A jade-hilted bichaq dagger




Ottoman Empire


Late 18th or early 19th century


Overall length (without scabbard) 312 mm; blade length 202 mm; scabbard length 253 m


Steel, iron, gold, jade


Forging, damascening

The straight, single-edged blade is made of watered steel with a narrow double fuller along the spine on each side. The forte of the blade on both sides is decorated with gold koftgari scrolling foliage. The straight hexagonal hilt is carved from one solid piece of dark green jade together with an angular pommel. The iron bolster is decorated with gold en suite with the blade. The iron scabbard is ornamented in gold koftgari with a reticulate design and arabesques (rumi). The scabbard tip is shaped like a stylized monster's head. 

COMMENT. Bichaq is the traditional Turkish knife. The single-edged blade can be either straight or slightly forward-curved, similar to the yataghan blade. Sometimes the blade is curved backwards again at the very tip to increase its penetration ability. Such blade is described as "recurved blade". The short hilt often has symmetrically protruding "ears" that are also characteristic of the yataghan. The wooden scabbard was usually covered with leather or encased in metal. Bichaqs were extensively used in the regions controlled by the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922). Some of them are like an Iranian knife, known as kard, which was popular in the Ottoman Empire and was often copied by local craftsmen. The Turkish word bichaq (biçak) simply means "knife", so it is also used as a general term for traditional knives that have been produced in many local variations. 

LITERATURE: Сиваченко Е. Сталь и Золото: Восточное оружие из собрания Feldman Family Museum = Steel and Gold: Eastern Weapons from the Feldman Family Museum Collection. – Киев, 2019. – С. 222-223, №73.