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Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Cover

Islamic Arms and Armor in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alexander, David G., with contributions by Stuart W. Pyhrr, and Will Kwiatkowski
2015
348 pages
400 illustrations
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Armor and weaponry were central to Islamic culture not only as a means of conquest and the spread of the faith, but also as symbols of status, wealth, and power. The finest arms were made by master craftsmen working with the leading designers, goldsmiths, and jewelers, whose work transformed utilitarian military equipment into courtly works of art. This book reveals the diversity and artistic quality of one of the most important and encyclopedic collections of its kind in the West.

The Metropolitan Museum's holdings span ten centuries and include representative pieces from almost every Islamic culture from Spain to the Caucasus. The collection includes rare early works, among them the oldest documented Islamic sword, and is rich in helmets and body armor, decorated with calligraphy and arabesques, that were worn in Iran and Anatolia in the late fifteenth century. Other masterpieces include a jeweled short sword (yatagan) with a blade of "watered" steel that comes from the court of Süleyman the Magnificent, a seventeenth-century gold-inlaid armor associated with Shah Jahan, and two gold-inlaid flintlock firearms belonging to the guard of Tipu Sultan of Mysore.

Presenting 126 objects, each handsomely photographed and richly documented with a detailed description and discussion of its technical, historical, and artistic importance, this overview of the Met's holdings is supplemented by an introductory essay on the formation of the collection, and appendixes on iconography and on Turkman-style armor.

Met Art in Publication

Cuirass, Steel, inlaid with gold
17th century
Helmet (Khula Khud), Steel, iron, copper alloy, Iranian
Iranian
first half 19th century
Sword handle in the shape of a horse’s head

, Jade (nephrite) with gold and semiprecious stone inlays, India
India
18th–19th century
Pendant for Horse Trappings, Copper alloy, enamel, gold, Spanish
Spanish
15th century
Badge or Harness Pendant, Copper, gold, enamel, Spanish or Moorish
Spanish or Moorish
15th century
Badge or Harness Pendant, Copper, gold, enamel, Spanish
Spanish
ca. 1400
Badge or Harness Pendant, Copper, gold, enamel, Spanish
Spanish
14th century
Shield (Dhàl), Hide, gilt bronze, enamel, lacquer, jewels, textile (velvet), North Indian
North Indian
early 19th century
Helmet, Copper; embossed, engraved, stippled, and gilded
early 17th century
Tray of Jeweled Daggers, Steel, copper alloy, gold, silver, jade, rock crystal, gemstones, glass, Turkish
Turkish
probably late 19th century
Dagger with Sheath, Steel, gold, jade, diamond, sapphire, ruby, emerald, Turkish
Turkish
19th century
Dagger with Sheath, Steel, nephrite, gold, emerald, ruby, diamond, sapphire, jade, Hilt, Indian, Mughal; blade and sheath, Turkish, Ottoman
Hilt, Indian, Mughal; blade and sheath, Turkish, Ottoman
Hilt, 17th–18th century; blade and sheath, 19th century
Dagger with Sheath, Steel, jade, gold, emerald, diamond, ruby, Turkish
Turkish
19th century
Dagger (Kard) with Shealth, Steel, gold, rock crystal, ruby, emerald, Blade, Iranian; hilt and scabbard, Turkish
Blade, Iranian; hilt and scabbard, Turkish
Blade, dated 1738–39; hilt and scabbard, 19th century
Dagger with Sheath, Steel, nephrite, gold, emeralds, rubies, diamonds, ray skin, Indian
Indian
19th century
Talismanic Shirt, Cotton, ink, gold; plain weave, painted
15th–early 16th century
Dagger with Zoomorphic Hilt, Hilt: copper; cast, chased, gilded, and inlaid with rubies.<br/>Blade: steel; forged
second half 16th century
Shirt of Mail and Plate of Emperor Shah Jahan (reigned 1624–58), Steel, iron, gold, leather, Indian
Indian
dated A.H. 1042/1632–33 CE
Mail Shirt, Steel, copper alloy, Syrian or Turkish
Syrian or Turkish
probably early 16th century
Mail Shirt, Iron, Possibly Turkish, Istanbul or Iranian
Possibly Turkish, Istanbul or Iranian
15th–16th century
Showing 20 of 150

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Alexander, David G., Stuart W. Pyhrr, and Will Kwiatkowski. 2015. Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.