Mohammad's Ladder

The different patterns seen in the steel of blades have names. The patterns result from multiple factors, some under control of the smith and others resulting from variations in the steel, alloys, and forging process.

See Also: Pattern Welding, Wootz, and Pamor

One of the most highly prized by collectors is called "Mohammad's Ladder" with 40 steps visible in the steel (see picture below). The “steps” are made by engraving or forging a perpendicular line in the steel during forging. The steps are symbolic of heaven and the 40 virgins awaiting a religious warrior in the afterlife. The water pattern itself represents the Waters of Paradise, which awaits the warrior. It also represent sweet, life giving water, and salty brackish water, just as the weapon can both save and take a life.

There are many different types of patterns.  Here are a few examples of the names. For images see:  An Introduction to the Persian Sword Shamshir, Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani:

  • Attributed to Omar Khayyam Neishaburi (1048-1131 A.D.)
    • Lolo:  round lke pearls
    • Sim: white traces that look like silver
    • Payhaye murche: a pattern resembling "blazing ants' feet"
    • Bustani: garden pattern, blackish in color.
  • Attributed to Mobarak Shah Fakhr Modabar (1131 A.D. or 1141 A.D. – date of death unknown)
    • Paralak
    • Taravate
    • Ruhina
    • Moje darya:  sea waves
    • Pare magas:  fly wings
  • European names
    • Sham:  stribed
    • Wave
    • Begami
    • Water
    • Woodgrain:  mottle
    • Bidr/Qum
    • Rose
    • Kirk Narduban (nardeban) also known as “40 steps” and “Muhammad’s Ladder"

Mohammad's Ladder Pattern, highly prized by collectors

Macrophotographs of Zschokke sword blades.