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Knife and sheath

Knife and sheath

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal empire (Uncertain, made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Steel, pale greyish green nephrite jade, silver, gilt metal, wood and velvet. Fashioned using a wide variety of techniques.

  • Credit Line:

    W. H. Cope Bequest

  • Museum number:

    750&A-1903

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The origin and date of this knife and sheath are uncertain, but it may have been made within the Mughal empire in the 18th or early 19th century. The hilt of the knife is made of pale greyish green nephrite jade, with the junction being covered with a ridged collar of (possibly) gilt metal or copper. At the end of the handle there is a heavily tarnished, silver ball that has been attached by a pin inset into the end.
The sheath has a wood carcass covered with greyish velvet, with heavily tarnished silver locket and chape, both of which are undecorated. On one side of the locket is a small, attached loop and there is a small and flat, plume-like finial at the tip of the chape. The knife was bequeathed to the museum by William Henry Cope Esq., a member of the British Archaeological Association who was also an important collector of jade and other hardstone objects.

Physical description

A knife and sheath. The knife has a long, narrow, single-edged steel blade with a sharp point. It is set into a handle of pale greyish green nephrite jade, with the junction being covered with a ridged collar of (possibly) gilt metal or copper. At the end of the handle there is a heavily tarnished, silver ball that has been attached by means of a pin inset into the end.
The sheath has been fashioned with a wood carcass covered with greyish velvet, with heavily tarnished silver throat and chape, both of which are plain. On one side of the throat, there is a small, attached loop and there is a small and flat, plume-like finial at the tip of the chape.

Place of Origin

Mughal empire (Uncertain, made)

Date

18th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Steel, pale greyish green nephrite jade, silver, gilt metal, wood and velvet. Fashioned using a wide variety of techniques.

Dimensions

Length: 229 mm 750-1903 +/- 1, Width: 12.9 mm 750-1903, Length: 73.9 mm 750-1903, Width: 11.50 and 15.75 mm 750-1903, Thickness: 6.8 and 9.8 mm 750-1903, Length: 167 mm 750A-1903 +/- 1, Width: 16.5 mm 750A-1903, Length: 59.0 mm 750A-1903, Length: 94.9 mm 750A-1903

Object history note

This knife and sheath were acquired by W. H. Cope Esq. who valued it at £2-10-0. He subsequently bequeathed it to the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1903.

William Henry Cope Esq was considered an authority on ancient ecclesiastical stained glass and on old Plymouth china. He was also an important collector of china, jade and old Venetian and German glass, acquiring many of his pieces from sales of well-known collections such as the Beckford, the Bernal, the Guthrie, the Magniac and the Wells.
He became an Associate of the British Archaeological Association in 1863 and was elected to the BAA council in 1871 and regularly contributed to discussions on a broad range of subjects, often taking along objects from his own collections.
In 1880, Mr. Cope published the first of his articles, on the subject of jade, for the Journal of the BAA. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 1st July 1886 and was elected Vice-President of the BAA in June 1889, a post he continued to hold until his death in 1903.

Descriptive line

Knife [kard], steel blade, gilt metal, pale greyish green nephrite handle; sheath in greyish velvet on a wood carcass, silver mounts, possibly Mughal empire,

Materials

Nephrite; Steel; Gilt metal; Silver; Velvet; Wood

Categories

Arms & Armour; Gemstones; Hardstone

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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