Tabarzīn - inv. 2198

Lotf’ ali (active 18th century)

Tabarzīn (horseman’s axe)
steel   gold  
130 x 80 mm, 673 g
signature and date
"Lotf’ ali, 1148"
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 2198


The collection of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli includes important Oriental weapons, coming mainly from the Islamic world. A feature of these weapons is the splendid inlaid decoration, generally known as “damascening”, executed by using fine threads or foils of gold, silver or copper, beaten out cold and inserted in v-shaped grooves in the steel. The Tabarzīn, notable among Persian weapons, was carried slung from the saddle. The model is very ancient, but the surviving Islamic Tabarzīns are not earlier than the first half of the seventeenth century. This one is signed by Lotf’ alī, a famous Persian armourer, and it is dated 1148 of the Hejira, corresponding to 1735-1736. The Tabarzīn is almost completely covered with inscriptions, with verses from the Koran which call the faithful to reflect on the power of God, who alone awards victory.