Home Art/Culture Shah Jahan’s dagger sells for 1.7 mn pounds

Shah Jahan’s dagger sells for 1.7 mn pounds


London : An elegant personal dagger carried by emperor Shah Jahan was sold at a London auction for an astounding 1.7 million pounds – more than three times the expected bid.

“Of course we are very happy – it was a great sale,” said a spokeswoman for auctioneers Bonhams minutes after the dagger went under the hammer Thursday.

She was unable to immediately disclose name of the buyer.

The dagger, which has fine gold inscriptions and decorations and dates back to 1629-30, was expected to attract bids of around 300,000 to 500,000 pounds.

It was the star attraction at an auction of objects belonging to the late French collector Jacques Desenfans, who spent over 50 years amassing Indian, Islamic and Southeast Asian arms and armour, early pottery and works of art.

The inscriptions in the nasta’liq script on the 40.8 cm-long dagger include Shah Jahan’s official titles, date and place of birth, and the honorific parasol, the ancient pan-Asian symbol of divinity of royalty, all of which point to the fact that it was the personal dagger of Shahjahan.

In an article written for the Bonhams Magazine, New Delhi-based author William Dalrymple says: “The emperor’s love of beautiful and precious objects – damascened and gold-embellished blades, enamels and hammered metals, precious lapidary, inlaid hard stones and inscribed gems – was something many visitors commented on.”

Dalrymple said Edward Terry, the chaplain to the British ambassador, described Shah Jahan as “the greatest and richest master of precious stones that inhabits the whole earth”.