Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   What can you tell me about this sword? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=25277)

Ren Ren 15th September 2019 08:52 PM

Perhaps I didnít quite correctly understand your idea. But we are at an international forum, even a global one. And forum participants only in rare cases have the opportunity to see objects with their own eyes and hold in their hands before discussing them. In the vast majority of cases, the opinion of the participants is based on a photo and confidence in their own right.
In addition, I have come across many times that people stubbornly and shamelessly defend their erroneous opinion for one single reason - they had the misfortune to vote for this opinion with their own wallet ;)
I think that you are aware of such cases more than one.

ariel 15th September 2019 11:06 PM

All of us here are called to express their opinion based on photographic images. This is a big limitation, no doubt.
And you are correct: the urge to defend their choice is inherent in human psychology. Thatís why many people stick to their abusive or drug-addicted spouses.

sfenoid13 16th September 2019 05:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikmarko
Sfenoid, I don't think you got the memo. The Russian collection that deals in this sort of weapons has a different opinion. You seem to be 100% convinced that it's a "reproduction" which in itself is a red flag. Btw wouldn't a "reproduction" try to copy a brand new/original look of something? If this thing was distressed to look old and original I would consider it "fake".

You can consider it whatever you want, fake or reproduction, doesnít matter. It is not antique as far my eyes can see. If you donít like the answers you are getting then you should have not asked in the first place. You will believe what you want to believe . The price of an item is whatever someone is willing to pay for it. If thatís what it is worth to you and it is what it is. You are looking for someone to confirm your gut feelings, well thatís not me. You should try to see if that Russian collector will pay for, who also just looked at some pictures as well. These things are hard to buy just looking at pictures. Go with the Russians opinion if that makes you feel better :)

Ren Ren 16th September 2019 07:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
All of us here are called to express their opinion based on photographic images. This is a big limitation, no doubt.
And you are correct: the urge to defend their choice is inherent in human psychology. Thatís why many people stick to their abusive or drug-addicted spouses.

Oh yeah! I met collectors for whom their items were closer and more expensive than children and spouses. This has a lot in common with drug addiction ;)

Drabant1701 16th September 2019 07:48 AM

Greetings Eric,
I am no expert in russian swords so I can not tell you if its real or a reproduction. I do hovever think that the provenance of the sword might help in determining if it its the real deal. There is a big difference between finding it in in the attic of someone who was an officer in the imperial russian army and buying it on E-bay from India.

I must say if its a reproduction it looks very authentic. I have however seen a large italian auction house sell several reproduction shashka (described as second half of the 20th century) that looked pretty old and authentic to my untrained eye :shrug:

erikmarko 16th September 2019 08:09 AM

Hi Drabant, the sword was bought at some small flea market on the west coast of Canada. We do have a quite a few Russian immigrants. The interesting thing about the sword is that the entire blade was covered in thick gunky substances I guess to protect it from rusting. So we did not really knew what the blade looked like all we saw was the hilt that got our attention. I'm thinking that if the sword was fake and someone wanted it to look old they would not cover it in the gunky stuff to protect it from rusting.

corrado26 16th September 2019 08:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikmarko
...... you are telling me that engraving on my shashka looks childish... So check out this pic... Does this look any better than first grader's drawing or what is on my sword?



For me the sword of the foto in post #30 comes from the same source as yours. Sorry, I take even this one for a bad fake. And if you have a Russian collector who wants to have it, sell it immediately.
corrado26

erikmarko 16th September 2019 08:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
For me the sword of the foto in post #30 comes from the same source as yours. Sorry, I take even this one for a bad fake. And if you have a Russian collector who wants to have it, sell it immediately.
corrado26


What the heck are you taking about... The pictures where found on the page of the guy who restores shashkas http://arco-iris.com/George/russian_arms.htm

Go have a read and educate yourself. And there are no pictures of my sword on that site.

Ren Ren 16th September 2019 09:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
And if you have a Russian collector who wants to have it, sell it immediately.
corrado26

I think this is a reasonable opinion and it is worth considering.

ariel 16th September 2019 12:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren
I think this is a reasonable opinion and it is worth considering.

On that we are in full agreement:-)

And, just as Sfenoid13, I am also interested how much the Russian collector will offer.

ariel 16th September 2019 12:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drabant1701
Greetings Eric,
I am no expert in russian swords so I can not tell you if its real or a reproduction. I do hovever think that the provenance of the sword might help in determining if it its the real deal. There is a big difference between finding it in in the attic of someone who was an officer in the imperial russian army and buying it on E-bay from India.

I must say if its a reproduction it looks very authentic. I have however seen a large italian auction house sell several reproduction shashka (described as second half of the 20th century) that looked pretty old and authentic to my untrained eye :shrug:


Getting provenance data from a seller may be intriguing: any self-respecting dealer in forgeries has at least 3 versions ready. At least two will include personal friendship with Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great.

By the way, my son just came back from Georgia ( he climbed Mount Kazbek) and sent me pics of unending street stalls in Tbilisi with dozens of kindjals and shashkas for sale.

mariusgmioc 16th September 2019 02:28 PM

Genuine, traditional Katanas are made as we speak, and they are neither fakes, nor reproductions. Moreover, most of them cost more than 90% of the antique katanas on the market.

High quality Omani Khanjars are made as we speak and sold in the souk of Muscat. And they are neither fake, nor reproductions.

Stuning Indonesian krisses are made as we speak and many of them are much more expensive that the vast majority of antique kerises, and they are neither fake, nor reproductions.

So let us set things straight:
if a blade is of modern manufacture, that doesn't make it neither fake, nor a reproduction!

A "fake" is something made with the intention to deceive, and isn't necessarily of modern manufacture.

There are many "fake" 16th century katanas made by more or less obscure swordsmiths but signed with famous names of the period. However, such a sword is considered a "fake" ONLY if it is sold as a genuine masterpiece of the famous swordsmith. If the very same sword is sold openly as "gimei" (with fake signatue), it can fetch good money and would not be considered "fake" (but just the signature).

One can sell a magnificent 19th century rapier without being considered a fake, but a piece of the "historicism". Yet, if the same rapier is sold as a genuine 16th century piece, instantly it becomes a fake.

Now with regards to reproductions, the term may be equally ambiguous but I consider a reproduction, an object which looks like the original but cannot function (or will function improperly) like the original.

So you can have a Chinese made katana, of stainless steel with no cutting edge, that looks great to be hanged on the wall but cannot cut a sheet of paper. That would be a reproduction.

But if you have a razor sharp Chinese katana, made of high quality steel that can cut like an 16th century original (albeit they quite often cut much better), then I wouldn't call it a reproduction.

Just a few thoughts...



:shrug:

Will M 16th September 2019 02:54 PM

What use is a 16th century signature on a modern made sword? Reproduced proof markings also are fake as the weapon was never officially proofed. Whether old repros/fakes or modern these items are made to deceive. Recent European made Napoleonic swords are much more accurate to originals, why? It takes only some exposure to weather then a clean to give them "aged patina".
My point is the only reason many of these copies, repros, fakes sell is because they market to fraudulent sellers. Mixing of authentic and fakes for sale is to give authenticity to the fake.
That's my two cents, authentic or fake.

ariel 16th September 2019 03:09 PM

Marius,
To summarize your perfectly accurate post, there is a sharp line between "fake" and " reproduction": intent to deceive.
From there on, dividing lines become more and more blurry: "reproduction" vs. " composite", " composite" vs. " restored" etc.
The majority of genuinely old Indian sword are "composite", as convincingly demonstrated by Elgood: blade and handle do not coincide. That does not disqualify them from being genuine if the "marriage" occured during working life of the sword. The same is true about scabbards: original ones rarely survive 200-300 years, and may be of a third or tenth generation. But what about recently replaced Indian handle? Is it legitimate composition ( this is exactly what the old owners did!) or something more sinister? "Restored" depends on the degree of restoration: excavated swords require active involvement to prevent disintegration. But I have seen allegedly genuine excavated swords "preserved" with tannate, but with perfectly sharp complex edges, obviously untouched by rusting.

Important to remember that many old museum paintings and frescoes were "restored" ( Sistine Chapel!), that perfectly white ancient Greek marble statues were originally garishly painted, and that some were reassembled and re-glued.

IMHO, at the end of the day, the intent to deceive is what counts.

Rick 16th September 2019 08:32 PM

I would like to add that in this entire discussion we have not seen a single picture of this sword in its entirety.
Why is that?

ariel 17th September 2019 01:42 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I would like to add that in this entire discussion we have not seen a single picture of this sword in its entirety.
Why is that?



We have.
Go to post #1, there is an address, left column, 2nd pic from the top.

The view is not great, but this is the whole caboodle.

ariel 17th September 2019 02:00 AM

Eric,
I understand you are upset. But nobody criticizes you personally: it is about the sword.
All of us sooner or later find ourselves in your shoes. Collectors much more knowledgeable than all of us combined and surrounded by expensive advisers bought antique pieces for millions of dollars .. that later on were shown to be expensive forgeries worth less than their boxes.
Your shashka may end up being authentic: we just see pics, no more.

The only thing I am personally saying is that I do not like it and wouldnít buy it.
You may follow my ( and other) hunches or may ignore them.
It just not good getting impolite.

erikmarko 17th September 2019 02:42 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Hey Guys, I'm not upset at you at all and all of you have a right to your opinion. I just would like those of you who are 100% convinced that it's a fake to point out why they are so sure that it's fake. When a Russian Collector says that he thinks it's 90% authentic I respect that because you need to touch it and see it in person to be sure, that's all. This thing whether it's real or not cost me nothing because someone bought it for me. I don't have any intention to sell it and it looks great hanging over my fireplace. If in fact it is authentic it would be cool and I thought that I would find a professional collectors on this forum that would be able to tell me that.

Here is a full pic of the shashka if you guys are not sick of looking at it yet...

Rick 17th September 2019 04:23 AM

We don't have a full picture uploaded to the database; only a link from what I can see. :shrug:
Links have a way of disappearing.

mahratt 17th September 2019 01:27 PM

Hi Eric.

Write me a private message on the forum. Unfortunately for some reason I can not send you a message

mross 17th September 2019 02:19 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Genuine, traditional Katanas are made as we speak, and they are neither fakes, nor reproductions. Moreover, most of them cost more than 90% of the antique katanas on the market.

High quality Omani Khanjars are made as we speak and sold in the souk of Muscat. And they are neither fake, nor reproductions.

Stuning Indonesian krisses are made as we speak and many of them are much more expensive that the vast majority of antique kerises, and they are neither fake, nor reproductions.

So let us set things straight:
if a blade is of modern manufacture, that doesn't make it neither fake, nor a reproduction!

A "fake" is something made with the intention to deceive, and isn't necessarily of modern manufacture.

There are many "fake" 16th century katanas made by more or less obscure swordsmiths but signed with famous names of the period. However, such a sword is considered a "fake" ONLY if it is sold as a genuine masterpiece of the famous swordsmith. If the very same sword is sold openly as "gimei" (with fake signatue), it can fetch good money and would not be considered "fake" (but just the signature).

One can sell a magnificent 19th century rapier without being considered a fake, but a piece of the "historicism". Yet, if the same rapier is sold as a genuine 16th century piece, instantly it becomes a fake.

Now with regards to reproductions, the term may be equally ambiguous but I consider a reproduction, an object which looks like the original but cannot function (or will function improperly) like the original.

So you can have a Chinese made katana, of stainless steel with no cutting edge, that looks great to be hanged on the wall but cannot cut a sheet of paper. That would be a reproduction.

But if you have a razor sharp Chinese katana, made of high quality steel that can cut like an 16th century original (albeit they quite often cut much better), then I wouldn't call it a reproduction.

Just a few thoughts...



:shrug:


The only thing I disagree with is your last line about the katana. If it is not made by a certified Japanese trained smith then it is a reproduction. Granted there are quite a few smith who made excellent katana, Atar, Big Ear, too name a few, but they are considered Japanese Style. The Nihonto world is very picky on this point.

Jim McDougall 17th September 2019 07:35 PM

This discussion has been a most interesting editorialized perspective on the conundrums of collectible weapons, 'fake' or reproduction vs. traditionally made modern example etc. Such terms are often misused and fail to observe the actual character or circumstance of an item in altogether too many cases.

Regardless, I would say this shashka is a very attractive example, and well represents the character of examples of these well known in Caucasian regions. The blade seems pretty sound, and likely of the quality of the many trade blades found typically in the many versions of shashka in these regions.
Such a blade refitted to a traditional 'style' hilt does not seem unreasonable as these are traditional weapons still held in esteem by people there.

In looking at the motif in the hilt, if not mistaken there seem to be numbers or Roman numerals like II. Asking the experts.....could this be a hallmark or reference to Nicholas II ?

As to the cosmological symbols on the blade, it must be remembered that these type markings were often added to the blade by workers who of course had wide degree of skill set. These markings I have seen ranged from very well executed to almost cartoonish, and as such it is of course tempting to regard them as 'spurious'.

Whatever the case, I think it is a very attractive example, and well done, regardless of its possibly recomposed nature. Even if somewhat reproduced or with restored or composite components, it still reflects the traditional standards and style of the shashka as a form.

erikmarko 17th September 2019 08:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
This discussion has been a most interesting editorialized perspective on the conundrums of collectible weapons, 'fake' or reproduction vs. traditionally made modern example etc. Such terms are often misused and fail to observe the actual character or circumstance of an item in altogether too many cases.

Regardless, I would say this shashka is a very attractive example, and well represents the character of examples of these well known in Caucasian regions. The blade seems pretty sound, and likely of the quality of the many trade blades found typically in the many versions of shashka in these regions.
Such a blade refitted to a traditional 'style' hilt does not seem unreasonable as these are traditional weapons still held in esteem by people there.

In looking at the motif in the hilt, if not mistaken there seem to be numbers or Roman numerals like II. Asking the experts.....could this be a hallmark or reference to Nicholas II ?

As to the cosmological symbols on the blade, it must be remembered that these type markings were often added to the blade by workers who of course had wide degree of skill set. These markings I have seen ranged from very well executed to almost cartoonish, and as such it is of course tempting to regard them as 'spurious'.

Whatever the case, I think it is a very attractive example, and well done, regardless of its possibly recomposed nature. Even if somewhat reproduced or with restored or composite components, it still reflects the traditional standards and style of the shashka as a form.


Thank you Sir, very well said.

I was expecting this kind of discussion from the start.

Ren Ren 17th September 2019 10:22 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
In looking at the motif in the hilt, if not mistaken there seem to be numbers or Roman numerals like II. Asking the experts.....could this be a hallmark or reference to Nicholas II ?

Quite right, this is the monogram of Emperor Nicholas II.
In the Russian Empire, there were rather complicated rules for using the sign of the ruling monarch. In order to publicly wear this sign, it was necessary to have the permission of the Emperor himself and to comply with many requirements. But army and navy officers sometimes ordered signs to jewelers and wore them outside of official service. Especially far from both Imperial capitals :)

David 17th September 2019 10:51 PM

I realize this is a layman's question, this type of sword being completely out of my spheres of collection, but would a light etch reveal anything here?
I am a little skeptical of what appears to be the appearance of some kind of twisted core. I would think such a etch might answer some questions about whether it is pattern welded or not. :shrug:

Jim McDougall 18th September 2019 02:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I realize this is a layman's question, this type of sword being completely out of my spheres of collection, but would a light etch reveal anything here?
I am a little skeptical of what appears to be the appearance of some kind of twisted core. I would think such a etch might answer some questions about whether it is pattern welded or not. :shrug:


That's a good observation, and myself very much a layman at the metallurgic properties of blades, I thought I cold see some kind of pattern in this blade as well. While Ariel would offer better insight into this, weren't the Russians producing 'bulat', a kind of watered steel at Zlatoust in first quarter 19th c?
The style of this blade and that character as well as the Nicholas II device in the hilt to me offers a bit more integrity to this shashka.

Edster 18th September 2019 03:02 AM

The blade scratchings shown in #6 as well as #30 attributed to c. 1550 Solingen are remindful to the somewhat tacky marks of Sudanese kaskara intended to invoke German quality or Islamic spiritual essence. IMHO I would think that a Nicholas II signature grip would be paired with a higher class blade without crude marks.

REgards,
Ed

mross 18th September 2019 02:57 PM

There is definitely some kind of pattern visible in the pics. From the pics though it is difficult to impossible to tell what kind. It does not look like wootz, or twist core. It could be a pattern welded blade or it could be etched. A light polish and etching would help determine the pattern. Please note; I am saying this from a pattern identification standpoint, as I am unfamiliar with these blades I do not know if a polish/etch is appropriate or blasphemy.

erikmarko 18th September 2019 04:06 PM

Hey guys, I have some good news for you, well bad for some of you...

I have sent bunch of hi res pictures of my shashka to a real Russian collector and researcher in these weapons and this is what he said...

Hi Erik!
The sword is authentic 1890ís shashka with a blade of Caucasian origin. N2 cypher was added after 1910 year. Silver - work of daghestanian craftman. Blade - bit earlier, daghestanian or Georgian (most probably).
All the best

I'm not sure what he means by N2 Cypher but everything else sounds good to me. ;)

ariel 18th September 2019 04:30 PM

The last person to make wootz blades was Elizarov, and that was long before NII:-) Virtually all shashka blades are plain steel ( too expensive to make mechanical damascus, as per local masters). There are very few mechanical damascus kindjals, and the pattern is easily visible. Gurian kindjals of high quality had beautiful "Tiflis damascus" exclusively within the fullers.
Etching was widespead.
All in all, the likelihood of finding anything but plain steel in that blade is close to zero.


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