Place of Origin: Persia (modern-day Iran)
Date: 19th Century
Overall Length: 410mm (16 Inches)
The carving exhibited on the bone grips of this khanjar is delightful. On one face of the hilt, a moustachioed figure draped in finery and sat atop a short throne looks out towards the viewer amidst an array of trinkets and flowerheads on a cross-hatched ground. The lines of his baggy garms are picked out in fine detail, the entire scene set within an inverted frame of curling arches flanked by mysterious animal heads. The reverse is similar in style, though instead the scene shows a pair of moustachioed men engaged deep in conversation, the figure at the left holding a sceptre and orb in his hands. A third character of smaller proportions kneels before them in supplication.
A panel at the forte of the blade depicts a hooved animal under attack by a long-tailed lion in gold, the scene framed within a lobed arch and the remaining background filled with upturning vines and blossoming flowerheads. The curved blade is forged from a steel which has been faux-damascus etched. A red velvet-covered wooden scabbard accompanies the dagger and is fitted with a chape and locket overlaid throughout in gold with foliate motifs and panels of Islamic calligraphy.
Examples of similar quality are found in various museum collections. Two in the Wallace Collection (Inv. Nos. OA1713 and OA1714) and another at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Accession Number 36.25.1058) are useful comparanda.