Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Embossed ( chased) thin silver foil is extremely fragile. Niello is easily worn off. Such lavish examples were not intended for the battlefield.
I am sure there were "rich and famous" who wore them for portraits, official functions etc. , but by and large these lavish ones were intended to spend their lives on a carpeted wall in a " man's cave".
This one is 100+ years old and completely pristine: not a scratch, no damaged silver, no loss of niello, no nicks on the edge. This is a collection-grade artistic shashka made at the age when shashkas were gasping for air.
Please note: I am not denying its age and authenticity and not denigrating its artistic value. I am just putting my 5 cents worth about its fighting "Raison d'Ítre".