Ottoman Calligrapher’s Gold Inlaid Scissors
length: 27 cm
The handles, of gilded brass, are shaped in stylised Arabic to read Ya Fattah (الفتاح) or ‘Oh, The Opener’, one of the 99 names of God. The blades are concave in shape with exteriors (both sides) delicately damascened with scrolling gold work. The handles are not fixed and can be twisted around to give the scissors more the appearance of a dagger giving rise to the notion that such scissors could also be used in self defence. Scissors such as these were used to trim paper (perhaps newly copied copies of the Koran), create create muraqqa’ folios and in book binding. A similar pair is on display in the British Museum.
a pair similar to the gold scissors is illustrated in Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Mightier than the Sword, Arabic Script: Beauty and Meaning, IAMM Publications, 2004, p. 176.
Inventory no.: 62