The Photography Of The Freer Gallery

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The Freer Dagger, called such because it currently resides in the collection of the Freer Gallery, is an example of the finely crafted arms and armory created in the Islamic world throughout history. (Fig 1) However, despite it taking the form of a weapon, the construction, materials, and decoration of this dagger suggests that it was most likely not used for combat purposes, but instead served primarily as a symbolic accessory, or a form of protective amulet. The blade is made of curved watered steel that has been ribbed.(Fig 2)With it 's complex pattern of dark and light lines , the pattern of the steel indicates that the blade was worked a great deal as it was forged, and then etched in order to reveal the watered pattern.1 This…show more content…
The first and second cartouches on each side consist of persian inscriptions against a vegetal ground, while the center contains Koranic inscriptions in Arabic on a plain background. The sheath has a similar decorative layout to the handle. At the opening for the blade, there is an oval cartouche, with inscriptions. Along the length of the sheath are six more cartouches, linked together, alternating between being filled with scrolls and inscriptions. The remaining areas are filled with gold inlaid vegetal and floral scrolls, as well as with stylized depictions of deer and birds. The center cartouche is now empty, having been scraped, and probably once contained the name of the patron or owner, or similar identifying information.4 The remaining cartouches contain Persian inscriptions. The decorative scheme of the dagger and sheath is overall very symmetrical and balanced, resulting in a very stable and harmonious composition, despite the wide range of decorative techniques that have been applied to it. The dagger and sheath together contain a Persian poem, read first from the handle (front, then back), then around the sheath from the opening to the tip. The complete inscription reads: In the time of the reign of the Zand emperor The just king, ruler, heir to Dara, Khan of the world, favorite of Ali, Master of the time, lord of
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