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Dagger: O.3-1973

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Object information

Awaiting location update




Maker: Unknown (Blade)




The blade is straight and double edged, fretted with two slots at either side of a medial serpent, and around a lotus bud. The blade is set with four emeralds and five rubies at either side of the forte, and decorated overall with floral panels and inscriptions in thick gold koftgari. The blade bears the date 'sanat 1121' (1709/10 CE).
The hilt comprises a bulbous grip in shagreen, with a medallion of small diamonds in a gilt setting at the centre reading ‘Sultan Selim'. The guard has small forward curved quillons set with various stones and gilded, and a pommel beaked at either side, enamelled in blue, red, pink and yellow in a white ground. The scabbard is of wood covered with shagreen, with large top locket and chape decorated in the same enamel, the chape with a large finial gilt with dark blue and turquoise enamel.

Legal notes

Given by J.R. McClean

Measurements and weight

Length: 410 mm
Weight: 280 g

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1973) by McClean, J. R.


18th Century, Early#
18th Century, Late-19th Century, Early#
19th Century
Exact 1709 CE - 1710 CE 1789 CE - 1807 CE


The diamond inscription was previously interpreted as 'Sultan Sa’id' but in fact reads, 'Sultan Selim'. This may refer to Sultan Selim III (r. 1789-1807). As the blade is dated 1121 AH (1709-10 CE), it seems likely that the blade was re-hilted (a not uncommon occurrence with blades considered special) during Sultan Selim III’s reign at the end of the 18th century.

This highly decorated dagger has an amazing blade, pierced to create a serpent running up the centre, and set with four emeralds and five rubies. The hilt and scabbard are bound with shark skin (shagreen). The ends of the quillons have stylised elephants heads.

Components of the work

Scabbard composed of wood
Medallion composed of diamonds
Blade composed of emeralds rubies Width 270 mm
Chape, Medallion composed of gilt
Guard composed of gilt
Pommel, Chape composed of enamel
Scabbard, Hilt Grip composed of shagreen

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: the date

  • Text: includes "sanat 1121"
  • Location: Blade
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: a medallion of small clear stones (glass?) in a gilt setting at the centre reading ‘Sultan Sa’id’.

  • Text: Sultan Sa’id
  • Location: Hilt
  • Method of creation: Inlaid
  • Type: Inscription

Identification numbers

Accession number: O.3-1973
Primary reference Number: 162425
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 4 May 2021 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Dagger" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-07 23:29:00

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{{cite web|url= |title=Dagger |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-12-07 23:29:00|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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