Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Sword Guard in the Form of Confronted Dragons

Period:
Timurid period (1370–1507)
Date:
14th–early 15th century
Culture:
Central Asia
Medium:
Nephrite; carved
Dimensions:
H. 2 in. (5.1 cm); W. 4 in. (10.2 cm); D. 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm)
Classification:
Jade
Credit Line:
Gift of Heber R. Bishop, 1902
Accession Number:
02.18.765
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
Timurid royalty admired the qualities of nephrite (jade). The carved pieces that survive from the period include engraved rings and at least two dragon-handled white jade jugs. Also, at least two jade dragon-headed sword guards are known, including this example, created from the finest and rarest type of nephrite—black jade. Known for its hardness, jade is extremely difficult to carve, underscoring the exceptional quality of this highly detailed carving of confronted dragon heads with protruding tongues.
Heber R. Bishop , New York (until 1902; donated to MMA)
Washington. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Timur and the Princely Vision. Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century," April 14, 1989–July 6, 1989, no. 51.

Los Angeles. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Timur and the Princely Vision. Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century," August 13, 1989–November 5, 1989, no. 51.

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600–1600," January 22, 2005–April 15, 2005.

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