The Hands of Victory is a pair of triumphal arches in central Baghdad, Iraq. Each arch consists of a pair of hands holding crossed swords. The two arches mark the entrances to a parade-ground constructed to commemorate Iraq's supposed victory in the Iran-Iraq war (in which most international observers believe Iraq to have been defeated).
In 1986 (two years before the war's end) the government of Iraq began the construction of a festival and parade ground in Zawra Park, near the extensive presidential complex in the center of Baghdad. Known as Grand Festivities Square, this comprises a large parade ground, an extensive review pavillion, and the two arches. Iraq's leading sculptor, Adil Kamil, was commissioned to design these arches. His design consists of a pair of massive hands emerging from the ground, each holding a 140 foot long sword. A small flagpole rises from the point where the swords meet. Kamil used photographs of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as his model for the design of the hands. When Kamil died in 1987, with the monument incomplete, his position was assumed by fellow artist Mohammed Ghani. Ghani personally took an impression of one of Hussein's thumbs, and the resulting fingerprint was added to the mold for one of the arches' thumbs.
The arches were made by an international consortium led by German foundry H+H Metalform and including British company Morris Singer Founders. The guns of Iraqi soldiers killed in the Iran-Iraq war were used to make the bronze alloy from which the arches are cast. Each blade weights 24 tons. Further, the helmets of 5,000 Iranian soldiers killed during the war are held in nets between the swords and are scattered on the ground beneath.