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Author Topic:   Black Sea yataghan
ariel
Senior Member
posted 03-27-2004 21:04     Click Here to See the Profile for ariel   Click Here to Email ariel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Check E-bay # 2233577271
Now , when the auction is safely over, I'd like to know what do you think...

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Jim McDougall
EEWRS Staff
posted 03-27-2004 23:33     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim McDougall   Click Here to Email Jim McDougall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This blade is characteristically one of the 'Kurdish-Armenian' blades that are typically mounted with a horned grip in varying degrees of form. As everyone knows we have had many sprited discussions on these over the years, and there is still disagreement on their origin or indiginous region of use.
The damascus steel blade on this blade does certainly seem to support the probability of Middle Eastern origin and against the suggestion of Egyptian-Algerian (flyssa?) origins for the form. Most resources and authorities I have consulted over the years on these unusually undocumented swords have concurred they are likely Armenian work from the Transcaucasian regions,and were probably used by Kurds in the mid to late 19th century.
The hilt on this example is profoundly atypical for the form, but nicely done.
A very interesting example that fuels the curiosity on these 'yataghans', despite the most unusual hilt.
Best regards,
Jim

[This message has been edited by Jim McDougall (edited 03-28-2004).]

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tom hyle
Senior Member
posted 03-28-2004 03:32     Click Here to See the Profile for tom hyle   Click Here to Email tom hyle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would suggest this is a more recent example and/or a more recent hilt. The hilt is an interpretation of the traditionional hilt; made in one piece, with the horns carved curled. Looks like folded/layered steel (/iron) not atypical of any culture that makes steel by hand or obtains it as small scraps. Ie. typical of any pre-industrial/nonindustrial steel-using culture. The offset seems more various to me than the pommel.

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Yannis
Senior Member
posted 03-28-2004 06:58     Click Here to See the Profile for Yannis   Click Here to Email Yannis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What kind of damascus is it? Welded or just etched?

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tom hyle
Senior Member
posted 03-28-2004 09:21     Click Here to See the Profile for tom hyle   Click Here to Email tom hyle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like layered steel to me.

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ariel
Senior Member
posted 03-28-2004 09:48     Click Here to See the Profile for ariel   Click Here to Email ariel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Tom.
The handle is an unusual one, very different from the traditional "two horns- and -leather" type commonly seen on those swords. Indeed, the stylized carvings of the horns on the pommel pay tribute to the tradition. However, the wood is completely intact, with nary a scratch and the brass inserts also look new. The offset location of the handle faithfully sits in the right place: the old handle must have been taken off and the new one found itself sitting in an uncomfortable position so the bolsters were added.I have not seen layered pattern on the original blades but that does not say anything about then age: could have been done any time.
My guess: either restoration work utilizing an old blade or a recent example.
As for the origin, I just heard a somewhat cynical remark: sellers who want to get more money say it is Caucasian; buyers who do not want to pay a lot say it's North African.

[This message has been edited by ariel (edited 03-28-2004).]

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Jim McDougall
EEWRS Staff
posted 03-28-2004 12:38     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim McDougall   Click Here to Email Jim McDougall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oops! Back to metallurgy 101 for me! It ain't damascus! Hearing hoofbeats doesnt always mean its a zebra and all that stuff.

Still cant figure out the hilt, but agree it looks recent. If the blade is also recent it surely is a good representation of the form. These have always been a puzzle with the needle like point presumably for the thrust as seen on the flyssa. Why would a recurved blade normally intended for slashing have such a thrusting type point? For that matter, the flyssa seems so awkwardly balanced its point seems less than useful for thrusting as well, the small, guardless hilt adding to the difficulty of such thrusting.

The 'Black Sea yataghans' being virtually undocumented of course have no narrative suggestion not only of who used them, but how they were used. The flyssa is equally cryptic with their use by the Kabyles established sometime in the early 19th c.
but as far as I know, no narrative discussing thier use or description of swordsmanship with them. Possibly there may be such material in documentation in French archives, however to date none has been established that I am aware of.

Best regards,
Jim

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Andrew
EEWRS Staff
posted 03-28-2004 12:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Andrew   Click Here to Email Andrew     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Uploaded photo for discussion:

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Jeff D
Senior Member
posted 03-28-2004 14:29     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff D   Click Here to Email Jeff D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Still cant figure out the hilt, but agree it looks recent. If the blade is also recent it surely is a good representation of the form. These have always been a puzzle with the needle like point presumably for the thrust as seen on the flyssa. Why would a recurved blade normally intended for slashing have such a thrusting type point? For that matter, the flyssa seems so awkwardly balanced its point seems less than useful for thrusting as well, the small, guardless hilt adding to the difficulty of such thrusting."

Hi Jim,

I read your latest posts with great interest, as I have recently taken a interest in Gutowski's Tatar Saber book. The sabers in fig s 60, 65, 66, and 67, have the same problem you describe above. These are clearly slashing sabers with a obvious "flyssa like" thrusting point. Philip Tom has recently informed me that these sabers are from the Black Sea North Caucasian regions. These sabers may support the idea that the Black Sea yataghan is indeed from that region?

Hope this is useful

Jeff

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ariel
Senior Member
posted 03-28-2004 18:18     Click Here to See the Profile for ariel   Click Here to Email ariel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed, some Polish Tatar sabers were called Ormianka ("armenian"), but they have nothing to do with Armenian or Caucasian traditions. They were manufactured in Lvov (Lemberg when it belonged to the Austrians, Lviv in Ukrainian) by the itinerant Armenian swordmakers. They had as an example a typical Tatar saber with an almost estoc-like tip and short quillons. This patterns came along with the Mongols from Central Asia and is an exact copy of Kirghiz sabers (see sword encyclopedias by Trubnikov and Popenko, both in Russian).
Thus, the sharp tip of the BS Yataghan is not an argument in favor of it's Caucasian connection.
And, by the way, BS means "Black Sea", not what you think!
I guess the only way to finally solve the puzzle would be to ask Mrs. Astvatsaturyan who knows more about Caucasian and Turkish weapons than anybody else. If any one on the Forum knows her personally, it would be very important to get in touch and ask the question. After all, it is rather embarrassing not to know anything about the origin of a very distinctive sword whose pattern is likely to be no more than 150 years old!

[This message has been edited by ariel (edited 03-28-2004).]

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