Place of Origin: MUGHAL DOMINIONS or DECCAN, INDIA
Date: Circa 1800
Overall: 380mm (15 inches)
Daggers such as this were status symbols for Mughal courtiers, and important figures within the court – princes, nobles or officials – would often be honoured with fine examples. The pale green jade handle of ours is of typical ‘pistol-grip’ form, the pommel carved with stylised irises amidst further flowerheads and leaved tendrils within a curving border of small sloped segments that line the pommel’s brim. The lobed flaring quillons are decorated en suite, exhibiting a display of bifurcated branches of leaves which surround a central iris of similar design to that on the pommel, though now brandishing pollen-producing filaments and anthers, as if to suggest that the flower’s life-giving functions have emerged ‘since’ the pommel.
The blade is attached at the ricasso with a gilt-silver plaque which has been cut with a symmetrical foliate outline. The long and slender blade exhibits a watered pattern, a central medial ridge running along the greater part of its length just before it merges with the adjacent tapering planes of the blade’s section into the reinforced tip.
The blade is accompanied with a wooden scabbard which has been covered with a purple-red fabric and fitted with a locket and chape of gilt silver.
Two jade-hilted daggers in the al-Sabah collection show the same carved motif of unfurling irises in bloom on their hilts.
 Salam Kaoukji, Precious Indian Weapons and other Princely Accoutrements: the al-Sabah Collection, Thames & Hudson, 2017, pp. 162-3; 194-5, Cat Nos. 53 & 66 respectively.