AN OTTOMAN GEM-SET JADE DAGGER

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Origin: Ottoman Turkey

Date: 19th century

Materials: Jade, gold, rubies and Steel.

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Description

A scarce Ottoman gem-set dagger.

The hilt is formed of a single block of Jade with absolutely no faults. The colour is not the traditional green, but rather of a light colour, with a light blue hue. The pommel is inlaid with a thick and bright layer of gold in the form of vines. These vines are crafted to precision and house the en suite perfectly crafted rubies that are in the form of flower heads. From the top of the hilt, to the lobbed quillons, the design is consistent and deliberate. The gold work and red rubies encapsulate royalty and provide a splendid contrast to the light hilt; therefore making them more prominent and the centre of attention. Such hilts were purpose built:

 

…a large group of flamboyant gem-studded weapons that were probably made in Istanbul in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Their traditional shapes and luxurious materials were intended to evoke romantic notions of the exotic orient, Arabian Nights, or perhaps the sultan’s treasury. (The Met Museum, Accession number 23.232.6a, b)

 

The blade is similar to that of a Kindjal, double edged and long. Our example features a blade of superior quality. From the forte to the tip, there are engraved fullers, or grooves, which unleash the depth of the blade. The tip is reinforced to allow for armour piercing. At the forte of the blade, there is elegant, and greatly preserved, gold damascened work, which extends into the fullers and finishes above the reinforced armour piercing tip. The gold work is so vibrant and honest to the aesthetics of the dagger – that it keeps with the design of the hilt and naturally blends into it. There are no damages or signs or restoration to the blade, or jade hilt, making this a fit example of extraordinary preservation. For similar style blades, see The Met Museum, Accession number: 36.25.763a, b, 23.232.5a, b, 36.25.993a, b and 23.232.6a, b.

Overall, this is a real scarce type of dagger. In fine condition with a fantastic gem-set and gold embossed Jade hilt. The blade is also immaculate. A rare collectible item.

 

References:

Stone, George Cameron. A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, Together with Some Closely Related Subjects. Portland, ME: Southworth Press, 1934. p. 365, fig. 459, no. 10.

Grancsay, Stephen V., Thomas T. Hopes, George C. Stone, and Fred G. Blakeslee. [Boxed Set Containing “Brief Essays on Armor and Arms,” Nos. 1–4 and a Series of 17 Pamphlets of Photographs of Arms and Armor in Members’ Collections, Nos. 1–85]. New York: Armor and Arms Club, 1925. no. 50, fig. 2.

Vianello, Gianni. Armi in Oriente. 1st ed. ed. Milan: Fratelli Fabbri Editori, 1966. pl. 27 (called Persian Jambiya, 17th century).
Alexander, David, Stuart W. Pyhrr, and Will Kwiatkowski. Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. p. 12, fig. 13.

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