02_2726_340

Dagger with sheath, Ottoman. Mid-16th Century. Iron, forged, tauschiert with gold, ivory handle, carved, quillons Silver, cast, engraved and gilded, wood scabbard, studded with silver, driven, engraved and gilded. 33.4 cm Blade length 20.1 cm Weight 284 g. Y 0130. Armoury. © Dresden State Art Collections 2013

Larger ivories in Islamic art come primarily from the early Middle Ages. When the Ottomans took this material, however, only limited use, especially in marquetry. Background for this apparent lack of ivory should have been the activities of the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean, in the late 16th Century virtually the monopoly of the ivory trade had. That there were still major ivory carvings even when the Ottomans occupied a small group of ornate dagger handles, three of which are located in Dresden's armory. While two of these grips are still among daggers (inv Y 0130 and Y 0131), the third handle was later mounted on a sword blade (Y inv 0040). The dagger has a slightly curved, double-edged blade with central ridge and gold tauschiertem tendrils. The in form of stelae or prayer niche (mihrab) reminiscent handle is divided by two in three trim surfaces, which in turn are richly decorated with fine tendrils and flowers. The quillons are bent towards the blade and run in dragon heads with open mouths off. The wooden scabbard is covered with gilded silver plate, whose decor is also made of thick tendrils.