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Marcus 16th July 2017 08:28 PM

Russian Shashka
9 Attachment(s)
I just won the auction on this sword. I would appreciate help with identifying the proof marks and any guess on the date.

fernando 16th July 2017 08:45 PM

Excelent, Marcus.
Could you post a picture of the whole blade inscription ?

Marcus 16th July 2017 08:49 PM

I will look forward to getting more pictures. Right now I have only what the auction provided.

batjka 17th July 2017 02:01 AM

The blade inscription says "For the Tsar and Fatherland". The seller is Yafe and Sons from St. Petersburg. Actually, "Yafe" is an educated guess, legible letters say "..afe and sons".

ariel 17th July 2017 10:33 AM

It is not "Yafe": "Shaf & sons". What you read as "E" at the end of his name is in fact "Ъ", a silent letter put after a final consonant: standard pre-revolutionary Russian orthography. This was the biggest Russian company supplying blades for the military.
Wilhelm Shaf ( or Shaaf) moved from Solingen to Zlatoust in 1815 together with his 3 sons, promising to teach Russian workers his techniques. In 1824 he left Zlatoust and established his private company in St. Petersburg.

The above style of markings was active after 1880. The blade bears the monogram of Nicolas II, the last Tsar, who ascended to the throne in November 1884. In 1914 the name of St. Petersburg was abolished to Petrograd in a wave of anti-German sentiment.
All this is in accord with the "1881 Pattern" of this military Shashka.
Shafs left Russia after the 1917 revolution. So, the date is between 1885 - 1914.

Marcus 17th July 2017 12:09 PM

Dear Ariel,
Thanks for the great information. Also, I have been meaning to thank you for recommending Sabres of Paradise. I found it both edifying and engaging. I have a friend who now lives in Tbilisi. I hope to visit him there and if possible, get to see Dagestan.
What model preceded the Pattern 1881? Also, is it correct that this sword would have been a private purchase not an issued sword?

ariel 17th July 2017 07:59 PM

I looked in the Frolov' s book about weapons of Kuban Cossacks: they ordered shashkas from different sources, but I could not find Shaf among them. Beyond that I do not know. There are Russian collectors who know history of military shashkas up to and including the number of rivets on the scabbard:-), but I am not one of them. My guess is that Shaf mainly made private purchase items, but I may be wrong.

As to the patterns, it depends on your definition of the Shashka. A dragoon lower rank saber with a D guard is officially listed as Shashka in Russian literature.

The first guard-less military Shashka was "lower ranks, Asian design, Pattern 1834". Its officer version differed only in non- standard decorations.

The next one was Pattern 1838, then lower ranks artillery 1868, after which came the " Cossack 1881", after which we have Pattern 1904.
Sounds confusing? No worry, the main difference was the configuration of the bronze parts of the handle, only the 1904 had either metal or horn handles faithfully reproducing the original Circassian/ Daghestani configuration.

Otherwise, all of them are typical clumsy chunks of steel. Russians never had their own tradition of bladed weapons: it was always imitation of somebody else's patterns: first Vikings, then Tatars, then Turks or Poles, then (with Peter I) European with the German decoration technique, then during 50 years of Caucasian War they adopted Shashkas, Kindjals and Caucasian dress to the point that their Tsars posed for their official portraits dressed like Caucasian mountaineers.

Currently, there is even a streak among Russian weapon lovers: According to them, Cossacks were the original inhabitants of the Caucasus, they invented everything, and the "so-called Circassians" just adopted ( stole, in fact) all the important military Cossack traditions. Orwell is just an amateur comparing to them:-)

Oliver Pinchot 17th July 2017 10:23 PM

In German it was spelled Schaff

batjka 17th July 2017 11:52 PM

Thank you for correcting me. I did read the last letter as "e". Very interesting. And I do agree with the analysis of Russian bladed weaponry.

Marcus 18th July 2017 05:13 PM

8 Attachment(s)
Is this a Model 1881 Cavalry Sword?

Marcus 1st August 2017 12:28 PM

fresh pictures
9 Attachment(s)
Plus a couple comparisons to a rustic Shashka

Roland_M 3rd August 2017 10:57 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Originally Posted by Marcus
Plus a couple comparisons to a rustic Shashka

Before 1918, probably WW1.

Roland the Unseizable

OsobistGB 19th September 2017 09:22 PM

I apologize for getting involved in discussions, but my opinion is that unfortunately shown shaska is compiled.The model shown is an officer Cossack shaska M1881.I definitely think that the blade is from ordinary officer's shaska M1881 and the handle is taken from other two models.The auction of where you bought the shaska, has it a good reputation?

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