The handles of common tools were often embellished with sculpted figures. The design of this piece may have symbolic importance or may simply reflect its use as a fruit knife.
The surface is engraved with interlocking Arabic inscriptions, Koranic verses, and numbers. One of the inscriptions, "Help from God and early victory," suggests the use of this ensign in a military context.
This is the only known matching pair of mail-and-plate guards of the fifteenth century for the lower legs. Similar floral ornament and Arabic inscriptions also are found on turban helmets.
Although mailmaking was a highly specialized craft, very few mail garments were signed by their makers. This one has two brass links inscribed with the name BECHLER, indicating a German origin. Bechler (German)