Place of Origin: Persia (modern-day Iran)
Date: 18th Century
Overall Length: 410mm (16 Inches)
The hilt and general form of this dagger are typical, but the quality of the enamelling here is exceptional. Flowers in bloom adorn the front and back of the hilt in hues of sapphire-blue and magenta on milk-white grounds, their vines and stems generously overlaid with gold. The sides repeat similar floral motifs, though the ground instead exhibits a deep turquoise colour.
The blade curves very gently and tapers just towards the tip, a medial ridge cut over the greater part of its length. The dagger is accompanied by a modern scabbard made in the traditional Persian style from tooled leather and fitted with a horn finial. The enamelwork has been retouched slightly, particularly at the pommel (the pommel stone is also a later replacement).
Hilts of this type with brightly enamelled decoration are found in a wide range of countries in the Near and Middle East, including Turkey, Persia, and Syria. A comparandum exhibiting both similar colours and an identical decorative pattern-structure is preserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Accession Number 32.75.263a, b), and another dagger with decoration similar to that seen on our example was recently sold at Sotheby’s.
 Sotheby’s, Lot 147 (“An enamelled dagger and scabbard, Persia, dated A.H. 121/A.D. 1795”), Arts of the Islamic World, London, 1st April 2019.