Air Malta entrusted to carry De Valette dagger to Malta
“Air Malta is honored to have been chosen to carry this prestigious artifact on one its flights from Paris to Malta. Over the last few weeks we have been making detailed preparations to ensure that this historical item is carried in a secure environment meeting the special requirements requested by both the Louvre Museum and Heritage Malta. It is only fitting that our national airline carries this historical artifact back to Malta,” said Joe Galea, Air Malta’s Acting Chief Executive.
The poniard was named after Grand Master Jean de Valette after having been presented to him together with a sword by King Philip II of Spain as a symbol of acknowledgement of the Order of St. John’s grand victory in the Great Siege of 1565.
Initially, the ornamental dagger and sword were kept at the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta, and were put on show together during a yearly procession held on the 8th of September in remembrance of when the Great Siege came to an end and Malta triumphed.
This annual tradition took place up until 1797, whereby after it was broken due to the French domination of the Maltese Islands
At this time, the sword, was sent to France and showcased in a museum bearing treasures from different conquered states, however, Napoleon Bonaparte opted to keep the dagger for himself.
It will be the first time since 1798 that the De Valette dagger shall be back in Malta, as a result of the successful loan arrangements made by Heritage Malta to display it in an exhibition in conjunction with the events forming a part of Malta’s EU presidency programme. The much anticipated exhibition will depict the precious dagger as the main focus point amongst other carefully selected relatable pieces from the Maltese national collection, and the event will take place at the National Museum of Archeology in Valletta from 18th March up until 9 July 2017.
More information about the exhibition can be found on Heritage Malta’s website www.heritagemalta.org or the official Facebook page www.facebook.com/HeritageMalta.