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Kard Dagger with Watered Steel Blade Inlaid with Gold & Walrus Ivory Hilt

circa 1800

length: 41.6cm, weight: 445g



UK art market

This Safavid-era walrus ivory-hilted dagger or kard is a finer example than is typically seen. (Kard means ‘knife’ in Persian.)

It has a single-edged, tapering, finely-watered steel blade with a flattened spine that is partly decorated with a chiselled lobed cartouche in-filled with palmette motifs with inlaid gold. (The gold inlay is a fine and unusual feature; usually, the gold is overlaid.)

Both sides of the blade also are partly decorated with gold overlay with floral scroll work, as is the raised bolster. The steel centre of the hilt is similarly decorated in gold, with walrus ivory grips to either side.

The blade ends in a swollen tip that was designed to pierce chain mail.

A similar example is illustrated in Hales (2013, p. 85).

The blade and hilt are in fine condition. Probably, the hilt would have had a small tang button which is now missing.


Alexander, D., Islamic Arms and Armor: in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2015.

Caravana, J. et al, Rites of Power: Oriental Weapons: Collection of Jorge Caravana, Caleidoscopio, 2010.

Hales, R., Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime’s Passion, Robert Hale CI Ltd, 2013.

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