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Place of Origin: Turkey (Ottoman empire)

Date: 19th Century

Overall: 415mm (16 ¼ inches)

Blade: 285mm (11 ¼ inches)

Reference: 440

Status: Sold

Full Description:

This magnificent kindjal was made in the Ottoman Empire in 1850 during the reign of Abdulmejid I (Ottoman Turkish: عبد المجيد اول, romanized: Abdülmecîd-i evvel, Turkish: I. Abdülmecid; 25 April 1823 – 25 June 1861), who was the 31st Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned from 2 July 1839 – 25 June 1861 and succeeded his father Mahmud II on 2 July 1839. As we know, many Caucasian Muhajirs (settlers) lived in Ottoman Empire and served in the army of the Ottoman Sultan – some of them to become famous commanders and generals. Many of the Caucasian craftsmen worked in Ottoman workshops, including in the court of the Ottoman Sultan[1].

The piece is highly decorated using fine gold decorations to depict intricate stylized foliage; the dagger is likely ceremonial and probably belonged to a high-ranking officer. Contrary to the single, offset groove on each face of the blade that appears on most examples, our piece displays a double-groove. The scabbard is decorated en suite with the hilt in gold-inlaid mounts, the elongated chape cut at its end into a faceted flower-bud finial.

The kindjal dagger has a long and rich socio-cultural history in the Caucasus. It dates back as far as the 3rd century B.C. – its shape and weight drew are based on the Roman gladius sword-type – and continued to be refined over three millennia, from a blade made of copper or bronze to one made of steel, allowing the dagger to become stronger and narrower over time with improved efficiency in combat. This wonderful dagger likely belonged to a high ranking officer or Pasha in the Ottoman Imperial Army.

The present example matches well with the shashka included in this catalogue[2]. Similar pieces can also be seen in the State Hermitage Museum[3].


Private European collection


[1] Caucasian craftsmen worked not only in Russia and Central Asia (Bukhara and Samarkand), but also in the Middle East (Ottoman Empire).  This is also noted by researcher R. Alikhanov in Art of Kubachi (A., 1976. p. 53) and evidenced by the descendants of the Kubachi, Lak masters - including Daud Efendiev, a silversmith and a descendant of old masters, resident of the village of Duki, Lak district of Dagestan.  According to him, at different times the Laks and Kubachins worked in Istanbul, including in the court workshop of the Turkish Sultan. See also: Searching For Lost Relics, I. & Kh. Askhabov, 2016. p. 129.

[2] See item number 16.

[3] See Yurij A. Miller, Caucasian Arms from the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. The Art of Weaponry in Caucasus and Transcaucasia in the 18th and 19th Centuries, Devantier, Næstved [Denmark], 2000.


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