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AN OTTOMAN DAGGER
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AN OTTOMAN DAGGER

TURKEY, BLADE 16TH CENTURY, MOUNTS 18TH CENTURY

Details
AN OTTOMAN DAGGER
TURKEY, BLADE 16TH CENTURY, MOUNTS 18TH CENTURY
The tapering gently curving double-edged blade with central openwork groove issuing from an upper raised panel with trefoil terminal, this panel inlaid with gold, one side with meandering arabesques interlaced with prunus blossom, the other side with cloudbands reserved on a gold ground, upper groove with inset steel balls, raised lower panel similar inlaid to the upper one, the simple plain silver hilt and sheath with applied band of floral designs around the juncture, very slight damages and loss of inlay
12¾in. (32.3cm.) long
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Lot Essay

The blade of this dagger is one of a number of similar blades all of which can be attributed to the royal workshops in Istanbul in the first half of the 16th century. Typified with fine interlaced arabesques one one side of the blade, usually with cloudband or a different contrasting design on the other, they frequesntly, as here, have a central groove incorporating steel bearings. One of these, in the Topkapi Saray Palace, has a hilt which identifies it as having been made for Sultan Selim I in 1514-15. (Atil, Esin: The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, exhibition catalogue, Washington D.C., 1987, no.91, p.158). The inscriptions on the hilt of this dagger further include the phrase "feth-i Iran" (conquest of Iran), indicating that it was made to commemorate the battel of Chaldiran. It is very possible that these blades were made by the Tabrizi craftsmen who were taken back to Istanbul by the sultan.

A number of related blades are known, some slightly curving and some straight. The example closest to the present blade is in the Khalili Collection (Alexander, David: The Arts of War, London and Oxford, 1992, no.51, pp.102-3). A particularly fine example, formerly in the posession of F.R.Martin was attributed to "Herat, circa 1500" (Meisterwerke Muhammedanischer Kunst, exhibition catalogue, Munich, 1910, no.237, pl.241), while two more are in the Stibbert Museum, Florence (Robinson, Hnry Russell: Il Museo Stibbert a Firenze, vol. 1, pl.106a) and in a Danish collection (Islamiske Vaben i dansk privateje, exhibition catalogue, Copenhagen, 1982, no.68, p.110).
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