ASADALLĀH EṢFAHĀNĪ, a signature borne by hundreds of fine blades, which is occasionally followed by dates ranging from the 17th to the 19th century (L. A. Mayer, Islamic Armourers and Their Works, Geneva, 1962, pp. 28-29). Nothing is known about the craftsman (or rather craftsmen) who is, in Mayer’s opinion (p. 26), one of “the finest of all Persian swordsmiths.” Could this have been a generic name? Failing positive evidence, the question must remain open until a systematic review of the available material is undertaken. The frequent occurrence of the formula banda-ye Šāh-e Welāyat in a separate cartouche has somewhat confused the issue. It has so far been understood to designate a Shah—ʿAbbās, Esmāʿīl, Solaymān, Ṭahmāsp—which would be contrary to all known forms of Iranian usage on metal (see A. S. Melikian-Chirvani, Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World, London, 1978). It is more probably the standard Shiʿite cliche: the servant of the King of Trusteeship (i.e., of ʿAlī), followed by the patron’s name.
(A. S. Melikian-Chirvani)
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 16, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 7, pp. 698-699