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vilhelmsson 23rd July 2019 02:00 AM

Thoughts on this Nimcha(?)
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I recently picked up a Nimcha, I believe, at auction. It caught my eye because the blade has some interesting marks.

The auctioneer billed it as a 19th century horn hilt with silver. And billed the blade as Italian, circa 1540-1560. The mark on the fuller is a double eagle with a mullet with the word JESVS. The blade is engraved with scrolling foliage for the length of the blade. And the last third of the blade is double-edged.

I was wondering if anyone had more info about this bladesmith mark, or the scrolling foliage engraving, or could provide more information about the blade's potential Italian origin? Also, always appreciate any comments.

Also, I'd like to know the groups thoughts on polishing the blade or other work I could or should have done on it?

Thank you .

Jim McDougall 23rd July 2019 08:41 PM

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The blade on this appears to me to be most certainly North Italian by the oval cartouche at the ricasso, which seems in degree an Italian convention with a number of makers including Picinino, and in the late 16th early 17thc period.
The blade is of the Storta (Boccia & Coelho, 1975) type and of that period (op. cit. #544, 545).
The hilt is clearly remaining from a Maghrebi nimcha as noted 19th c. likely Moroccan.

Very astute on this buy! While not sure of the JESUS in the cartouche (I have not found that maker) but may be an invocation also.

As always I recommend much restrained cleaning and stabilizing of any corrosion, and keeping the weapon as much in situ as possible. I guess as a historian of course, I favor such restraint, but it is personal choice.

TVV 23rd July 2019 09:26 PM

According to the main theory on the origin of the nimcha, it was derived from the storta, so it is nice to see one with a storta blade. In my opinion the hilt is older than the 19th century, based on the shape - the pommel on 19th century Moroccan nimchas tends to be quite flat, whereas this one has distinctive "horns" protruding and those are usually found on earlier examples, at least when it comes to Maghrebi nimchas. The band at the end of the grip is also more detailed and complex than typical 19th century examples.

Even though the guard is missing, this is an outstanding find, congratulations.


fernando 23rd July 2019 09:50 PM

Originally Posted by vilhelmsson
... with a mullet with the word JESVS....

... IESVS ... that would be :o.

vilhelmsson 24th July 2019 12:18 AM

Fernando, I wasn't sure if the curl of a 'J' was obscured by corrosion, but on second and third and fourth glance at the photo, it looks like you're right and this bladesmith was really Latining it up.

Jim and Teodor, Thank you for your insights. I don't know much about these swords except for what I've read in these forums.

Jim, I generally agree with you regarding cleaning, conservation, etc. I'm just not as sure what is appropriate within the sphere of collecting ethnograpica. But on reflection, it probably wouldn't be a good decision to do much at all to an engraved blade.

ariel 24th July 2019 03:59 AM

I am wondering whether it had ever had a crossguard.
As to the degree of restoration, there are 2 schools: one ( Artzi Yarom or Charles, for example) believe that weapons should be returned to their fighting condition; another ( Jim, myself and many others) cherish “ kisses of time”. Both are based on solid grounds, and the choice belongs to the owner. Your argument about engravings is fully legitimate.
My exceptions are severe mechanical deterioration and uncovering features hidden by patina ( mainly Damascus construction). Others will think differently.
Wallace Collection is full of highly polished but not etched blades. My guess that many of them are wootz.
There are as many collections as there are collectors.

BTW, very good nimcha !

Iain 24th July 2019 11:48 AM

The others have summed this up quite well, almost certainly a northern Italian blade of the late 16th century.

I think this likely had a guard at some point, however it still remains one of the most interesting nimcha I have seen in quite some time. Congratulations!

Kubur 24th July 2019 02:17 PM

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Hi guys

I agree with all above.
I also think that the hilt is older and the guard is missing.
I would like to add that it is probably an Algerian nimcha.


vilhelmsson 24th July 2019 06:03 PM

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Thank you all. I think the observations that the sword originally had a guard are correct. The photo below makes it look as if something was originally attached to the top of the hill. And the corrosion patterns in the ricasso are slightly different than the rest of the blade suggesting that something may have originally been there..

ariel 25th July 2019 05:17 AM


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