In current discussions on Khyber knives and Afghan shashkas, it seemed timely to present some words on this wonderful new book, authored by our own Dmitry Miloserdov , "Edged Weapons of Afghanistan: 19th-early 20th c." (2019).
This book, while in Russian text, is breathtakingly illustrated with amazing examples of pertinent weaponry, as well as many other great accompanying illustrations. While I do not speak or read Russian, there are concise captions to describe the images, and honestly, I am so captivated by the photos of these examples it does not seem to matter.
The author has carefully researched this material for a good number of years, and what parts of the text I have been able to read through translation are outstanding. There is little reference in the west on the subject of Afghan weaponry, typically simply brief and cursory notes in various well known books on broader studies of other regions. Therefore there is considerable debate and contention among students of ethnographic arms.
The author does not just accept nor repeat the often commonly held notions or views on the arms of Afghanistan or its neighboring countries and regions, but presents his own versions in a thoughtful and well supported manner.
That is what makes this book provocative, fascinating and exciting. It describes and as required, challenges what we have often come to accept in the little material long standing in reference to these arms.
In my personal opinion, this is a long overdue reference on a area of arms which has seldom received exclusive attention, with beautifully photographed weapons that are a complete joy to see. These rare weapons are compelling and to have them just to admire, is amazing, even in the pages of such a book.
I very much recommend this book !!!