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prichardus 5th August 2010 08:46 PM

traditional weapons??
4 Attachment(s)

Recently the items as depicted in the attachments were bought to my attention.
Knowing nothing about them, I kindly request those in the know to forward any information you have on them to me. Origin, age function etc etc.

Thanks in advance.

Battara 6th August 2010 01:04 AM

To me they look Persian, Qajar period, 19th century, during the Qajar revival period.

mahratt 6th August 2010 02:46 AM

I completely agree with Battara

Jim McDougall 7th August 2010 08:00 AM

Hello Prichardus, and welcome to our forum!!!

These items you have posted are Persian, and as noted, are actually in this case parade items from the Qajar dynasty in Iran (1794-1925). There is reference to these being Qajar 'revival' pieces, and I would note that this is a term often used by collectors with reference to certain Persian swords of early Arab form, suggesting a revival of these traditional types. During the 19th century there were of course powerful geopolitical circumstances constantly present. During diplomatic ceremonies and negotiations and events bolstering national pride and patriotism it was of course important to have strong showing of military force and tradition. These kinds of parade weapons were key elements for these situations.

I would presume these examples to be probably mid 19th century, and often Indo-Persian attribution is used as these same forms were favored in India by Mughal courts.

The axe is termed a 'tabar' , a traditional battle axe, these had smaller versions termed 'tabarzin' which translated loosely into saddle axe.

The interesting mace is one termed the 'demons head' and called a 'gorz'.
These are described in Stone (1934, p.421) and North (1985, p.42-44) where it is noted by North that these were typically 18-19th century and intended for parade use. Many of these were also in the form of bullheads. One of these demon head form maces is found in the Victoria & Albert Museum (67-1889).

The last item is a Persian version of the polearms known as military forks used in Europe in the 16th-18th centuries, with this example also a parade item of 19th century. The Persian examples of these are with two flukes as seen here, and the blades are typically wavy. There are examples of these in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul.

While these are ceremonial or parade weapons of most likely mid 19th century, they represent traditional weapons actual used by Persian armies and are impressively produced in these examples.

Again, welcome to the forum, and I look forward to more posts with interesting items for discussion.

All very best regards,

Jim McDougall 11th August 2010 06:01 PM

You're most welcome Prichardus, and glad we could be of help. I thought your questions were well placed and that you might have wanted a bit more detail, so spent a bit of time putting that together for you.
Any time you have items that come to your attention that you would like information on, please feel free to show them gives me something to do:) and by all means, my pleasure.

Dmitry 11th August 2010 07:06 PM

The "fruit fork"-like piece is described as mezraq or mizraq in Tirri's book.

Jim McDougall 11th August 2010 07:49 PM

Thank you Dmitry!!! I knew there was somebody still out there!!! :) You truly are a good sort, and you are great at adding pertinant detail. While we cannot know if this information was at all useful to the originator of this thread, I know I appreciate that information and will add it to notes.

These forks are truly interesting, and I have often wondered if they might have some subtle part in the origination of the Zhu l' Fiqar sword blades.
In the Persian shamshir versions, they are close parallel forks very much like these and on the military forks of Europe.

Thank you very much for answering Dmitry,
All the best,

Philip 12th August 2010 07:19 AM

those made only for show
Many of these all-metal Qajar weapons with etched blades were also used as props in the "passion plays" which were part of Shi'a religious festivals, particularly the dramatic spectacle depicting the martyrdom of 'Ali. In general, weapons have fairly thin, blunt blades of mediocre steel, covered all-over with ornamentation. There are also helmets and shields, again of generally insubstantial construction and workmanship which isn't exactly the pride of Persia's art heritage, but which are decorative and dramatic nonetheless.

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