Details & Cataloguing

Arts of the Islamic World


A Mughal jade-hilted dagger with Ottoman gem-set decoration, India and Turkey, 17th-18th century
the double-sided curved watered-steel blade with central ridge and forte with gold-overlaid arabesques and inscription, jade hilt with pistol grip decorated with gem-set, foil-backed floral stems, the textile-covered wooden scabbard with en-suite design
Quantity: 2
51.3cm. max.
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Ex-collection Max Dreger, Berlin, before 1925.
Sammlung Max Dreger / Berlin, Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus, Berlin, 8 December 1925, lot 82.
Ex-Collection Brøns Hansen, Copenhagen, 1980s.


Griffwaffen aus der Sammlung Max Dreger / Berlin: Europa und Orient, Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus, Berlin, Katalog 1947, 8 Dezember 1925.
Islamic Arms and Armour from Private Danish Collections, Copenhagen, 1982, pp.144-5, no.102.
Vaaben-historiske aarbøger, XXXV, Copenhagen, 1989, p.83, fig.74a.

Catalogue Note


'O Ali'
'O Opener [of the gates of sustenance]'

A comparable dagger was first recorded in the collection of the Türckische Cammer ('Turkish Chamber') of the Electors of Saxony in Dresden in 1838 (inv. no.Y143). The Russian army seized numerous daggers of this sort in 1828 when they plundered the Ottomans during the occupation of Varna in the Greek War of Independence (1827-29). Prince Carl of Prussia came to be the owner of the Dresden dagger after he received it from his brother-in-law, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, and later traded it with the Dresden Rüstkammer for another object (H. Schuckelt, The Turkish Chamber: Oriental Splendour in the Dresden Armoury, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2010, pp.124-5).

Weapons such as the present example became greatly appreciated as foreign courtly objects, perhaps owing to a lasting struggle for supremacy between the East and West, in which arms and armour played a key role (Grancsay 1958, p.256). However, they also had significance as gifts in order to establish diplomatic relationships between rulers (ibid, p.241).

Arts of the Islamic World