Turkey (or Iran)


19th century


Casting, forging, damascening


Steel, brass, gold


Length 274 mm

The scissors are composed of two forged steel two-edged blades that movably connected to each other by an axial screw. Two narrow fullers on the outside of each blade are framed by thin grooves and form a central rib. The base and rib of the blade are decorated in gold kofthari with floral ornaments. The blades have mounted brass handles with finger rings. Each handle is cast in the form of an Arabic inscription: "Ya Fattah" ("Oh Unfolder!").

COMMENT. The presented example belongs to the group of so-called "calligraphic" scissors that were common during the 18th and 19th centuries in the Middle East, especially in Turkey and Iran. They are characterized by gold-damascened decoration and figured handles that are made of brass, bronze or copper in the shape of a calligraphic composition reading one of the 99 names of Allah (Asma al-Husna). Probably, these scissors could be used not only for cutting paper or parchment, but also for self-defense. Indeed, the elongated scissor blades in the shifted position turned into a rather thick straight blade. Therefore, they are often called "dagger-scissors."