Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 8th August 2016, 03:03 PM   #1
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Little House on the Prairie
Posts: 2,057
Default Classifying shashka--a serious discussion of typology

Let's try something different!

A recent thread got sidetracked into a discussion of the terminology of shashka (pseudo-shashka, Buchara shashka, Afghan shashka, etc.) that did not advance our understanding of these swords. The debate about which name is correct, whether these are truly shashka, and so on became a circular discussion of yes it is, no it's not.

I am inviting the participants of that discussion and all others wishing to contribute to a serious rethinking of the question: what is a shashka, and what are the distinct sub-types that fall under that name?

The approach to be used here is a typological one, similar to that used by Ewart Oekeshott in his classical description of medieval swords. This method looks at how the weapon is constructed as it relates to its function. Decorative elements may help to define sub-types within a broad class.

You are being asked to look at these swords with a blank mind--no prior concepts of what they are or where they are from, starting with a completely blank sheet of paper. Then start building a new and logical concept of what a shashka is and is not. For those of you who have been discussing these weapons for a long time this may be difficult. In support of the arguments you present, there should be pictures posted here to illustrate the point(s) you are making.

Here are the questions that you are being invited to address:

1. What defines a shashka? Answers should focus exclusively on the essential elements of a shashka as a cutting sword--blade shape and length, hilt shape and length, whether a guard may be present, etc. You decide the essential elements.

2. What are the clearly identifiable sub-types? Again, this needs to be based on the structure of the sword. You should avoid discussing where you think the sword is from, just focus on the swords themselves and how they may be similar or different in their structure. At this point you may consider decorative elements also if this helps to define specific sub-types.

3. Define the sub-types in neutral terms, such as Type A, B, C ..., based on their clearly defined structural characteristics. Avoid defining more than a small number of sub-types.

4. Having defined these name-neutral sub-types of shashka, indicate the "common names" that have been applied to each sub-type.

Participation in this thread requires particular attention to the following Forum Rules.
  • Treat all opinions with respect
  • Avoid sarcasm and attempts at humor
  • No baiting of other participants
As a Moderator with super powers I reserve the right to edit posts that are off topic or do not follow the Forum Rules closely. Corrective actions will be prompt and without further warning.

[If this sounds like an assignment for a University paper it's probably because I'm a retired professor ]
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2016, 03:19 PM   #2
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 522
Default

First we need to recall the definition of the word «shashka». E.G. Astvatsaturian offers this description: «A shashka is a kind of sabre…» it has a shorter blade and there is no guard. «A grip is the most original part of a shashka and makes it different from a sabre. A solid grip covers a tang; if the grip consists of two halves, these halves cover the tang from two sides and get sealed by rivets. A grip usually has an oval cross-section… A pommel is large, slightly elongated and rounded up. There is a wedge-shaped cutout on top of the pommel - forked head. The base of the grip is extended to the width of the blade… The grip has no cross guard for protection… The grip is crafted so as to be almost entirely enclosed by a scabbard» Stone believes that a shashka – «It is the national sword of the Circassians…», and further quotes Rockstuhl: «The shashka ordinarily has a straight blade, or one very slightly curved towards the point, and the hilts without any guard whatsoever… When the arms is sheathed the hilt enters the wooden scabbard covered with leather, if desired, as far as the pommel. The latter is divided into two straight wings like a Trapizond yatagan. ...to many of the swords have fine old blades from Persia...» K. Rivkin gives the following description of a shashka: «A shashka is a light, relatively short (60-90 cm) slashing weapon of a very simple structure. … There’s no guard on a shashka, … A grip is made of a horn, expensive grips are made of walrus tusks … there are splitting forked head on the end… A shashka was usually worn on a shoulder or waist baldrick with an edge up. Such way of wearing a weapon was known a long time before shashkas appeared… in the Ottoman Empire. … A grip of the Caucasian shashka is almost fully enclosed by a scabbard».

All these authors say about the Caucasian shashka, as other shashkas they were not familiar ((K. Rivkin wrote in the book is about the Caucasian weapon).

Under the above-mentioned definition of checkers match:

1) Caucasian shashka
2) Afghan shashka
3) Bukhara shashka (and I think more correct to say - Central Asian shashka)
4) Russian shashka (Cossack)

Sorry for my bad English ...
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2016, 03:23 PM   #3
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Little House on the Prairie
Posts: 2,057
Default

Mahratt, that is an excellent start to defining a shashka! Thank you for the prompt reply.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2016, 03:25 PM   #4
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 522
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Mahratt, that is an excellent start to defining a shashka! Thank you for the prompt reply.



Thank you for the nice words
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2016, 03:29 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,666
Default

Allow me to second that Mahratt!! Nicely on point.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2016, 03:52 PM   #6
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 522
Default

I think no one doubts that the "Bukhara" shashka developed independently, regardless of the Caucasus.

Russian (Cossack) shashka is derived from the Caucasian shashkas (or vice versa). There are serious studies (they have not yet completed) and we do not know who came before. But it is not important. It is important that they have their own identity (in the decor, for example)

Afghan shashka is not a copy of the Russian shashkas. If someone borrows something - then items will be very similar. For example, the installation of the handle of the Caucasian and Russian shashkas - the same. Afghan shashka - individual. So we can not say that it copies a Russian shashka.
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2016, 04:37 PM   #7
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 3,913
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
First we need to recall the definition of the word «shashka». E.G. Astvatsaturian offers this description: «A shashka is a kind of sabre…» it has a shorter blade and there is no guard. «A grip is the most original part of a shashka and makes it different from a sabre. A solid grip covers a tang; if the grip consists of two halves, these halves cover the tang from two sides and get sealed by rivets. A grip usually has an oval cross-section… A pommel is large, slightly elongated and rounded up. There is a wedge-shaped cutout on top of the pommel - forked head. The base of the grip is extended to the width of the blade… The grip has no cross guard for protection… The grip is crafted so as to be almost entirely enclosed by a scabbard» .


Well, here is a "Turkish shashka", down to a forked pommel and up-curving blade.
Attached Images
 
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2016, 04:45 PM   #8
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 522
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Well, here is a "Turkish shashka", down to a forked pommel and up-curving blade.


Perfectly. If you show online now 10 such "Turkish shashkas" - it will be possible to discuss it. And so - this is an isolated object, which is called - "chimera".
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2016, 04:55 PM   #9
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 3,913
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Perfectly. If you show online now 10 such "Turkish shashkas" - it will be possible to discuss it. And so - this is an isolated object, which is called - "chimera".


Just get the catalogue of Zagreb collection by Dora Boskovic: multiple examples with straight and up-curved blades.

Anything that does not agree with the thesis of shashka being an " international weapon" is now an exception and a chimera...

This discussion becomes an uncomfortable mix of hilarious and embarrassing....
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2016, 05:07 PM   #10
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 522
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Just get the catalogue of Zagreb collection by Dora Boskovic: multiple examples with straight and up-curved blades.

Anything that does not agree with the thesis of shashka being an "international weapon" is now an exception and a chimera...

This discussion becomes an uncomfortable mix of hilarious and embarrassing....

You could not demonstrate examples? Not everyone here has a catalog of Zagreb. And they all want to see examples of which you speak. Those examples that I remember very different from what you put in the position of number 15.

Last edited by Ian : 8th August 2016 at 11:16 PM. Reason: Removal of personal invective
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th August 2016, 03:47 PM   #11
Roland_M
Member
 
Roland_M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Germany
Posts: 390
Default

A Shashka is a saber, which was first used by the Circassians (a Northwest Caucasian ethnic group).

In Circassians language "Shashka" means "long knife".

The Cossacks adopt the Shashka in the 19th century.


Roland
Roland_M is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 12:12 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.