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Magnificent 16th C. Tibetan dagger with a carved iron vajra form handle

( ID: ia625 )

Truly a work of art. This examples forms the keystone to our Tibetan collection, and our particular love of carved ironwork.  The dagger is fitted with a beautiful handle carved out of iron and richly overlaid with gold and silver. The scabbard is wood covered in leather and framed with carved and gilded iron, mounted with three stones in gilded iron cups, the bottom one which is especially finely made.  The blade is standard Tibetan style blade, and is slightly shaky.

 

Referencing Donald LaRocca’s “Art of the Himalayan Warrior” turns up no similar examples of this type of iron work or handle, except for one example, which is solid iron, covered in gold and silver and attributed to the 14th century as either Chinese, Mongolian or Tibetan. The iconography of this handle representing the three pronged vajra makes it very likely Tibetan, but the whole iron style coupled with the rich silver and gold designs make this likely to be quite an early example, and we feel comfortable attributing it to the 16th century.  Without question this is a worthy of any Tibetan collection, and could justly deserve to be featured in a museum collection.

Overall length: 15 1/4"  Blade length: 10 1/4"

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