We have seen Islamic metalwork in one of the past post of Imagining Islamic Aesthetics that focuses on smaller, daily usage items that are delicately decorated and embellished. For this Imagining Islamic Aesthetics post will focus on another form of Islamic Metalworks – Weaponry and Armoury.
Like the daily items made of metal, armours and weapons are also decorated, and in itself an art form. Helmets, armours and swords, as well as other militaristic artifacts are done with decorations and embellishments, one would think why would these items be created with an artistic touch, when the point of creating these armours and weapons are for warfare. These artifacts showcases the general appreciation of the Islamic world for beauty, thus even for items that are most likely to be destroyed (in this case, in wars) are also given the touch of elegance.
Indian Helmet, 17–18th century. Helmet: steel with engraved, chased and gilded decoration; lining: padded velvet; plume-holder: gilded leather.
Dagger and its scabbard, India, 17th–18th century. Blade: Damascus steel inlaid with gold; hilt: jade; scabbard: steel with engraved, chased and gilded decoration.
Arm protection. Engraved and leaf-gilted iron or steel, 17th–18 centuries. From India or Iran. Museum of Fine Arts, Lyon, France. Accession number Inv. D 222. Location First floor, room 18.
Conical Turkish helmets (15th and early 16th c.) and coat of mail; Topkapı Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Yatagan with inscription on the blade: “may he meet an ill fate, the enemy who hits my yatagan”. Ivory, steel and nielloed gold, Turkey, 17th century. Museum of Fine Arts, Lyon, France. Accession number Inv. 1951-5 Location First floor, room 18.