Knife with Ivory Hilt

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462

"Damascus" or "Watered" steel refers to blades like this one that have been given a wavy or "watered" pattern, created by specific smelting and crucible techniques, prior to forging. In Western Europe such blades were believed to originate from Damascus, though this technique was practiced in the Islamic Middle East at least since the Middle Ages. This 19th century example illustrates how even in the later period of Islamic art these artistic traditions remain popular and celebrated.

The forte and hilt of this dagger are covered with chiseled decoration of floral motifs, arabesques and cartouches containing ducks and lions– ornament that can be found on a variety of media in later Persian art.

Knife with Ivory Hilt, Steel, watered; ivory and gold

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