Dublin Core




Turkish, probably Istanbul


This golden Saber from the Ottoman Empire was worn to show the wealth, power, and greatness of the wielder. The blade, which is covered in gold, is overlaid in elaborate Arabic inscriptions, as calligraphy was a large part of Islamic art and culture. The crossguard of the Saber is covered in gold and gems, and the green fish-skin handle is a later addition. The inscriptions on the blade are passages taken from the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam. The passages reference Solomon, son of David, and praise his accomplishments. These passages also serve as a reference to the original owner of the sword, Süleyman (Solomon) the Magnificent (r. 1520-1566 CE). Although it was a weapon, the Saber was never intended for combat, but rather as a ceremonial object. The golden blade, inscriptions, and gems speak to Süleyman's wealth and power.

The Cloak of Roger II of Sicily is an item in Janson’s History of Art that is very similar to the Saber of Süleyman. The Cloak is red and gold, and shows a palm tree in the middle with a lion attacking a camel on either side. Like the Saber, the Cloak serves the purpose of boasting the greatness of whoever is wearing it. The Cloak also has an Arabic inscription that praises the wearer without directly naming him, indicating that the garment was made in “the most royal, flourishing wardrobe” of Roger II (r. 1130-1164 CE). These inscriptions are slightly different from those on the Saber in that they are original rather than quotes from the Qur’an.

The Saber of Süleyman fits into the chapter on Islamic art of Janson’s History of Art because it speaks to the impact that Süleyman had on the Islamic world. The Ottoman Empire reached its peak in culture, art, and wealth under Süleyman’s rule, making him an incredibly important figure in both Islamic history and world history. The most important part of the Saber is the blade. The craftsmanship, technique, and creativity to make a blade like this is simply incredible, making it a stunning work of art. Because of all this, the Saber of Süleyman the Magnificant is especially important for students to study.



The Metropolitan Museum of Art




Liam Thor, '21


Public domain




probably Istanbul

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Steel, gold, fish skin, wood

Physical Dimensions

L. 37 7/8 in. (96.2 cm); L. of blade 30 3/4 in. (78.1 cm); W. 6 1/8 in. (15.5 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 5 oz. (1049 g)




“Saber,” accessed July 18, 2019,