Object Title

Dagger (khanjar) and scabbard

Dagger (khanjar) and scabbard



Object Number



Oriental gallery, about 1975. Presumably returned from the British Museum in 1963.

Physical Description

The blade is curved and double edged, with a panel of chiselled decoration at the hilt depicting a camel (?) being attacked by a lion amid foliage. Below this the blade has a pronounced central rib and blunt edges becoming sharp only at the curve. The I shaped ivory hilt is of waisted form, decorated with a group of figures, the central one crowned, with what might be Europeans flanking him. At the top and bottom at either side is a four-line Persian verse. The scabbard is of wood covered with a textured black leather, much of which is missing.


Dimensions: The length of the blade is 259 mm, the overall length of the dagger being 385 mm and that of the scabbard being 260 mm. Weight: The weight of the dagger is 0.45 kg, the weight of its scabbard being 0.05 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

The hilt is decorated with a verse in Persian:Shining is the sharp bladeIts name is yataghan.That which splits a thornIs the amazing khanjar' (trans. N. Hall, from the trans. of L. Kalus).


Places Persia

Bibliographic References

L. Kalus, 'Inscriptions arabes et persanes sur les armes musulmanes de la Tour de Londres', Gladius, XV, 1980, pp. 19-78, no. 34, at pp. 67-8, fig. 20.


The last word of the inscription, 'khanjar', is written in independent-form letters. Kalus suggests that this gives them a talismanic function. They do not, unfortunately, add up to a possible 'tarikh' when given numeral values.