A miniature dagger set with gems and carrying the Imperial monogram of HIH Princess Adile Sultana (1825-1898) will be sold at the next Bonhams
Indian and Islamic sale on October 4th in London. The dagger is estimated to sell for £3,000-4,000 at Bonhams in New Bond Street. This is one of the more affordable items in the sale which also features a selection of Mughal jewelled pendants at £30,000 to £100,000, a 16th Century Iznik flask at £60,000 to £80,000 and a Zand celestial globe (star map) at £40,000 to £60,000.
Princess Adile Sultana is best known for her poetry, philanthropy and her tragic life. Her poems are important as they shed light on palace life and the administration of the Ottoman Empire.
Her little dagger, most probably used as a letter-opener, has a green glass hilt set with rubies and emeralds and a gold damascened blade. The gilt scabbard is set with further rubies and emeralds and chased to depict a trailing vine. Its design is based on a 17th Century prototype, an emerald-hilted example of which can be seen in the collection of Topkapi Saray in Istanbul, Turkey.
Princess Adile Sultana was the daughter of Sultan Mahmud II (1785-1839) and sister of the Sultans Abdulmecid I and Abdulaziz. She was an Ottoman princess, a renowned female Diwan poet and a philanthropist. Born in Constantinople, Adile Sultana lost her mother at a very young age, and was raised by Nevfidan Kadın, the chief sultana in the palace. She received a high standard of education and was, like her father, very interested in the arts.
In 1845, Adile Sultana married the commander of the fleet Kapudan-i Derya Mehmed Ali Pasha, who served briefly as Grand Vizier to Sultan Abdulmecid (1823-1861). She lost her three children and later her husband in 1868. She composed a poem about the murder of her younger brother Sultan Abdulaziz (1830-1876), officially deemed a suicide. In deep mourning, she entered the order of Naqshbandi and devoted herself to charitable activities before her death in 1898. She was interned in the mausoleum of her husband in Eyüp, İstanbul.
Adile Sultana's literary works were as successful as Leyla Hanım and Fıtnat Hanım, two renowned female poets of her era. However, She also assisted in publishing the printed version of the Divan of Suleyman the Magnificent (1494-1566). A compilation of her poetry "Adile Sultan's Divan" was published in 1996.