Although there are a number of related Mughal daggers of this type constructed with similarly shaped handles of nephrite jade or rock crystal, swords of this present S-shaped form are extremely rare.

A closely comparable Qianlong sword with a white jade handle in the Shenyang Palace Museum was included in the exhibition, Son of Heaven, Imperial Arts of China, Seattle and Ohio, 1988/89, and illustrated in the Catalogue, p. 81, no. 20. The Shenyang sword is accompanied with a scabbard made of the bark of peach trees, rather than veneered with shark's skin as in the case of the present lot. Shark's skin lining is usually found on the surface of scabbards, mounted with blunt gilt-metal tips, that are typical Manchu in style such as those worn by high ranking military officials as depicted in servitor Court paintings such as the portrait of Moer Gen Batulu Daketana, Imperial Guard of the First Rank, sold in these Rooms, 29 April 2001, lot 580. A ceremonial sword and scabbard of the type worn by Manchu officials was sold in these Rooms, 29 April 2002, lot 585.

Compare with related Mughal daggers with similarly rounded pommel of the handles, all embellished with gem-stones, the first illustrated by Yang Xin and Zhu Chengru, Secret World of the Forbidden City, Splendours from China's Imperial Palace, The Bower Museum of Cultural Art, California, p.88-89, with a cowhide scabbard; and two other daggers sold in these Rooms, 300 Years of Jade, 30 October 2000, lot 667.
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