blade and guard, Turkish; grip, Indian; blade, possibly Iranian
Steel, jade (nephrite), gold
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)
Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935
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."
Ex. Coll.: George C. Stone.George Cameron Stone, New York (by 1934–d. November 18, 1935; his bequest to MMA).
Dean, Bashford. Notes on Arms and Armor. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1916.
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, ME, 1934.