- Museum number
Crucible-steel sword with silver hilt; hilt decorated with depressed scale pattern on one side.
- Production date
Length: 88 centimetres
Width: 5 centimetres (maximum)
- Curator's comments
Fits scabbard 1972,0617.2 (BM.135739)
Analysis in the Department of Scientific Research indicates that the sword blade was forged from crucible steel to produce a very superior weapon. Other archaeological discoveries prove the manufacture of crucible-steel in Central Asia, including recent British Museum-supported excavations at the city of Merv. These results suggests that the technology of steel manufacture using crucibles to make steel in a liquid form has a longer tradition outside India than previously suspected. The decorated silver scabbard illustrates the high social value as status symbols within Iran at this period.
Lang, Janet, Paul Craddock & St John Simpson: "New Evidence for Early Crucible Steel", 'The Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society' 32/1 (1998), pp. 7-14.
Research Lab report dated 26 June 1972
Nature of metal: Spectrographic analysis indicated scabbard of gold alloy with silver and copper, hilt also with some zinc, tin and a trace of lead, the difference not considered significant, possibly due to contamination as the samples were from the surface of the object.
Soil deposits adhering to the scabbard and hilt: spectrographic analysis of these deposits showed them in both cases to contain gold, silver and copper, which must have diffused into the soil from the metal with which it was in contact; the presence of these elements, particularly gold, indicates that the soil must have been in contact with the metal for a considerable time.
Conclusion: the scientific evidence is consistent with the age assigned on stylistic grounds.
- On display (G52/dc7)
- Exhibition history
2005-2006 Sept-Jan, London, BM, 'Forgotten Empire'
1995-2005 17 Nov-Aug, BM, G52/IRAN/20
1994 16 Jun-23 dec, BM, G49/IRAN/20
1993 Feb-Apr, Brussels, Musees royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, 'Splendeur des Sassanides'; no. 36.
1975-ca 1990 Jul-, BM, Iranian Room [IR]
- Blade encased in resin prior to acquisition
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Deposited by Robin Symes on 4 July 1972 (deposit book entry 2833).
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number