Place of Origin: India & Turkey
Date: 17th -18th Century
Overall Length: 510mm (20 Inches)
The pale ‘pistol-grip’ hilt of this jade dagger (or khanjar) has been carved to depict a harmonious floral pattern at its guard and pommel. A symmetrical flowerhead of precise proportions with incised petals sits between the lobed quillons which have themselves been cleverly worked to resemble unfurling leaves. Another flowerhead with splayed foliage reappears at the centre of the pommel, the hilt’s brim lined with a row of ridged leaves.
The watered steel blade is Turkish and overlaid in gold with a spiralling foliate pattern over one face at the forte, and at the other with a calligraphic verse from the Qur’an, which reads as follows:
“Help from Allah and a speedy victory. So give the Glad Tidings to the Believers.” (Surah 61 (al-Saff), part of vs. 13.)
A similar dagger was published by Runjeet Singh in Arms & Armour from the East 2016 (Cat. No. 14). Another piece comparable for its fine jade carving comes from the Rothschild collection (Accession Number R890) and is currently on display at the Louvre in Paris. The style and structure of such hilts beautifully illustrate the close relations that existed between the Deccan in southern India and the Ottoman empire: royal family members from the regions often intermarried.