Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Sword (Kaskara)

Date:
hilt, late 19th century; blade, 1848–96
Culture:
hilt, Sudanese; blade, Iranian
Medium:
Steel, copper alloy, wood, leather, gold
Dimensions:
L. 40 1/2 in. (103 cm); L. of blade 34 11/16 in. (88 cm); W. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 14 oz. (1304.1 g)
Classification:
Swords
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1977
Accession Number:
1977.162.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 380
Straight-bladed swords with cruciform guards and disk-shaped pommels, known as kaskaras, are typical of the Sahara region, particularly Sudan. While the hilt of this example was locally made, the fine blade of crucible (“watered”) steel is Iranian and bears the name of Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar, who ruled Iran from 1848 to 1896. This sword was taken as booty by the British general James Grenfell Maxwell at the battle of Omdurman, during the Mahdi uprising in Sudan, on September 2, 1898.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arms and Armor from the Islamic World," February 10, 2016–January 2, 2017.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Stuart W. Pyhrr, and Helmut Nickel. MMA Notable Acquisitions 1975-1979 (1979). pp. 27-29, ill.

Nickel, Helmut. "Neun Schwerter aus dem Lande des Mahdi." Waffen- Und Kostümkunde: Zeitschrift Der Gesellschaft Für Historische Waffen Und Kostümkunde 35 (1993). p. 47, figs, 2,3, ill.

Alexander, David, Stuart W. Pyhrr, and Will Kwiatkowski. Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. pp. 180-181, cat. no. 68, ill.



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