Professor Frederick de Jong, chair of Islamic languages and culture at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said the find – a 15th century Damascene steel blade with gold-inlaid Arabic letters – was a fine piece of craftsmanship.
“Presented to his majesty, the mighty Sultan Bayezid Khan, the son of Sultan Mehmed Khan, the son of Sultan Murat Khan. May his victory be sublime,” read the inscription on the sword’s blade.
“This is really high quality in all respects, from the technological as well as the artistic point of view. What is also striking is the quality of the calligraphy,” De Jong said on Friday.
The sword, dating back at least 500 years, had been kept in a collection of 40 swords in the Albanian Institute of Popular Culture in Tirana for nearly 60 years.
Bayezid II consolidated Ottoman rule in the Balkans, Anatolia and the eastern Mediterranean and successfully opposed the Safayid dynasty of Persia. He was the elder son of Mehmed II, conqueror of Constantinople.
The fact the sword can be related to Bayezid II and the exquisite craftsmanship of its blade may make it an attractive piece for Islamic art collectors.
De Jong said the blade must have been crafted in Istanbul, Bursa or Edirne.
He said the sword’s auction price depended on interest from rich collectors. “If they start bidding against each other, it may fetch a million dollars or more.”