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Penknife from the Gun Set of Mahmud I
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Penknife from the Gun Set of Mahmud I

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Included in the so-called "Turkish Hunting Set," this penknife is part of the writing set that is contained inside of the pen box (Walters 51.78) which in turn fits into the butt of the Ottoman gun (Walters 51.87). The knife's steel blade is short in comparison to the long, nephrite seven-sided handle. To make a clean cut in a hard reed, the blade had to be sharp. Penknives were important elements in the calligrapher's toolset, and their handles were often elaborately decorated like this one. This blade and handle are decorated in gold on both sides and the handle is ornamented with small emeralds and rubies. In the shape of a leaf or small tear-drop is a stamped maker's mark of the smith on the blade.

Examined and cleaned in preparation for exhibition.

Date Description Narrative
12/31/1969TreatmentExamined, cleaned.
12/31/1969ExaminationCleaned in preparation for exhibition.
4/29/1981Examinationexamined for condition
  • The Art of Writing Instruments from Paris to Persia. 2011.
  • Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons, and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. 2015-2016.
Provenance Robert S. Pardo, Constantinople; purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1903; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Inscriptions [Mark]
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1903

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ca. 1732 (Ottoman)
steel, gilded silver, gold, emeralds (or beryls), rubies (or spinels), nephrite
(Gold, Silver & Jewelry)
Accession Number
H: 5/16 × W: 3/8 × L: 5 15/16 in. (0.8 × 1 × 15.1 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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