Dagger (Kard) with Sheath

Date: ca. 1800

Culture: Persian, Qajar

Medium: Steel, ivory, gold, wood, leather, iron

Dimensions: L. with sheath 19 11/16 in. (50 cm); L. without sheath 15 7/16 in. (39.2 cm); W. 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm); Wt. 14.8 oz. (419.6 g); Wt. of sheath 3.5 oz. (99.2 g)

Classification: Daggers

Credit Line: Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935

Accession Number: 36.25.1043a, b


A kard is defined as a straight, single-edged dagger that is worn on the left side of the belt. Unlike most daggers, in which the narrow tang attached to the blade fits into a handle, the blades of these daggers are made with a flat steel tang of the same width as the blade. Two ivory pieces were fitted into and riveted to either side of the tang to form the handle. This example resembles a number of early nineteenth-century Iranian kards that have ivory hilts and watered steel blades with floral arabesque ornamentation. The hilt of this particular dagger has also been decorated with metal bands bearing a gold vegetal design. This example is so similar to one signed by the maker, Muhammad Nami, and dated 1799/1800 (located in Bern), that both can be assumed to come from the same workshop.