Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A known Meteor Iron Blade - from 1600!

Nathaniel had left a comment the post "Meteors in Forge and History" (edited):

While in D.C. at the freer we saw a meteoric iron knife from 13th century India where a meteorite was seen to hit, retrieved and made into a knife. So at least in India they got the sky metal connection.

quote from www.asia.si.edu (Simthsonian's Freer Museum)

Early pre-Mughal Sultanate period (ca. 1206-1526) works on view include ...
* Several Mughal luxury objects, including a knife made for the Emperor Jahangir out of meteoric iron and decorated with gold inlay...

(from the on line catalog - artifact entry)

1621 - Mughal dynasty
Meteoric iron, with gold inlay
H: 26.1 cm
Purchase, F1955.27a-b

(Image from the Museum web site)
"At dawn a tremendous noise arose in the east. It was so terrifying that it nearly frightened the inhabitants out of their skins. Then, in the midst of tumultuous noise, something bright fell to the earth from above...."

From the Jahangirnama (1605-24)

Thus did Emperor Jahangir describe a meteor that landed within his kingdom in April 1621. His fascination with unusual natural events—and his power to harness their aura—is revealed by this dagger's blade, forged from the glittering meteorite. Jahangir further noted that the blade "cut beautifully, as well as the very best swords."

In the original commentary, I had finished up by saying : "I should note that the whole 'streaks in the sky to rocks on the ground' connection was actually NOT made until the middle 1800's. The whole concept of a 'sky stone' would have been completely unknown (and unthinkable) to the Medieval mind. This is a fiction created by modern fantasy writers."
I should have been slightly more specific, in that I was referring directly to Western Europe and the Medieval (pre 1500's) period. I had not known about this ** Arabic ** object, and thank Nathaniel to pointing it out to the rest of us!

(Much later!)

See Aron's comment below.
My big error, that should read ** Indian **

Its nice to see that people still read the older posts!
I stand well corrected for not paying better attention to the reference. However, I will mention that I (try to) never attribute religion to any object, although I should not have attributed a cultural set from a (mistaken) geographic description. My use of 'Arabic' here would be like saying 'European' or 'African' - a sweeping locating generality only.
(And any object from the 1600's in Europe would in fact be as default described as 'Christian'...)

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