The Magnificent Beauty of Edged Weapons Made with Persian Watered Steel

Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani


The objective of this article is to give a short overview of different types of a product called “Persian watered steel” and show its beauty through examples of edged weaponry. I use the terms “watered steel,” “Damascus steel,” and “crucible steel” interchangeably throughout this article, and those terms are also explained. Watered steel is produced from steel made in crucibles, and the resulting differences in properties occurring during the process will be explained. The resulting quality is vital in producing edged weapons that are of praiseworthy significance. Another section of this article deals with the production centers of crucible steel and gives a short overview of this topic, including a discussion on watered steel in historical accounts. Lastly, the classification of properties of watered steel in early modern times is discussed.


Al-Hassan, A. (1978). Iron and steel technology in medieval Arabic sources. Journal for the History of Arabic Science, 2(1): 31-43.

Bronson, B. (1986). The making and selling of wootz, A crucible steel of India. Archaeomaterials, 1:13-51.

Elgood, R. (1994). The arms and armour of Arabia in the 18th-19th and 20th centuries. Hants: Scolar Press.

Feuerbach, A. (2002). Crucible steel in central Asia: Production, use, and origins. Diss. Phil. London.

Figiel, L. (1991). On Damascus steel. Atlantis: Atlantis Art Press.

Floor, W. (2003). Traditional crafts in Qajar Iran (1800-1925). Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers.

Grancsay, S. (1957). The new galleries of Oriental arms and armor. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) N.S. 16: 241-256.

Hoyland, R. & Gilmour, B. (2006). Medieval Islamic swords and swordsmaking: Kindi’s treatise “On swords and their kinds”. Oxford: Gibb Memorial Trust.

Khayyam Neishaburi, O. (2003). (1382) Nowruzname [La carta de Nowruz]. Comentarios por Ali Hosuri. Tehran: Cheshme.

Matufi, A. (1999). (1378) Tarikhe char hezar saleye artesh Iran: Az tamadon ilam ta 1320 khorshidi, Jange Iran va Araq [Los 4000 años de historia del ejército iraní: desde la civilización Elamita al año 1320, La Guerra de Irán e Irak]. 2 vols. Tehran: Entesharate Iman.

Mobarak Shah Fakhr-e Modabar, Muhammad ibn Mansur ibn Said. (1967). (1346) Adab al-harb va al-shoja-e [Las costumbres de la Guerra y el valor]. Editado y comentado por Ahmad Soheili Khansari. Tehran: Eqbal.

Moshtagh Khorasani, M. (2006). Arms and armor from Iran: the bronze age to the end of the Qajar period. Tübingen: Legat Publishers.

Obach, G. (2007). Comunicación personal. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Piaskowski, J. (1978). Metallographic examination of two damascene steel blades. Journal for the history of Arabic Science, 1:3-30.

Rawson, P. (1967). The Indian sword. Copenhagen: Danish Arms and Armour Society.

Verhoeven, J. & A. Pendray, A. (1993 ). Studies of Damascus steel blades: Part 1. Experiments of reconstructed blades. Materials Characterization, 30: 175-186.

Verhoeven, J. Pendray, A. & Berge, P. (1993). Studies of Damascus steel blades: Pt. 2. Destruction and reformation of the pattern. Materials Characterization 30: 187-200.

Verhoeven, J. & Jones, L. (1987). Damascus steel: Part 2: Origin of the damask pattern. Metallography, 20: 153-180.

Wadsworth, J. & Sherby, O. (1979). On the bulat – Damascus steel revisited. Progress in Material Science, 25: 35-68.

Zakey, A. (1965). On Islamic swords. Studies in Islamic Art and Architecture in Honour of K.A.C. Cresswell: 270-291.

Zakey, A. (1961). Introduction to the study of Islamic arms and armour. Gladius (Madrid) 1: 17-29.

Zakey, A. (1955). Islamic swords in the middle ages. Bulletin de l’Institut d’Égypt, 36, 1953-1954: 365-379.

Zeller, R. & Rohrer, E. (1955). Orientalische sammlung Henri Moser-Charlotten-fels: Beschreibender katalog der waffensammlung. Bern: Kommissionsverlag von K.J. Wyss Erben AG.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2012 Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas - RAMA

I.S.S.N. 2174-0747

Attached to the Department of Physical Education and Sports, University of León (Spain)

Edited by the Publications Office, University of León

Creative Commons License