An Ottoman nephrite hilted bejewelled Ottoman hançer
Ottoman Empire, Turkey, 19th century
The dagger’s hilt is carved from a single block of pale nephrite jade with an ethereal, luminescent glow. Eye-shaped garnets and emeralds are inset over the grip in a symmetrical arrangement using the kundan technique and evoking tiny blossoms, with a vibrant, fully open matching floral design at the top. The Damascus steel blade is slightly curved in an elegant line and of superior quality. The robust, engraved, fuller, reinforced by double grooves, rises boldly from a central, leafy design in gold on both sides of the blade. The scabbard has, just beneath the locket, a natural bright blue star sapphire (confirmed by using a digital microscope). The silver shows traces of gold inlay and has mounts exuberantly decorated with roses of numerous sparkling rubies, emeralds, spinels, and beryls.
L. 48 cm / L. 29.5 cm (blade)
Runjeet Singh ltd., London
This opulent hançer, or dagger, represents a fine example of this weapon type and is well preserved. These ceremonial weapons are known to have been presented to Edward
VII and are preserved in the Royal Collection Trust today. Similar daggers, such as some with calligraphic inscriptions, can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (access. no. 36.25.994) and the British Museum (access no. 1878,1230.902). Blades like the one present are tempered in such a way as to display distinctive motifs of banding and mottling, which are reminiscent of flowing water. In addition, they are resistant to shattering and can be honed to a sharp, resilient edge. For a comparable dagger, see: Alexander, Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 79.
- Robert Elgood, The Arms of Greece and Her Balkan
Neighbours in the Ottoman Period, Thames and Hudson,
London, 2009. p. 34 (ill.)
- David Alexander, Stuart W. Pyhrr, & Will Kwiatkowski,
Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015, pp. 203–205 (ill.)