Language: Persian
Source: In common use

Shamshir (شمشیر‎) is the general Persian word for sword. In the early period, it was used to describe double-edged straight swords. Today, it is still used to describe any kind of sword in Farsi, including European swords.1

Among collectors today, shamshir is mainly used to describe a deeply curved Persian sword with a narrow, wedge-shaped blade with a pointy tip.

The name consists of sham meaning "tail" or "nail" and shir meaning "lion". Some believe this was to describe the curve of the sword, but this is unlikely since the first use of the word described straight and not curved swords.


Met shamshir

A typical Persian shamshir blade. Mounted in north Indian (Lucknow) made mounts, in Persian form.
Blade dated A.H. 1162/A.D. 1748–49
Metropolitan Museum, New York. Accession number 36.25.1304a, b.


1. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani; Lexicon of Arms and Armor from Iran. Legat Verlag GmbH, Tübingen, 2010. Page 345-346.

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Chiseled with a rare type of decor on the base, and with two Islamic inscriptions.


With pierced mounts and velvet-covered scabbard.


Its scabbard with 12 pockets, with 10 of the items remaining.


In original condition and period finish. Some losses, no repairs.


A classic example with an older blade and timaha wood scabbard.


A very fine example with beautifully chiseled silver pommel plate.