Place of Origin: Persia
Date: 17th Century
Overall: 394mm (15.5 inches)
Grips of walrus ivory form the handle of this Persian kard. Its heavy blade of wootz Damascus steel has a panel of scrolling foliage and arabesques in high-relief at its base and then finishes in an armour-piercing tip. The bolster caps are decorated with a large, pierced panel of complex calligraphy (which is undeciphered) while the backstrap has a delightful, long calligraphic verse from the Qur’an:
نصر من لله وﻭفتح قرﯾﻳب وﻭبشر اﺍلمؤمنﯿﻴن
“Help from Allah and a speedy victory. So give the Glad Tidings to the Believers.” (Surah 61 (al-Saff), part of vs. 13.)1
This is set within a jali: a decorative supporting framework for the Arabic letters. The kard’s wooden scabbard survives and is covered with black, tooled leather and completed by a silver chape and locket, chased with floral decorations.
A similarly pierced kard dagger is in the Tanavoli collection2 and dated 1024 H (1615–1616 AD).
1 Qur’anic translation taken from Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation & Commentary (3rd ed.), Lahore, 1938.
2 Allan, Persian Steel: The Tanavoli Collection, 2000, p.39, no.11.