Hilt of a Dagger
possibly Italian, Venice
L. 5 in. (12.7 cm); W. 2 5/16 (5.9 cm); D. 1 9/16 (4 cm); Wt. 5.4 oz (153.1 g)
Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Funds from various donors, 1929
Not on view
This very unusual hilt was purchased by Arms and Armor founding curator Bashford Dean from a Parisian dealer about 1895 and is his earliest personal acquisition that can be identified in the Metropolitan Museum's collection today. Dean considered it to be possibly Venetian and made about 1300. He may have interpreted the strongly Asian nature of the dragons entwined around the grip as indicative of a place where eastern and western styles mixed, and therefore concluded that it originated in Venice, an active crossroads between Europe and Asia in the Middle Ages. The actual place of origin and date of this hilt, however, remain open to question.
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