Tibetan dirk or knife - Rare and unusual form with silver and gold decoration

A most unusual and beautiful Tibetan knife. The form of this weapon is very different from the more common types which generally have a straight tapering blade, the blade on this piece is slender and curving, the back edge is thick and chamfered towards a ridge along the spine, the blade tip has a sharpened back edge, and the forte of the blade where it meets the hilt has a ricasso/unsharpened area where the finger can lie when in use. The hilt is of approximate cylindrical shape, the grip covered with thick leather/hide, the upper and lower mount of beautifully chiselled and pierced steel overlaid with gold. Motifs visible within the intertwining tendrils of decoration include an animal to the lower, a bird to the upper, and a taotie or dragon face to the pommel with a loop for an attachment. There is a small guard present of oval shape with a decorative border. The sheath is decorated with gold or gilt animals including a tiger and a lion, these finely made animals sit between panels of lthick silver beautifully chiselled with high scrollwork and engraving. Turquoise, coral and other semi precious stones further decorated the front and back, set into gilt bands which are finely engraved. Interestingly the chape form of the sheath resembles those found on Kukris from Nepal and along with the general form of the blade and overall knife shape might suggest a Nepali influence on the piece.Very good condition throughout, we would date this piece to the 18th or early 19th century.  far eastern indo persian

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