Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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:-)