Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Attribution of Indian (?) handle: Hyderabad? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21555)

ariel 15th June 2016 11:39 PM

Attribution of Indian (?) handle: Hyderabad?
 
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These very peculiar handles pop up from time to time, even on this Forum.
Invariably, they are attributed to Hyderabad ( Sindh, not Deccan). Even our local gurus, Oliver and Ward, attributed them as such.
I have no reason to disbelieve them, but wonder whether there is a particular source with more "official " attribution: book, museum etc.
Can you help me out?

mahratt 16th June 2016 04:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
These very peculiar handles pop up from time to time, even on this Forum.
Invariably, they are attributed to Hyderabad ( Sindh, not Deccan). Even our local gurus, Oliver and Ward, attributed them as such.
I have no reason to disbelieve them, but wonder whether there is a particular source with more "official " attribution: book, museum etc.
Can you help me out?


There is a good book by the famous collector Shamshirs from Russia: Kamil Haidakov (Камил Хайдаков), Shamshirs: Old Sabres and the Secrets of Ancient Sword Making, Moscow, 2013.

I recommend to read this book. In his opinion, such a handles were the Arab Shamshirs.

mariusgmioc 16th June 2016 05:30 AM

Hello Ariel,

I always thought this type of hilts are coming from the Arab countries. Even more so when decorated with the rather typical Yemeni filigree.

But, I am by no means a specialist in this field. :shrug:

Kubur 16th June 2016 05:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Hello Ariel,

I always thought this type of hilts are coming from the Arab countries. Even more so when decorated with the rather typical Yemeni filigree.

But, I am by no means a specialist in this field. :shrug:


I agree but if you look at the litterature, the best specialists say always Indo Arab, Arabo Indian, Yemen/Hyderabad... So in fact nobody knows...

ariel 16th June 2016 09:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
I agree but if you look at the litterature, the best specialists say always Indo Arab, Arabo Indian, Yemen/Hyderabad... So in fact nobody knows...



What a defeatist position!:-)

Sindh was always influenced by Arabian culture: Arab mercenaries served there, Arab traders were there, to the point that Oman until recently owned a part of neighboring Balochistan.

I can surely see Arabian decorative motives, but am unaware of a similar handle in any "Aravia proper" localities. To be blunt, IMHO, this is NOT an Arabian handle: this is a shamshir-type one with traceable South Arabian influences. The Sindhian origin is very probable.

I am looking for any documented evidence of its Sindh/Hyderabad attribution

The closest one I found was here:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17982

mariusgmioc 16th June 2016 02:14 PM

Very interesting and educative!

Thank you!

A.alnakkas 16th June 2016 02:51 PM

I do think the Baluch attribution is by far the most convincing one. Some heirlooms in Oman (cant post photos) in similar style are belonging to Baluchis.

Note that the example posted in the first post has the similar twisted wire style found in Omani shamshirs.

mahratt 16th June 2016 03:50 PM

Interesting. Starter asks whether there is description a similar Shamshirs in the literature . Next respected author theme makes his findings on the basis of unverified words. I am curious. Why ask the question, if you already have an opinion? :)

Perhaps to start is to read the book, which I recommend? Especially if it is written:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
I have no reason to disbelieve them, but wonder whether there is a particular source with more "official " attribution: book, museum etc.
Can you help me out?

ariel 16th June 2016 03:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Interesting. Starter asks whether there is description a similar Shamshirs in the literature . Next respected author theme makes his findings on the basis of unverified words. I am curious. Why ask the question, if you already have an opinion? :)



Perhaps to start is to read the book, which I recommend?


I am well aware of this book and know you lifted your attribution from it verbatim for your paper.

I think both the author of the book and you were mistaken. Nothing terrible about it, that is what this Forum is all about.

But questioning is always useful, especially when there are good reasons to do so.
There is a well-provenanced sword from Hyderabad ( see reference), then there comes Lotfy with his information about Baluchi swords in Oman...

Hopefully, we may get more info.


Dig deeper, old son:-)
We may learn something interesting:-)

estcrh 16th June 2016 04:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
These very peculiar handles pop up from time to time, even on this Forum.
Invariably, they are attributed to Hyderabad ( Sindh, not Deccan). Even our local gurus, Oliver and Ward, attributed them as such.
I have no reason to disbelieve them, but wonder whether there is a particular source with more "official " attribution: book, museum etc.
Can you help me out?
Ariel, seeing the full sword and the scabbard would be helpfull, any additional images?

mahratt 16th June 2016 05:12 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Ariel, seeing the full sword and the scabbard would be helpfull, any additional images?


This Shamshir now in my collection :) Here's a photo:

mahratt 16th June 2016 05:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
I am well aware of this book and know you lifted your attribution from it verbatim for your paper.

I think both the author of the book and you were mistaken.

But questioning is always useful, especially when there are good reasons to do so.
There is a well-provenanced sword from Hyderabad ( see reference), then there comes Lotfy with his information about Baluchi swords in Oman...



And looking at Shamshir hilt I think this is Arabic Shamshir (as well as the author thinks, about which I wrote).

I appreciate the views of other participants. But you asked about the books or museum attribution, and not on personal opinion :)

I hope you can give an example from the book proves yours opinion. As long as we can say in the same way that you are wrong :)

mahratt 16th June 2016 05:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
I do think the Baluch attribution is by far the most convincing one. Some heirlooms in Oman (cant post photos) in similar style are belonging to Baluchis.

Note that the example posted in the first post has the similar twisted wire style found in Omani shamshirs.


Baluch in Oman, and Baloch in Sindh, it seems to me - two big differences ...

I'll be glad to see photos of Baluchis with such Shamshir in Sindh.

ariel 16th June 2016 06:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Baluch in Oman, and Baloch in Sindh, it seems to me - two big differences ...



No, you are mistaken.
Baluchis in Oman are from Baluchistan and Sindh.
There were long-standing connections between the two and, as I have already mentioned, part of Baluchistan ( current Pakistan) used to belong to Oman until ~ 50-60 years ago.
Most Baluchis in Oman came there relatively recently, with the discovery of oil ( within the past 70-80 years), and of course brought with them their heirlooms and traditions.


You can say that I am mistaken as much as you want, but I at least have some facts and opinions of rather respectable people on my side:-)

I am not going to argue with you any more.

I am awaiting information from knowledgeable sources.

ariel 16th June 2016 06:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Ariel, seeing the full sword and the scabbard would be helpfull, any additional images?


Look for an identical one with very firm provenance to Hyderabad/ Sindh in the reference in my post #5.

estcrh 17th June 2016 12:35 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Look for an identical one with very firm provenance to Hyderabad/ Sindh in the reference in my post #5.

Yes I remember this sword.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 17th June 2016 09:07 PM

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The remarkable weapon at #1 reveals I believe the sword hilt adopted on Omani Shamshiir swords. Ariel is quite correct that Baluchi peoples have been in the Oman Zanj regions for a long time.. Saiid the Great employed Baluchi mercenaries to remove the Portuguese from Fort Jesus in the early 1800s... They have been in these regions ever since and in Oman largely on the Baatina Coast . The Omani habit of recruiting Baluch soldiers into its Armed Forces is a tradition going bck to the time Oman owned Gwadur and that part of what is now Baluchistan (under the Pakistani Flag) which was sold back to Pakistan in about 1950. Oman still recruits there.
The Omani Shamshiir probably made in Hyderabad has a hilt similar to the project weapon thus I believe that is the link to this extraordinary sword ...particularly the silver wired knot. Shown below; The Omani Shamshiir
See http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...omani+shamshiir

estcrh 17th June 2016 09:26 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Jam of Las Bela and suite, Durbar Delhi 1903, Jam of Las bela was the princely title of Las Bela State in Balochistan.

Take a look at the sword hilts.

ariel 17th June 2016 11:07 PM

Beautiful!
Thanks Eric and Ibrahiim!

The Ibrahiim's example shows a traditional Persian shamshir handle with Arabian decorative motives ( wire in particular).
But Eric's photo is astonishing: at least two handles that are spot on, and with impeccable attribution to Balochistan/Sindh.

Kubur 18th June 2016 10:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Jam of Las Bela and suite, Durbar Delhi 1903, Jam of Las bela was the princely title of Las Bela State in Balochistan.

Take a look at the sword hilts.


You are an amazing guy!
How do you find all these archives?
Now as Ariel, I agree that there is no reason to doubt of the origin of these swords.

Jim McDougall 18th June 2016 04:07 PM

I agree, Eric is clearly one of the most remarkable archivists, and seems to consistently come up with irrefutable illustrative examples to bring discussions to terms.

This is a great discussion on these interesting shamshirs, and I would not doubt in the least any attributions by Oliver or Ward. There is little substitute for the many years of countless examples and in depth study.

I would point out that even that being the case, one always seeks further corroboration and support for even apparently firmly set attributions. The reason for this is partly to explain the inevitable variants which will arise as well as being able to present the most comprehensively cited support in further study.

Naturally one has opinions, but a diligent and responsible researcher never stands on that alone, and does not stop seeking other published or researched material. Obviously those sources are also other opinions of those who have researched often similar material and examples, and can often provide remarkable perspective. Often this comes from examples or cases one or the other may not have had access to. In other cases it may be subsequent research and evidence not at hand when extant material was published.
This is well shown in the comments and notes from Ibrahiim, who has had extensive field experience in the field and with the ethnic groups being discussed as pertains to these sword forms.

Clearly the true and serious study of the history and development of arms forms is always a work in progress, and to ever seek further corroboration of evidence and to share opinions in a comparative manner in discussion is not only prudent, but powerfully constructive.

Thanks very much guys!!!

ariel 18th June 2016 05:46 PM

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OK, to summarize:

- We have historical evidence of Yemeni and ( especially) Omani Arabs living in Baluchistan and Baluchis living in Oman . Such exchange of population is a fertile ground for cultural and decorative exchange.

- We have Lotfy's testimonial that similar handles are seen in Oman even now, exclusively among the Baluch

- We have an old post here showing an identical handle on a shamshir, with excellent provenance to Baluchistan and Hyderabad

- We have a photograph of Baluchis carrying swords with identical handle

- We have unquestionable South Arabian decorative motives on the handles presented here.


What we are still missing, is the Indian example of a handle that could have served as a basis for the Arab silversmiths to apply their traditional decorations.


I would like to suggest, that the following purely Indian/Indo-Persian handles with a camel head with dulla might have fulfilled this function.
Pic is taken from the Robert Hales' book, p.229 ( ##561,562)

Jim McDougall 18th June 2016 08:08 PM

Good suggestion.....Baluchistan/Sind areas desert.
Possibly stylization .
Always thought Kabyle flyssa extreme stylization of camel too.

Looked in Pant?
There is a shamshir hilt with roundels similar to Hyderabad type sa'ifs.

ariel 18th June 2016 08:36 PM

Had enough time for Hales only. Pant is next:-)

The pommel has similar geometry: bent at 90 degrees, and then curves down.
Very idiosyncratic.

estcrh 18th June 2016 10:49 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
What we are still missing, is the Indian example of a handle that could have served as a basis for the Arab silversmiths to apply their traditional decorations.
There was a lot of trade between Indian and Arabic countries, There are Indians pictured with Arab style swords that appear to be Indian made, while you can not see the blade the scabbard on this sword does not look especially Arabic to me.


The Nawab of Loharu. Durbar Delhi 1903.

ariel 18th June 2016 10:53 PM

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OK, here is an example from Pant. Pommel's terminal is not bent, but still has a very specific ring through it.
Attributed as Mughal, 17 century.

Jim McDougall 18th June 2016 11:20 PM

That was the one I was thinking of

estcrh 18th June 2016 11:47 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
OK, here is an example from Pant. Pommel's terminal is not bent, but still has a very specific ring through it.
Attributed as Mughal, 17 century.

The ring seems to be an Indian feature, has anyone seen this on an Arabic sword?

ariel 19th June 2016 12:06 AM

So, how should we call these swords?
They are a bewildering hodge-podge of parts and styles: Persian blades, Indian handles, Arabian decor...

Indo-Arabian? Arab -Mughal?

For myself, I choose the construction of the handle as the defining point. Blades were imported, decorations borrowed or just made by itinerant artisans, but the national character of the sword was embedded in its handle. It was a hallmark of tribal beliefs and tastes, it reflected the traditional way of wielding it, it largely defined its techniques.
That is why shashka is Caucasian, Kastane is Sri Lankan, Pulwar is Afghani, Yataghan is Ottoman ( with even more ethnic variations), Choora is from the Khyber Pass and Kattara is Omani.


I would easily call it Baloch or Sindhian, or Hyderabadi.

Others can choose their favorite definitions, but calling it just "Arabian" would be a big mistake IMHO.

Kubur 19th June 2016 06:21 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
The ring seems to be an Indian feature, has anyone seen this on an Arabic sword?


A ring wrapped in a wire... yes i have seen them on Omani khanjar...


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