Object Title

Shaffron (At alinlici)

Shaffron (At alinlici)



Object Number



From the armoury of Hagia Irene, Istanbul. Purchased via Robert Curzon, c.1842.

Physical Description

It is composed of a main plate, a poll plate, and two side sections of mail and plate construction. The main plate is shaped to the horse's head, with flanged cut outs for the eyes and ears. Two flutes run from the eyes down to the nose, which is pointed and has a slight medial ridge. At the centre of the forehead is a hemispherical boss attached by four rivets, fretted in the centre with a dragon, behind which is a leather backing. The poll plate has flanged cut outs for the ears, and a rounded rear edge. At its centre is a small, flat, tear-shaped boss fretted with a quatrefoil. The side sections are composed of two columns of plates: the inner column of twelve plates, the fifth one down being large and having a flanged cut out for the eyes, and the lower two with angled main edges; and the outer column with thirteen small plates, the upper one and the lower two with angled outside edges.
The plates are connected by rows of riveted mail joined by a single row of welded mail. The riveted links are formed of heavy, round section wire, with an internal point at the overlap. They are closed by round-headed rivets, about half- and-half iron and brass. The welded links are also heavy. They are mainly of eliptical section wire and circular, but a few are of gibbous rectanglar section, and rather angular. All appear, however, to be original.
The main plate is decorated with bands of engraved foliage on a stippled ground running around the main edges and bordering the inner side of the two flutes. The edge of the main plate retains traces of a gilt band. The edge of the side sections beside the main plate, their upper edges, and the edges of the poll plate are all bordered by a similar etched foliate band. There are engraved and formerly silvered inscriptions running around the boss, on the sides of the boss, and at either side of the nose.
The point of the nose has three holes for the attachment of the lining, two of which have broken out. The centre of the dragon's body is damaged, and there are holes and broken patches of edge at the top.


Dimensions: length: 63.6 cm (25.1 in), width extended 54.5 cm (21.5 in) Weight: 2.065 kg (4 lb 9 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

Inscriptions: right and left of nose: al-`izz al-da'im wa'l-iqbal wa'l-dawla wa (Perpetual Glory, and Prosperity, and Wealth, and [A])sides of boss: al-`izz al-da'im wa'l-iqbal wa'l-dawla wa'l-sa`ida (Perpetual Glory [A], and Prosperity, and Good turn of Fortune, and Happiness, and [A]) around boss: al-`izz al-mu`izz al-mawalin ya al-sultan al-`azam khaqan al-mu`azzam al-malik riqab al-umam... (Oh the Greatest Sultan, the Exalted Emperor, the Master who curbs nations.... of the Kings [of] the Arabs,and those Arabicized, and Lords)


Places Turkey

Bibliographic References

J. Hewitt, Official catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859, no. xv.572, p.118.

Viscount Dillon, Illustrated guide to the Armouries, London, 1910, no. xv.707, p.15.


Described by Hewitt as having an inscription which reads 'Eternal glory and prosperity and good fortune (to the wearer). Glory to our Lord the Sultan, the Geat, the illustrious,' (&c.)