Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Saber with Scabbard

Date:
grip, 18th or 19th century; guard and scabbard, 19th century; blade, A.H. 1099/A.D. 1688; decoration on blade, 19th century
Culture:
grip, Indian; guard, scabbard, blade deco, Turkish; blade, Iran
Medium:
Steel, gold, copper alloy (brass), jade (nephrite), diamond, emerald, pearl
Dimensions:
L. 39 3/4 in. (101 cm); L. of blade 33 in. (83.7 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 8 oz. (1129 g); Wt. of scabbard 2 lb. 4 oz. (1023 g)
Classification:
Swords
Credit Line:
Gift of Giulia P. Morosini, in memory of her father, Giovanni P. Morosini, 1923
Accession Number:
23.232.2a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 379
The most important ceremony in the inauguration of many Islamic rulers was the investiture with a sword, rather than a crown. This extravagantly decorated saber traditionally is said to have been refitted in 1876 for the investiture of the Ottoman sultan Murad V (reigned May 30–August 31, 1876). He suffered a nervous breakdown before the ceremony and subsequently was deposed and kept a prisoner until his death in 1904.

The sword was probably assembled by a court jeweler, using a seventeenth-century Iranian blade, an eighteenth-century Indian jade grip, and gem-studded gold and gilt-brass mounts of contemporary workmanship. The emerald near the top of the scabbard opens to reveal a secret compartment containing a gold coin marked with the name of Süleyman the Magnificent (1494–1566), the most powerful Ottoman ruler of the sixteenth century. The underside of the emerald is inscribed with the phrase "According to God's will."
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "In the Presence of Kings: Royal Treasures from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 18–June 11, 1967, no. 32.

Dean, Bashford. "Notes: Gem-Encrusted Arms." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1923). pp. 237–38.

Grancsay, Stephen V., Thomas T. Hopes, George C. Stone, and Fred G. Blakeslee. [Boxed Set Containing "Brief Essays on Armor and Arms," Nos. 1–4 and a Series of 17 Pamphlets of Photographs of Arms and Armor in Members' Collections, Nos. 1–85]. New York: Armor and Arms Club, 1925. no. 42, figs. 41–45.

Indian Society of Oriental Art. "An Inscribed Turkish Sabre." Rūpam̲ 25, no. 1 (January 1926). p. 36, ill.

Bullock, Randolph. "Oriental Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1947). p. 172, ill.

Grancsay, Stephen V. "The New Galleries of Oriental Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16, no. 9 (May 1958). pp. 246–247, ill.

Nickel, Helmut. In the Presence of Kings: Royal Treasures from the Collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1967. no. 32, ill.

Nickel, Helmut. Warriors and Worthies: Arms and Armor Through the Ages. New York: Atheneum, 1969. p. 90, ill.

Nickel, Helmut. Arms and Armor Through the Ages. Revised ed. ed. London: Collins, 1971. p. 90, ill.

Hoving, Thomas, and Carmen Gómez-Moreno. "Gold." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 31, no. 2 (Winter, 1972–73). p. 116, ill.

Wills, Geoffrey. Jade of the East. New York: Weatherhill, 1972. pl. 140.

Nickel, Helmut. Ullstein-Waffenbuch: Eine Kulturhistorische Waffenkunde Mit Markenverzeichnis. Berlin: Ullstein, 1974. pp. 196–197, ill.

Grancsay, Stephen V., and Stuart W. Pyhrr. Arms & Armor: Essays by Stephen V. Grancsay from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1920–1964. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. p. 452, pl. 109.9.

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49, no. 1 (Summer 1991). pp. 51, 64, ill.

Pyhrr, Stuart W. "Of Arms and Men: Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan, 1912–2012." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 70, no. 1 (Summer 2012). pp. 25–26, fig. 37.

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. 174–77, no. 66, ill.



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