Name of Object:



Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums

About Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums, Glasgow

Date of Object:

About hegira 6th century / AD 12th century

Museum Inventory Number:

BC 2.76

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Iron, with brass inlay on pommel.


Length 119.4 cm: comprising (pommel) 4.8 cm, (grip) 10 cm, (blade) 104 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Continental / Northern Europe.


Although this sword was not found in Crusader lands, it is a typical example of a Crusader sword brought to the Holy Land and used by European warriors and knights. The sword has a double-edged slashing blade, which tapers off to a sharp point. It has a central, single channel (fuller) running along the blade on each side, the presence of which lightens the sword without affecting its strength thus making it more effective for cutting and hacking. The handle has a pommel (the knob at the top of the grip) in the shape of a chamfered wheel that is inlaid with brass in the form of a cross design on one side, and a design consisting of three half circles linked in the middle with three lines, on the other. This type of pommel came into use in about the AH 5th / AD 11th century, when sword blades increased in length too. Despite the disappointing number of artefacts that have survived from the Crusades, contemporary European manuscripts and their miniature paintings, together with monuments and their carvings, have depicted with impressive accuracy the types of arms and armour used during the Crusader period.

View Short Description

Although this sword was not found in Crusader lands in the Middle East, it is a typical example of a Crusader sword brought to the Holy Land and used by European warriors and knights. Contemporary Medieval European manuscripts depict, with remarkable accuracy, Crusader arms and armour.

How date and origin were established:

Artistic analysis: several reasonably accurate examples of these swords appear in contemporary European miniatures in manuscripts, and on stone carvings, confirming that northern European Crusader knights in the Holy Land used this type of sword.

How Object was obtained:

Part of the collection given to the City of Glasgow by Sir William and Lady Burrell in 1944.

Selected bibliography:

Coe, M. D., et al, Swords and Hilt Weapons, New York, 1989.

Nicolle, D., The Crusades, Oxford, 1988.

Citation of this web page:

Noorah Al-Gailani "Sword" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;uk;Mus04;6;en

Prepared by: Noorah Al-GailaniNoorah Al-Gailani

Noorah Al-Gailani is Curator for Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums, Scotland. With a BA in Interior Design from the College of Fine Arts, Baghdad University and three years' experience in design and folk art preservation, she moved to the UK in 1992. On completing her MA in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 1994, she worked as Project Officer at the Grange Museum of Community History documenting the presence of Muslim communities in the London Borough of Brent. In 1995 she was Assistant Curator, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, and in 1996 became Curator for John Wesley's House and the Museum of Methodism in London. She co-authored The Islamic Year: Surahs, Stories and Celebrations (Stroud: Hawthorn Press, 2002) for non-Muslim children. Since 2003 she has been based at The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, working across the city's museums to interpret Islamic art and culture, ancient and modern, through research, exhibitions and educational activities.

Copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: UK4 12


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period

Crusaders in the Islamic world

On display in

MWNF Galleries

Arms and Armoury Metalwork


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