An exceptional Silver-plated Ottoman Jambiya with Tughra.
A Jambiya is the Arabic term used to describe a dagger with s short curved blade and medial ridge. This type of dagger originated in Yemen but was quickly adopted and transformed by travellers from the Ottoman Empire, Persia and India (Shackleford, Steve (2010). Blade’s guide to knives & their values, Krause Publications. p. 405). The Turkish term for this type of dagger hançer. When they reached the Ottoman Empire, the blade was changed; made slightly longer with a less apparent curve. Though the Jambiya is very much a practical weapon with real combat function, rich examples were used for court and ceremonial wear as a sign of status.
Our example features a Wootz double-edged blade with a pronounced medial ridge. The blade is straight for the first two-thirds and contains a slight curve for the last quarter in order to maintain the traditional Jambiya design. The tip has a very acute armour piercing point to enhance the armour-piercing capabilities of the dagger.
Over the hilt and the entirety sheath, there is a clear and clean silver wash. This creates a very unique and uniform design for our example as the sheath and handle blend into one, uninterrupted, object. The top of the sheath is decorated with the traditional Ottoman silver bands and strips to form a wired braid. The sheath is also stamped with a Tughra (signature of a Sultan (ruler)) just below it. As this is a 19th century Jambiya, the Tughra most probably belonged to either Sultan Mahmud II or Adbulhamid II. A Tughra is characterised by the two loops on the left side, three vertical lines down the centre, writing on the bottom (called a sere – where the name of the Sultan is written) and two further extensions on the right; all of which are visible on the sheaths Tughra. Our sheath is comparable to one attributed to Prince Ioannes Karatzas see Robert Elgood; The arms of Greece and her Balkan neighbours in the Ottoman period, Thames & Hudson, London, 2009. Page 253.
Overall a rare dagger in fine quality and condition. The design is simple and does not contain too much decoration, making it simplistic, yet elegantly striking, with prominent aesthetic shape. The only one of its type on the market so far.