CAUCASIAN HUNTING KNIFE
Place of Origin: Tiflis, Georgia
Date: 19th Century
Overall Length (out of scabbard): 400mm (15 ¾ Inches)
In place of twin grip-scales, this exceptionally rare and important hunting knife, originating from the old city of Tiflis (or Tbilisi) in Georgia, has a walrus-ivory handle formed from a single piece, the steel bolster decorated in gold on a cross-hatched surface with vine tendrils and three-leafed splays. The lobed panel at the base of the blade is decorated mostly en suite with the bolster, though its gilt foliage slopes downwards and rises again to display the head of a long-beaked bird in profile. The blade itself is forged from coveted bulat (or ‘wootz’) steel that exhibits an elegant patterning over its surface and maintains its broad section for the greater part of its length before the spine and section thin and taper to a slender point.
The kard is complete with its original wooden scabbard covered in black velvet and fitted with a chape and locket of pattern-welded Damascus steel which have been generously overlaid in gold with arabesque panels and other foliate designs. Remarkably, even the leather strap and bracket used to secure the dagger to the wearer’s left side are extant.
In this case, the most important dagger with which we can compare the present example is one preserved in the Hermitage Collection in Saint Petersburg, Russia, especially with reference to its blade (Inv. No. B.O.-2287).
 See Vsevolod Obraztsov (2021), Oriental Arms and Armour in the Hermitage Collection, State Hermitage Museum, pp.148-149.