Knife made for Jahangir, partially of meteoric iron

Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, 1621
School
Mughal School
Medium
Meteoric iron, with gold inlay
Dimensions
H: 26.1 cm (10 1/4 in)
Geography
India
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1955.27a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Weapon and Armament
Type

Knife

Keywords
India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Label

"At dawn a tremendous noise arose in the east. It was so terrifying that it nearly frightened the inhabitants out of their skins. Then, in the midst of tumultuous noise, something bright fell to the earth from above...."            

From the Jahangirnama (1605-24)

Thus did Emperor Jahangir describe a meteor that landed within his kingdom in April 1621. His fascination with unusual natural events--and his power to harness their aura--is revealed by this dagger's blade, forged from the glittering meteorite. Jahangir further noted that the blade "cut beautifully, as well as the very best swords."

Published References
  • Dr. Esin Atil, W. Thomas Chase, Paul Jett. Islamic Metalwork in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1985. cat. 36, p. 220.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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