Rare Southern Iraq or Persian Presentation Jambiya Dagger, niello silver mounted (ID: md1189)
Rare Southern Iraq or Persian Presentation Jambiya Dagger, niello silver mounted
|( ID: md1189 )|
This is one of the more interesting daggers we've had. It's form is overall of an Arabian peninsula jambiya, but the heavy and substantial size of the dagger and the solid silver fittings with niello decoration point to Southern Iraq or Persian workmanship.
The niello decoration of marsh scenes are some of the finest we've seen on a dagger of this period which dates to the 1920s-1940s. The inscription on the dagger notes that it was presented to a "Col. M.V. Bates" of the U.S.A in 1940. It is likely that Colonel Bates was in the OSS and on mission in the region, especially at a time when the U.S. and Britain were angling to prevent the Germans from moving towards the Persian oil fields crucial to their war effort. However, further research remains to be done on Colonel Bates for further information.
The dagger itself is truly idiosyncratic in design especially as the blade, very finely and heavily constructed, is unlike any other we've encountered from this region. It is straight but heavily curves at a 90 degree angle at the tip, and is ridged the entire length into the curve. As a result it is quite powerfully constructed is also very sharp.
Overall length of the dagger is 11 1/2", blade is 6".