A Mughal Jade-Hilted Khyber Knife, 19th Century
The single-edged steel blade of tapering form with flattened spine, decorated to each side in gold inlay with a nasta’liq inscription-filled cartouche, and further inscription-filled cartouches at the forte terminating in parrot heads, the forte decorated in koftgari with vegetal designs, the spine of the hilt with further inscription, jade grips, with velvet-clad wood scabbard. 58.5 cm long.
Inscriptions: a couplet from Nizami’s Iqbal-nameh, bar-avikhteh nachakhi zahr-dar be-vaqt-e zadan talkh chun zahr-e mar, ‘The poisonous nachakh suspended, Is bitter like snake’s poison at the time of strike’.
The maker has chosen Nizami’s couplet without understanding the actual meaning of the word nachakh which is described as battle-axe; double-pointed spear or a short javelin.