North Indian sword fitted with a straight Syrian single edge blade of watered steel chiselled with Islamic inscriptions in Safavid Persian (including “Whatever Allah intends; there is no power and no strength save in Allah, the Supreme, the Almighty”). The gilt brass hilt incorporates a pommel formed as a parrot’s head applied with paste eyes, and is engraved overall with flowering foliage. The decoration of the hilt and locket strongly suggests that they are a product of the Indian city of Bhuj.

This sword is closely related to sword NN18556, but is somewhat superior in quality. The blade is one of a large and frequently encountered group of blades probably made in Syria (some sources say Iran). They are straight, single edged, and made from watered steel (called johar, alsodaban)of dark colour (calledKhara, also Qara) chiselled with pious Islamic inscriptions within a long rectangular cartouche, together with smaller cartouches which contain the Persian lion and simple invocations such as “Oh! Wish-fulfiller�.They are often enhanced with gold damascened decoration. These blades are commonly found on assorted Arab swords, and were exported in large numbers to the Arabian Peninsula, and to within the Ottoman Empire. See A. Jacob “Les armes blanches du monde islamique� Bologna, 1985. pp. 109 and 134. See also ‘Weapons of the Islamic World’ (author not acknowledged) King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh, 1991, pp. 64-68.

Collection Information

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