Skip to main content

Object Title

Sword (kilic) and scabbard

Sword (kilic) and scabbard

Object Number

XXVIS.293

Provenance

Purchased 1 April 1991.

Physical Description

The "watered steel" (crucible steel or wootz) blade is slightly curved and single edged for three quarters of its length, with a less pronounced edge along the back of the lower section. It was originally decorated in gold inlay with a circular medallion and bands of decoration at the edge and back, near the hilt, but these have been ground away, probably when it was remounted in Turkey.

The hilt is of angled pistol grip form, with a faceted wooden grip retaining the remains of its black leather covering. The quillons are long and elegant, flaring to bulbous terminals, with short, narrow langets and processes extending back over the grip. The pommel cap is facetted like the grip.

The scabbard is of wood covered with black leather, with two lockets with hanging rings and a chape, all of steel.

All the metal fittings are decorated with medallions of flowers, buds and interlacing stems in gold inlay. Both sides of the pommel and the front of the hilt and scabbard fittings have borders or alternating bands of chiselled settings for precious stones, although none of these survive.

Featured in

Dimensions

BladeLength817 mm
ScabbardLength830 mm
ScabbardWeight0.457 kg
SwordLength960 mm
SwordWeight1.154 kg

Inscriptions and Marks

None visible.

Bibliographic References

H. Ricketts, A catalogue of Islamic arms, London, 1976, no. 8.

Paris, Gallerie ART, Splendeur des armes orientales, Paris, 1988, no. 19, p. 157.

Islamic Arms and Armour

Notes

The blade is very similar in nature to a group of 15th-century blades which have been housed in the imperial armoury in Istanbul for centuries, which are all identified as being Mamluk in origin. These swords would have been brought back to the capital city by Ottoman forces after they had battled the Mamluk armies in Syria and Egypt during the late 15th and early 16th centuries, ultimately defeating them at Ridanieh in 1517. (See U. Yucel, Islamic Swords and Swordsmiths (Istanbul, U.I.C. Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture, 2001), pp.93-113 for various published examples from this group of slightly curved swords with blades of Mamluk provenance and hilts attached later by Ottoman craftsmen, all part of the collection held in Topkapi Palace.) The blades were later remounted with a variety of different hilt forms by Ottoman craftsmen. It is likely that this sword received the same treatment and was refitted with furniture made to appeal to Turkish taste. The foliate ornamentation on the metal fittings is typical of the style present on many of the weapons and objects of decorative art emerging from the workshops of the Ottoman court during the 16th century. The empty indentations visible on the mounts would probably have housed precious or semi-precious stones.

The hilt, scabbard clasps and chape closely resemble another set attached to one of the sacred swords in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul which is said to have been associated with 'Abu'l Hasene (Abu Hasan), scribe of the Prophet of God’, and is thought to have been remounted by court craftsmen around 1560. The hilt form with its long spatulate quillons is similar to others produced and illustrated during the reign of Suleiman I (Suleiman the Magnificent), Sultan of the Ottoman Empire 1520-1566. (See Ricketts and Missillier, 'Splendeur Des Armes Orientales' (Paris: Acte-Expo, 1988), p.157.)

Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) and scabbard Sword (kilic) and scabbard. Blade probably Syria, Mamluk Sultanate, late 15th century-early 16th century. Mounts probably Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, 16th century.
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) and scabbard Sword (kilic) and scabbard. Blade probably Syria, Mamluk Sultanate, late 15th century-early 16th century. Mounts probably Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, 16th century.
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) and scabbard Sword (kilic) and scabbard. Blade probably Syria, Mamluk Sultanate, late 15th century-early 16th century. Mounts probably Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, 16th century.
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) and scabbard Sword (kilic) and scabbard. Blade probably Syria, Mamluk Sultanate, late 15th century-early 16th century. Mounts probably Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, 16th century.
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) and scabbard Sword (kilic) and scabbard. Blade probably Syria, Mamluk Sultanate, late 15th century-early 16th century. Mounts probably Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, 16th century.
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) and scabbard Sword (kilic) and scabbard. Blade probably Syria, Mamluk Sultanate, late 15th century-early 16th century. Mounts probably Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, 16th century.
Thumbnail image of Sword (kilic) blade probably Syrian, about 1500. XXVIS.293