Gold-hilted sword in a gold scabbard


British Museum

British Museum

This gold scabbard still contains a sword with a gold hilt, its iron blade fused into the scabbard by rust. Both scabbard and hilt were made of wood covered with gold sheets. These were folded around the wooden core and joined at the back, where a double wire thread of gold was soldered on as a reinforcement. The feather patterning is similar to that found on Sasanian helmets and daggers and is also known in Sasanian decorative arts. The sword was worn hanging obliquely from a belt. It was suspended by two straps running through loops riveted on the back of two ‘P-shaped’ attachments, set at some distance from each other on the scabbard's edge. These are connected to reinforced bands that encircle the scabbard.

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  • Title: Gold-hilted sword in a gold scabbard
  • Date Created: 500/699
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 106.50cm; Width: 7.00cm (including mount); Length: 15.40cm (of hilt); Width: 4.50cm (of scabbard)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: applied
  • Registration number: 1972,0617.1
  • Production place: Made in Iran
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Iran, North West
  • Period/culture: Late Sasanian
  • Material: iron; gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Symes, Robin


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