Item ref: 2192
Struck with the mark of the Imperial Ottoman arsenal, in the former church of Hagia Eirene, Istanbul
Probably dispersed from the arsenal by order of Sultan Abdül Mecid I In 1839–40
Private collection, USA
Such leg guards protected the outer lower legs of a warrior on horseback; Qur’anic inscriptions decorate the finest examples, frequently, as here, overlaid in silver. The engraved Arabic inscriptions on this guard:
Al sultan.. / Al Malik..
(The King / The Absolute Ruler)
refers to the earthly ruler and the divine ruler, Allah, respectively. The inclusion of one of the Al-Asma al-Husna (Ninety-Nine Beautiful names of Allah) also imbued this piece with talismanic powers of protection.
A similar pair of leg guards is found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.