A rare Egyptian Copper Dagger
Middle Kingdom, 9th - 11th Dynasty, ca. 2160 - 2030 BCE
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A rare, handsome weapon, the tapering double-edged copper blade with raised midrib and high shoulders. Carved from wood, the short, wide handle is fastened to the broad top of the blade and shaped to fit comfortably into the palm of the hand. It is decorated with a linear pattern of alternating vertical striations of gold and blue around the circumference.
Background: In the early Dynastic Period dagger blades changed from flint to copper, and in the New Kingdom from copper to bronze. For hand-to-hand fighting and dispatching a wounded enemy, Egyptian soldiers of the Middle Kingdom were equipped with a club or light axe and frequently a dagger that freely hung from the front of their belt. Daggers are usually freely hung from belts, although burial sites have found some sheaths.
Reference: Mark, Joshua J. "Weapons in Ancient Egypt." Ancient History Encyclopedia. http://www.ancient.eu/article/1035/.
Hayes, William C. The Scepter of Egypt: Part I. Hary N. Abrams, Inc (1953), 283-284.
Dimensions: Length: 10 5/8 inches (27 cm)
Condition: Intact and in good condition overall with mineral deposits to the blade and handle, and loss to the polychrome. The blade has been analyzed for content and tests at 97% copper. A copy of the report will be provided with the object.
Provenance: Ex. private collection of C. Spies, Cologne, Germany, acquired between 1960-1970, thereafter private Californian collection. Early collection number: 389-2055 in white ink marked below the handle.