Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Dagger (Kindjal) with Sheath

ca. 1840–50
Caucasian, possibly northern Dagestan
Steel, wood, silver, niello
L. with sheath 23 1/8 in. (58.7 cm); L. of sheath 18 3/4 in. (47.6 cm); W. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm); Wt. 1 lb. 4.8 oz. (589.7 g); Wt. of sheath 12 oz. (340.2 g)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, 1881
Accession Number:
81.1.599a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 379
This dagger has two central grooves in its steel blade. The handle and sheath have been decorated in niello, a black substance containing silver, copper, lead, and sulphur, that is a striking contrast to the silver ground. In the Caucasus, daggers such as this one were inseparable companions of Caucasian men and used for a variety of purposes, such as weapons, cork screws, and paper cutters, as well as dance accessories. Nineteenth-century photographs of Caucasian men in native dress frequently include such daggers, which are attached to their belts in a diagonal manner.
Stephen Whitney Phoenix, New York (until d. 1881; bequeathed to MMA).
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