SILVER MECCA JAMBIYA
Place of Origin: Arabia
Date: Late 19th - Early 20th Century
Overall: 315mm (12 ½ inches)
As in the previous piece of this catalogue, this dagger’s form would suggest that it ought to be classified as a ‘Mecca jambiya’.
The dagger’s horn hilt is encased in silver fittings, two domed silver caps adorning each end of the two-pronged pommel. Between these caps, at the centre of the pommel, is a stylised rosette with a stud at its centre – a form repeated at the other flared end of the hilt. The grip’s centre is further attached with silver beaded lines and flowerheads which alternate with the same roundels that appear on the previous dagger in this catalogue, as well as on other examples of jambiya.
This style of decoration continues firstly over the throat of the scabbard with tightly packed rows of filigree work and foliate decoration in silver. A diagonal band bisects the frontal face of the scabbard approximately halfway along its length, engraved with a series of flowerheads and attached at each of its short edges with three flowerhead-eyelets for fitting the dagger to a belt. The main section of the scabbard (excluding the diagonal band) is further enhanced by borders at each edge of intricate geometric openwork. This, the scabbard’s large striated pommel (or thum) and other features together indicate that this piece likely fits into the ‘Mecca jambiya’ type.
Two similar daggers – reflecting both the form and decorative style of our example – have formerly belonged to well-known European personalities, the first being that of Lawrence of Arabia, sold by Christie’s in 2015, and the second having belonged to Pierre Loti and subsequently published by Stephane Pradines.
 Stéphane Pradines, La Collection d’armes orientales de Pierre Loti, Les Indes savantes, 2019, pp. 76-77.