Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Saber

Date:
blade and guard, 19th century; grip, 18th century
Culture:
blade and guard, Turkish; grip, Indian; blade, possibly Iranian
Medium:
Steel, jade (nephrite), gold
Dimensions:
L. 36 7/8 in. (93.7 cm); L. of blade 30 5/8 in. (77.7 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 1 oz. (935.5 g)
Classifications:
Swords, (not assigned)
Credit Line:
Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935
Accession Number:
36.25.1293
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 379
Swords are appropriated through the recycling of materials and as spoils of war. Therefore it is no surprise that this sword has a precious Mughal grip made of black jade and a gold Ottoman guard that reads in naskhi script: "Sultan son of Sultan son of Sultan son of Suleiman Khan"; and on the back: "the name of God most compassionate and merciful." Although the name of an Ottoman sultan appears on the guard, it is not an indication of the provenance of the sword.

Islamic devotional inscriptions dominate the decorative motifs of arms and armor. Efficacious prayers protect the soldier from the evils of war. The inscriptions on the elegant steel blade indicate the sword's talismanic function. In square kufic script, the inscriptions state the proclamation of faith along with the valuable Qur'anic Throne verse (2:255), all damascened in gold. The back of the blade, in gold, is stamped with the Seal of Solomon (a six-pointed star) and various cartouches invoking the name of God.
Inscription: Inscribed on the cross guard in Arabic: "Sultan, son of a Sultan, Sultan Sulaiman Khan."
[S. Haim, Istanbul and London, before 1935; sold to Stone]; George Cameron Stone, New York (until d. 1935; his bequest to MMA).
Stone, George Cameron. A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, Together with Some Closely Related Subjects. Portland, Maine, 1934. p. 356, fig. 448, no, 4.

Grancsay, Stephen V. "The George C. Stone Bequest: Turkish, Balkan, Caucasian, and North African Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 32, no. 3 (March 1937). p. 55, fig. 1.

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. pp. 167–68, fig. 63.6 (second from left).

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. 172–73, no. 65, ill.



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