Illustrated introduction to Mesopotamia, £8.99
Length: 106.500 cm
Width: 7.000 cm (max.)
Room 52: Ancient Iran
Gold-hilted sword in a gold scabbard
Sasanian, 7th century AD
Said to come from Dailaman, north-west Iran
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.
J.P.C. Kent and K.S. Painter (eds.), Wealth of the Roman world, AD (London, The British Museum Press, 1977)
B.J. Overlaet, 'Contribution to Sasanian armament in connection with a decorated helmet', Iranica Antiqua-2, 17 (1982), pp. 189-206
R. Ghirshman, 'Notes Iraniennes XVIII, Trois épées Sassanides', Art Asiae, 26 (1963)
P. Wilcox and A. McBride, Romes enemies 3: Parthians and (Oxbow, 1986)
St J. Simpson, 'Eisenschwert mit goldgriff in goldener schwerscheide' in Weihrauch und Seide: alte Ku-1 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien, 1996)