Category: dagger

Chinese bronze dagger axe with turquoise inlays, 14th – 11th century BC

from The Harvard Art Museums

North African Dagger with Possible Connections to Gordon of Khartoum

A low quality late 19th century North African / Arabic dagger with two piece horn handle, double edged blade with stuck decoration to the top section. Cloth covered wooden scabbard with white metal fittings having patterned relief. Accompanying the dagger is a very interesting letter written by a Louise Erskine of 9 Cheriton Place Folkestone, believed to date from 1935, in which she writes that this dagger was given to a member of her family by the eldest nephew of General Gordon, and was amongst General Gordons possessions when he died, “When their uncle General Gordon died all his belongings were packed in cases & some came to our house to store”, “Donald Gordon the eldest nephew came & unpacked some of them, my sister was mad about curios so Donald said, here you are, who knows if this was used to assassinate uncle Charlie with”. The letter goes on to describe other items which they were given by the family of the late General Gordon. Accompanying the two items are various other written items of provenance and history which indicates the items, along with the other items mentioned in the letter, were removed by a house clearance firm from the attic rooms of Harewood House, Yorkshire, under the instructions of Lord Harewood, the Queens cousin. A very interesting item which could possibly tell an interesting story and was without doubt owned by one of the most famous personalities of the Victorian era. Major-General Charles George Gordon CB, known more famously as Gordon of Khartoum, was a Military officer who made a name for himself firstly in China in the 1860’s. He was instrumental in putting down the Taiping Rebellion. After service with the Military, he entered the service of the Khedive of Egypt in 1873 and later became the governor general of the Sudan. He returned to England in 1880. When the revolt in the Sudan broke out, led by the Islamic leader and self-proclaimed Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad, Gordon was once again sent to the Sudan, to evacuate from Khartoum loyal soldiers and civilians, once he managed to evacuate about 2,500 civilians, he ignored his orders and remained in Khartoum with a force of soldiers and non-military men. He held out the besieged city for almost a year, it was this heroic actions that gave him the publicity back in the UK. The government at the time was not pleased with the situation they felt that Gordon had got them in and reluctantly sent a relief force to Khartoum, however this arrived too late, the Mahdi’s men had finally taken the city and Gordon had been killed in action on the steps of the Governor Generals Palace. The image of his death is immortalised in the painting by George William Joy, titled General Gordons Last Stand. It is believed that the Mahdi’s men cut off the head of General Gordon and took it back to the Mahdi as a prize, his body was then desecrated and thrown down a well. It is said that “the head transfixed between the branches of a tree, where all who passed it could look in disdain, children could throw stones at it and the hawks of the desert could sweep and circle above”. General Gordon was a prominent figure in Kent, he commanded the Royal Engineers in Gravesend, he was responsible for the erecting of forts to defend the River Thames. He was also heavily involved in charity work in the town. A statue of Gordon proudly stands in the Gordon Gardens, as does a statue of him at the Royal Engineers barracks in Gillingham.

Various Indo-Persian Daggers

Nine 20th Century Indo-Persian daggers. There are various types of dagger here, including some famous types: the pesh kabz, khanjarli and khanjar. The handles are a mixture of wood, bone and horn.

Wootz Katar, Possibly 17th Century

Of robust size and high quality, this venerable Southern Indian katar is perhaps as old as the 1600s. Its blade is held in place by twin elephants, sacred animals, and entirely made of wootz and shows all the beautiful patterns and swirls you’d expect from that mysterious steel.

The hilt has been hand-carved extensively, not just to show floral elements but also zig-zag patterns and hundreds of holes and stars—perforations reminiscent of jali screens.

Despite its centuries of wear this is still a sturdy, historical and aesthetically pleasing piece. It is accompanied by a modern sheath.


British Naval Dirk, c.1800

Napoleonic period naval officers dirk, Read, Portsmouth, the ivory handle above the named and engraved scabbard, steel blade.  

Romantic Dagger, 19th Century

19th Century provenance: Europe, Straight, double-edged blade, of hexagonal section, with double fuller. Fine, silvered, metal grip, partially gilded, carved with in-the-round musketeer, armed with a gun and a sword. The figure is placed on a quillon, composed of two dragons with braided tails. Metal, silvered scabbard, partially gilded, decorated in bass-relief with fighting soldiers on horseback and depiction of the same character of the grip. Chape with a mask. length 30 cm.

Any dagger can be romantic if it is given to (or by) someone you love.

The Grude Dagger — A large flint dagger uncovered in Norway dating to around 2,400 BC.

Currently housed at the Museum of Cultural History, Oslo


Indian Jade and Silver Hilt Khanjar, 17th or 18th Century

With slightly curved double-edged blade of finely watered wootz steel with a double-filler over each side forming a narrow medial ridge to the reinforced point, hilt comprising silver quillon-block with pointed langets and downcurved quillons each with stylised makara-head terminal, and faceted grip of light greyish green jade rising up to a beaked rounded pommel, in its wooden scabbard covered in fishskin (minor damage) with silver locket and chape embossed and chased with a repeated design of foliage. 17.2 cm blade.

Scottish Lowland Left-Hand Dagger, Late 16th Century to Early 17th Century

32.25 cm sharply tapering hollow ground cruciform blade with pronounced raised medial ridge to either side, the crossguard of characteristic form with down turned lobed quillons angled slightly forwards, the base plate of the crossguard formed to receive the cruciform shoulders of the blade in the Scottish manner, the half basket guard composed of flattened rounded bars with lower oval side guard set with a sprung pierced plate, this guard supports the three upper guard bars secured to the ovoid pommel with a single screw, the two fore bars set with further bars in the form of a stylised saltire, wire bound leather covered wooden grip. This dagger is a scarce example of a small grouping of similar arms described as Lowland Scottish and features in a detailed discussion by Claude Blair in his chapter The Early Basket Hilt in Britain which formed part of David Caldwell’s publication Scottish Weapons and Fortifications 1100-1800, see figures 129 and 131 on pages 228 and 230. Please also see figure 279 on page 394 of The Scottish Basket Hilted Sword Volume I 1450-1600 The Baron of Earlshall.


Indian Mutiny and William Hodson Display at the National Army Museum in London