Field Ensign

Date: ca. 1500–1511

Culture: Egyptian or Syrian

Medium: Steel

Dimensions: L. 20 1/4 in. (51.5 cm); W. 4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm); Wt. 1 lb. 12 oz. (802.0 g)

Classification: Shafted Weapons

Credit Line: Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935

Accession Number: 36.25.1961


Ensigns like this one, which often served as finials for standards, were used to identify units of the army on the battlefield and in military reviews before the sultan. This ensign bears a Qur’anic inscription and the name of a Syrian emir, Sayfi al-Din Tarabay, who is recorded to have commissioned a mausoleum in Cairo in 1503/4. This is probably one of the many ensigns that were taken as booty by the Ottomans when they defeated the Mamluks in 1517.