Damascus: Sword Polishers

Date: 1432

The European traveller, Bertrandon de la Broquière (d. 1459), describes the methods used to temper and polish sword blades in Damascus. The plain steel blades were rubbed along their length using a block of iron that would eliminate uneven patches. It seems most likely that the blades themselves were imported, perhaps from India. See also: Blacksmith; Locksmith.

Citation: Allan, James and Brian Gilmour, Persian Steel: The Tanavoli Collection, Oxford Studies in Islamic Art 15 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 77.