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Old 6th June 2006, 07:38 AM   #1
Rivkin
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Default quadara - Caucasus, Trabzon, Iran ?

First of all my deepest gratitude to Artzi Yarom who took such fantastic pictures of so many weapons.

As you all know, quadara (short, straight, single edge dagger-sword) has always been a subject of controversy, in particular it is so called "transcaucasian" or "azerbajani" type. Are they really from Caucasus ? Can they be iranian ?

Let us try to address the issue. First of all, lets quote from Astvatzaturjan on transcaucasian weapons (Oruzhie Narodov Kavkaza):
"Transcaucasian weapons...e.) Blades are slighly bend, one side is sharp, another is dull, i.e. this kindjal is not a kindjal, but a knife, below the dull side there are 2 or 3 fullers, on the left - right below the hilt, on the right - somewhat further from the hilt. Around the hilt one can find a touchmark-figurine"
"Armenian weapons: "....bend knife with a slightly bend dull side; around the last third the blade rapidly bends towards the end...has a single fuller".
Unfortunately no picture of this weapon is given.

Let us start with what we have seen in a part of Caucasus that is Turkey - Trabzon short swords.These weapons have been discussed here:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...+swords+trabzon

While their blade is quite similar to certain "quadaras", they have quite characteristic hilts, dissimilar to kindjal hilts and therefore to those of quadaras.
On the other side, in Iran one sees quite a lot of quaddaras with kindjal-like hilts, see for example the first picture below - quadara of Nader-Shah.

But now we come to the most interesting part - Caucusus. Besides small knives, I have seen only two types of quadaras coming from Caucasus. First type (2nd picture and http://www.oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=514 ) - essentially straight caucasian single fuller kindjal with three modifications - first the fuller is even more off-centered than usual. Second the tip rapidly bends to one side. Third, one of the edges is oftenly blunt. The caucasian provenance of them, in my opinion, is well established - just to take these two the first one (russian Tula's arms museum) has a typical caucasian niello hilt, second one has a typical caucasian goldwork on the scabbard.
quadara-kindjals of this type do not have touchmarks.

Another type, depicted here
http://www.oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=259
is also a very common type one can find in the area. It has a touchmark and it has correct number of fullers to be the one described by Astvatzaturjan?

I would like to see what members think about this issue. My opinion is that single-edge swords existed in Trabzon, Caucasus proper and Iran, with some modifications distinquishing among them.
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Old 11th June 2006, 08:39 PM   #2
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Again, if moderators feel like it, they can modify this message.

What one can tell about Azerbajani weapons? First let us ask ourself, what is the Azerbajan and what is Persia. Since 12th century both become dominated by turko-mongolic tribes. Their military was traditionally composed from turkoman, with some inclusion of kurds and in later times - georgians, lezghi and even armenian. Persian as in "members of persian tribe" were present in the army in extremely small numbers, moreover traditionally they were used in gun bearing regiments. Because of this, I think it is rather strange to talk about some specific persian ifluence (whichwas mostly confined to language, literature, religion and government bureacracy), like their wrestling traditions, defining the nature of iranian arms. While in the current state of Azerbajani, the presence of Armenians, sunni Lezghi and others to some extenet decreased the power of turkoman lords, however massacres and deportations organized by Savafids gradually decreased such presense. Here one also must concentrate on turkoman influence.

If one to accept this, one can not truly distinguish between Karabagh (currently Azerbajan or Armenia) and Tabriz (turkish-speaking Iran). Both were controlled by the same families - should we expect chingizoid-turkoman Qajars, lords of Shusha and Karabagh, future Shahs or Iran, to change their weapons every time they cross Arax (river separating "Iran" from "Azerbajan") to arrive into their family strongholds in Shusha and Shirvan?
Should regular georgian army, recruited and armed in Georgia, used by Shah to control Afghanistan (see "Georgia and the Fall of the Safavid Dynasty," BSO(A)S 14, 1952, can be found of jstor) be labeled as the one carrying persian or georgian weapons ? What about Lezghis who served Nader-Shah (as all other Shahs with an exception of Pahlavi and Zand - not a persian by tribe)?

In fact, while one can certainly observe some tribal distinction between weapons of these countries, their mutual influence is colossal, specifically due to the common overpowering presence of turkoman clans. Again, one should not expect great variations among weapons used by the same Qajar family, whether in their lands in modern Azerbajan or in Tabriz.

Now to the point of quadara. I was trying to think in what context one can be depicted - it is certainly not so much a parade weapon, especially since Astvatsaturjan seems to descirbe single edge kindjals as "knifes", i.e. something quite utilitarian. The answer came when I was reading an article (I can not guarantee its accuracy, since it was heavily pro-armenian) with series of photographs - azeri artillery at Shusha, etc., one of them (the first picture below) was titles "shahsey-vahsey, Azerbajan". Shahsey-vahsey is a derogatory term, popular in Caucasus, for Shia Ashura festival. As one can see the weapon's blade here is straight, single edged. While I can not quarantee the authenticity of this picture, it is better than nothing.

Now to show that such quadaras and even kamas are not constraigned by any means to modern Iran - the following 2 pictures are from Iraq. On the first one you can clearly see quadaras in the crowd, on the last picture - a kindjal-kama. Again, Ashura festival.
P.S. A while ago I stated my disbelief that kindjals can be used in Ashura. Well, I stand corrected - I have seen a very sanitized version of Ashura, this one seem to be much bloodier.
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Old 11th June 2006, 09:34 PM   #3
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Another shots - quadara and qama.
Interestingly, all qaudaras have much narrower and smaller fullers than one usually sees on so called "Azerbajani" ones.

P.S. I selected the photographs that are _least_ bloody and most concentrated on weapons, not on the festival itself. I think if we want to keep this thread moving, it must be about weapons, not about Ashura.
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Old 11th June 2006, 10:02 PM   #4
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Here is my Qaddara: 32.5" total, 26.5" blade, 1.75"wide. For easy visual comparison, I put a paperback next to it: appropriately, it is " The sabres of Paradise" by Leslie Blanch. It is a fantastic book about the Russian wars to conquest the Caucasus, mainly about the Shamil's Gazavat. Reads like young John LeCarre, only better. Strongly recommend.
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Old 11th June 2006, 10:14 PM   #5
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No more cracking wise about this thread Gentlemen .
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Old 11th June 2006, 11:04 PM   #6
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Are comments about cracked handles (as in mine) permitted?
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Old 11th June 2006, 11:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Are comments about cracked handles (as in mine) permitted?


All right I'll spell it out ; do not make any comments that demean the religion of Islam .
If I see any more comments of that nature in this thread the poster will get a month off.

Is that clear enough ?
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Old 12th June 2006, 02:05 AM   #8
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Hello,
A question about the kindjals and quadaras used here: are these old weapons kept by families over the generations, or are some of them newly made/assembled for their ceremonial uses? There seem to be a whole lot of them in these pictures alone, so I'm wondering how widespread they are.
I never knew these weapons reached as far south as Iraq, they're trully fascinating.
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Old 12th June 2006, 04:23 AM   #9
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In XIXth century these weapons used to be found as far south as Egypt; these ones are of what I would define iranian-influenced type. Most of them are of a relatively mediocre quality and vintage/newly made. They do not have signatures, koftgari or anything like this. Most of kindjals: have 2 rivets, hilt with relatively long handle, relatively small base and "arc-like" head. Rivets are usually quite simple and round. The blade has a single, sometimes slighly off-centered fuller, the blade is straight and relatively long (19++ inches), rapidly tapes at the end.

From extremely uniform look of this type I would assume there is probably some kind of metal shop in Karbala or Iran which produces them. They regularly come up in ebay, usually mislcassified as caucasian or georgian.
On the other hand, one regularly finds something of similar iranian type, with no koftgari, but with a much better hilt/structure suggesting older manufacture.

Again, on traditional, XIXth century iranian works one can usually find an extensive koftgari made with a copper or whitish wire, often including farsi signatures.

P.S. I checked other news agencies (above - copyright Corbis, below - Getty images). Indeed, attached is a picture of pre-Ashura kindjal sellers.
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Old 12th June 2006, 04:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivkin
P.S. I selected the photographs that are _least_ bloody and most concentrated on weapons, not on the festival itself. I think if we want to keep this thread moving, it must be about weapons, not about Ashura.


Good advice, Kirill.

Folks, this thread must NOT become about Religion or Politics. Let's scrupulously avoid going down that path and focus on the weapons.
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Old 12th June 2006, 04:21 PM   #11
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My undestanding is that Kindjal is a typically Caucasian weapon. All along, Caucasians of various ethnicities and religions were very active in foreign militaries (Mameluke in Egypt and, especially, in Persia. In the latter, they might have constituted the bulk of the military). Also, frequent invasions from Persia and Turkey displaced many of them into the victors' hinterlands.
This is a classical scenario for the spread of a particular weapon type.
I have a typical Kindjal, but it has a rhino handle and alligator (lizard?) skin stips on the scabbard: a very likely "Sudanese" type.
As to single-edge or double-edge... If Shashka is a "big knife", there is no reason why single-edge Kindjals could not have been also used in, say, Circassia. Are we saying that a single-edge Kindjal is a Persian development?
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Old 12th June 2006, 05:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
My undestanding is that Kindjal is a typically Caucasian weapon. All along, Caucasians of various ethnicities and religions were very active in foreign militaries (Mameluke in Egypt and, especially, in Persia. In the latter, they might have constituted the bulk of the military). Also, frequent invasions from Persia and Turkey displaced many of them into the victors' hinterlands.
This is a classical scenario for the spread of a particular weapon type.
I have a typical Kindjal, but it has a rhino handle and alligator (lizard?) skin stips on the scabbard: a very likely "Sudanese" type.
As to single-edge or double-edge... If Shashka is a "big knife", there is no reason why single-edge Kindjals could not have been also used in, say, Circassia. Are we saying that a single-edge Kindjal is a Persian development?


This is similar to my thinking, especially since kindjals in Egypt were specifically recovered by napoleonic army from mamluks, and I have never seen them before or after on any pictures.
While I can not deny a chanse of such weapons created in parallel elseswhere, since kindjals are somewhat similar to ancient daggers - as in attachment (2500bc).


Now, other images coming with this post - two short transcaucasian "qaudaras" - almost completely straight blades, single edge and armenian family from Nagorny Karabagh (?), boy has a small knife-like quadara.
One of quadaras is photographed at the angle, so it is a little bit distorted.
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Old 14th June 2006, 12:06 AM   #13
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Here is another one.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1

This one was apparently made in the Ukrainian town Zhitomir, and Kharkov was another center. Many were made in Russia proper.
It is a souvenir piece, with the nielloed inscription KABKA3 (Caucasus) on the scabbard. Shows that this curved pattern was viewed as fairly representative of the Caucasian tradition and not necessarily related to Iran. These curved Kindjals were called Bebut (ethimology?) and a similar pattern was used for the military (the so-called "artillery") daggers.
Miller in his book Kaukasiske Wappen shows curved Kindjals from the Hermitage collection and dated to the 19th century. Askhabov shows pictures of Chechen burial stones engraved with the silhouettes of curved kindjals (17-19th centuries) and Gorelik shows similar knives from 1st milennium BCE to 1st milennium CE.
The bottom line: I agree with Rivkin that both straight and curved kindjals hail from the Caucasus; they spread to the surrounding countries (Iran, Ottoman empire) and the far flung ones ( Egypt, Sudan, Arabia proper) by the war tradition of the Caucasian nations. By the same token, curved Omani Kattaras replaced the straight ones in the 19th century as a result of popularity of Caucasian shashka blades that were exported there.
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Old 14th June 2006, 04:48 AM   #14
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Absolutely agree, altough I would keep all the options open concerning exact origins of these weapons. I would summarize my position:
a. We definitely see a variety of single edged weapons in Caucasus - from highly curbed jambiya-like blades to straight, single edge kindjal-knives.
b. Unfortunately, as of yet no one has demonstrated the differencies (I am sure there are some) between "Azerbajani", better to say Karabagh, Gyandzha and Talysh weapons vs. weapons of Tabriz,i.e. weapons of iranian Azerbaijan.

P.P.S. It is understandable that in the state of Azerbajan one can see lots more purely caucasian weapons. What is discussed here are weapons common for both "Caucasus" and "Persia".

P.S. The Tanavoli collection is in Canada right now:

"Persian Steel : The Tanavoli Collection -
March 5th to Sept 4th, 2006

This exhibition is dedicated to the collection of Persian steel objects gathered over the last thirty years by the Iranian sculptor, Parviz Tanavoli, and tells the story of traditional life in pre-modern Iran. Steel was an integral part of the economic, social and religious life of Persia (now Iran) during the Safavid and Qajar periods (16th to early 20th centuries). Through the display of more than 300 intricately designed items of steel - tools, household implements as well as ceremonial items - the gallery will illustrate the superb workmanship of the traditional Iranian craftsman. This tradition is not just concerned with decoration, but also shows a keen attention to form, as can be seen in the instruments and utensils of daily life as well as in devotional objects."

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Old 25th June 2006, 03:23 PM   #15
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Dear All,

I believe I came by a reasonable explanation for this problem.

Let me start with a few comments - first of all most of our misunderstanding comes from the excessive use of a generic label "persian". While it has its uses in this cases since the question Caucasus/Azerbaijan/Persia involves specific tribes residing in Persia, in my opinion one must concentrate on tribal affiliation rather than on that based on a state. It is also unfortunate that unlike for example russian where russian means ethnic russian and rossian means a citizen of Russian Empire, in persian both members of fars tribe and non-persian citizens of Persian Empire are called Persia.

Second comment would be that to resolve the issue one rather than concentrating on contemporary field research, one must concentrate on archival sources. In my personal opinion, things told by local artisans, martial artists etc. tend to be heavily mixed with rumors, legends and interpretetations. Obviously, if one is capable to analyze them, they can be important sources as well.

Now to the problem at hand. What is qama/quadara ? Is it Caucasian, Azerbaijani (i.e. turkish-speaking tribes of Transcaucais and north-western Iran) or Persian (i.e. pre-islamic Persian weapon transformed into its modern form) ?

A month ago I would politely say that it is quite likely we have a simultaneous development in both Caucasus and Persia. Today I do not think so, for the following reasons:

a. We know that kindjals (qamas) in Egypt, Syria, Balkans, Russia and Turkey appeared as a result of connections with Caucases. While it is possible that Persia and Iraq are sole exceptions, one has to wonder why Persia with its colossal influence did not sucsed in spreading kindjals in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan ? Why all the countries that have kindjals are located in a circle surrounding Caucasus ?

b. It will be important for us later, so let me again state that Azeri weapons from Azerbaijan the state are very similar to that of Azerbaijan the province, with a little bit of extra caucasian influnce in the former. For details see “Oruzhie Vostoka” (Weapons of the Orient), Collection of the State Historical Museum of Azerbaijan.

c. One might say that since kindjals descended from akenakes, the weapon common to almost entire northern part of the middle east, it is possible that one has the same simultanous development, or even more - "persian" influence. To argue with that I would refer the reader to Gorelik "Weapons of Ancient East", page 19 "Development of akenakes type, i.e. dagger with a specific form of the guard and scabbard, happens in the middle of the seventh century BC, most likely in the north of pre-Caucasus, the center of scythian culture and state". One can check these statements against almost any public source, like wikipedia. In light of this I think one should be very careful when talking about the influence of persian akenakes on caucasian kindjals.

Now let us proceed to the first hand accounts of Qajar and pre-Qajar Persia.

c. 1998 Kibovsky and Egorov published series of article in a Russian journal Zeichgaus titled "Persia Army, first half of XIXth century", later incorporated in a book. They quote a number of western travelers, like Gaspar Druville (1813), specifically related to the army of Abbas-Mirza Qajar Shah, assembled in Persian Azerbaijan. Here is a quote describing its weaponry: “… Daggers were worn in the sash, both soldiers and civilians preferred the straight, “Georgian” kindjal, often with rich decorations”.

d. It gets even more interesting when we start talking about Ashura and its development. I would mostly refer to the article of Dr. Nakash from Princeton, in Die Welt des Islams 33 (1993), pages 161-181. Additional information can be gathered in a reach selection of literature he provides and some extra reading - Chenabi, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 29 (1997), p. 23, less so , for general information concerning caucasians in Iran I would cite the book by Babaie et al, "Slaves of the Shah", 2004, Tauris and Co, in Iraq - "Merchants, Mamluks, and murder : the political economy of trade in eighteenth century Basra", Thabit A.J. Abdullah. Virtually everything written by Dr. Minorksy is also can be of great use.

In the work of Dr. Nakash he tries to trace the origin of Ashura. I greatly recommend his article to anyone interested in this tradition, but for us the section on flagellation is of a certain interest. He says that while "Breast beating and flace slapping... were traditional ways of expressing grief in Muslim societies", however concerning the more violent ways to do so: "Both the accounts of European travelers and Shia sources point to Caucasus and Azerbaijan as the place of origin for flagellation. The earliest accounts of the travelers go back to the first half of XVIIth century (my comment - Evlia Chelebi and others)... In the southern cities, such as Isfahan and Shiraz, the travelers Della Valle, Thevenot, Tavernier and Le Brun ... did not mention any shedding of blood. In contrast, in the frontier like, Turkish speaking regions of the Caucasus and Azerbaijan in northern Iran, the travelers Karasch, Olearius and Struys wrote that devoteers struck their heads with swords... while flagellations as a form ... existed in the Caucasus and Azerbaijan at least from seventeeth century, the practice is not reported in the central and southern cities of Iran, nor among arab Shias until the nineteenth century". He links the practice with Qizilbash tribes from Caucasus and Persian Azerbaijan, and specifically points to the role of Sheikh Mulla Agha Abid from Derbent (Lezgistan, Caucasus) as someone who greatly popularized the flagellations. He talks about specific role of turks from Caucasus and Azerbaijan in bringing flagellations into Iraq. He also refers to very interesting material by Lassy and Monchi-Zadeh, concerning specifically caucasian rituals of Ashura, with kindjals being massively used.

Since at least in Iraq and probably to the smaller extent in Iran kindjals-qamas are used specfically for flagellations, one can make a solid guess (but nevertheless a guess) that the appearance of caucasian kindjals is connected with appearance of caucasian/azerbaijani Ashura practices, whether it is in Ardabil (Azerbaijan-Iran), Karbala (Iraq) or Isfahan (Iran).

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Old 25th June 2006, 05:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivkin
Second comment would be that to resolve the issue rather than being interested in contemporary field research, one must concentrates of archival sources. In my personal opinion, things told by local artisans, martial artists etc. tend to be heavily mixed with rumors, legends and interpretetations. Obviously, if one is capable to analyze them, they can be important sources as well.


I'm under the impression that archival resources were made with field researches too, so they may be subject to the same limitations of the modern ones. Depends on the way they were/are made.
But the modern ones benefits of the previous knowledge, the highlighting of previous mistakes and of the modern technology.
I completely agree about the capability to analyze them.
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Old 25th June 2006, 06:20 PM   #17
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Rivkin,
I think this is a first-rate analysis! Well researched, supported by references and thoughtful.
Circassians and Daghestanis emigrated from the Caucasus en masse after the Russian conquest (with not a benign encouragement from the new "masters" who transplanted ethnic Russians and Cossacks to the abandoned territories) and went to Turkey. From there they were sent to the Balkans, Iraq and Arabia proper. Whereas the decorations were locally-influenced, the general form of the Kindjal remained stable in all of the above areas and well beyond them.
The earlier influx of Caucasians both to Persia and the Ottoman empire predated this immigration by several centuries.
In general, Persian Empire always depended on foreighners as soldiers and on ethnic Persians as administrators.
Look at Chodynski's chapter in "Orez perski" ( "The sun and the lion: sketches of Persian militaria"):
In the Sassanian Empire with its capital in Bokhara, the military was mainly Afghani Ghaznavids (forming the elite "wedge" in the middle of the army formation.
The bulk of Persian military at that time were Turkish gulams, followed by the Hindu infantry and cavalry, and "...the least effective group were the Tadjik divisions consisting mainlly of Iranians".
Safavid Shah Ismail ( whose grandmother was Bysantian princess Despina) also had an army consisting mainly of Turkish gulams. By the way, iron ore was imported by him from Ossetia (Caucasus) and that was likely the early route of Kindjal penetration into Persia.
Abbas the Great 's army " ...consisted of Armenian, Circassian and Georgian divisions": another source of origin of Kindjals. Giorgi Saakadze, a Georgian , was in command of Abbas' forces conquering Baghdad and Kandahar.
Overall, I fully agree: Kindjal was a proto-Caucasian weapon and was adopted by Persians, Ottomans and other groups that came in contact with Caucasian nations. The names they gave to this weapon are immaterial: Qame, Qaddara etc were just local monikers.
The hypothesis of Azeri influence on Ashura is particularly interesting.
Currently, about 25% of the total population in Iran are ethnic (Turkic )Azeris ( and, by the way, there is quite a lot of unrest among them
http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2371133 )
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Old 25th June 2006, 11:30 PM   #18
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Ariel: I am really glad you liked it, thank you.

To add a few things - strangely enough there are a few georgian dances, that are nearly always performed with quadara, in particular:

Correction! This is clearly a Khevsuruli, not Pakioroba. Moreover, these pictures present a final moment of khevsuruli, when a woman drops her veil stopping the fight.

Another thing is that it is interesting that in the above mentioned article Ashura is paralleled to sufi Zikr. The first time I actually have seen a quaddara was when I saw Zikr - the leading man in the center was swinging it, while everyone else was circling around him.
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Old 26th June 2006, 01:27 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsubame1
I'm under the impression that archival resources were made with field researches too, so they may be subject to the same limitations of the modern ones. Depends on the way they were/are made.
But the modern ones benefits of the previous knowledge, the highlighting of previous mistakes and of the modern technology.
I completely agree about the capability to analyze them.



I think both are important.

No question that archival resources can be subject to imprecision and innacuracies. Many older sources are colored by prejudice and colonial perspectives, while still others simply reflect poor data collection and analysis. In the end, an archival source is only one thing and we should recognize potential pitfalls and try to utilize as many available sources of data as are available. To me, this includes looking at past writings (when available) and interacting with contemporary sources.

I agree with Kiril that contemporary sources have potential for innacuracy, but I'm no more willing to ignore their existence than I am potentially innacurate archival resources and prior reasearch.

I'm always pleased by how edifying a few comments by someone actually living within a particular culture can be to my research. I wouldn't base anything solely on those comments, but they often add to my understanding exponentially.

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Old 26th June 2006, 05:36 AM   #20
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Ugh, what I meant is that when one talks about the origin of a certain weapon, contemporary sources are far inferior to the archival ones since the events leading to creation of new sword patterns typically happened many centuries ago.

However, if we are to talk about modern sources vs. old ones in general, I find the latter to be superiour. One can just compare on one side Ibn-Khaldan, Ibn-Iyas, Maqrizi, Suleiman Faiq with Edward Said and see for hilmself which he likes better.
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Old 26th June 2006, 02:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivkin
Ugh, what I meant is that when one talks about the origin of a certain weapon, contemporary sources are far inferior to the archival ones since the events leading to creation of new sword patterns typically happened many centuries ago.

However, if we are to talk about modern sources vs. old ones in general, I find the latter to be superiour. One can just compare on one side Ibn-Khaldan, Ibn-Iyas, Maqrizi, Suleiman Faiq with Edward Said and see for hilmself which he likes better.

LOL!!!
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Old 26th June 2006, 03:38 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivkin
Ugh, what I meant is that when one talks about the origin of a certain weapon, contemporary sources are far inferior to the archival ones since the events leading to creation of new sword patterns typically happened many centuries ago.

However, if we are to talk about modern sources vs. old ones in general, I find the latter to be superiour. One can just compare on one side Ibn-Khaldan, Ibn-Iyas, Maqrizi, Suleiman Faiq with Edward Said and see for hilmself which he likes better.


I understood what you were saying. I just don't agree completely. (Not sure this is the point of this thread anyway. ).

I don't "prefer" one source over any other: I try to consider them all.

The sources you listed are all unfamiliar to me so I do miss that point.
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Old 26th June 2006, 04:58 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivkin
Another shots - quadara and qama.

snip

P.S. I selected the photographs that are _least_ bloody and most concentrated on weapons, not on the festival itself. I think if we want to keep this thread moving, it must be about weapons, not about Ashura.


This may seem an odd question and the answer my lie in the above quote but here it goes. Are these quadaras special for ceremonial use? I'm just basing this on the amount of blood I am seeing. Like I said the answer may be in the quote that we are seeing a very sanitized view. I have several knives/swords that if I did anything more then touch my head I would be in much worse shape. From what little I know of the festival caution is not a big part of it. But then, cutting yourself so bad that you bleed out and can't last to the end is not either. I guess the questions is then are these designed for the ceremony with edges that are not what they should be? From the design of the blade it looks to me like it would work equally well in a slash and thurst role. So I would expect the edge to be sharp.
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Old 26th June 2006, 06:35 PM   #24
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The self-inflicted wounds at the Ashura are not that deep; no danger to life at all.
Scalp wounds bleed like crazy because there is almost no vessel constriction in that area: the vessels are attached to the fascia. The wounds do not have to be big at all for the horrific "special effect" of bleeding.
By the same token, because of great blood supply, scalp wounds heal miraculously fast and well. No infections, nothing.
Pay attention: no self-inflicted wounds on the arms, torso, neck.

Last edited by ariel : 26th June 2006 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 26th June 2006, 06:57 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by ariel
The self-inflicted wounds at the Ashura are not that deep; no danger to life at all.
....

That is my point. How do you prevent deep wounds from a very sharp blade? For instance I have a waved Endura that I always carry, it caught on my sleeve and opened and cut me good with just the weight of the knife(which is very light). I just find it hard to believe that in the middle of religious fervor that they are carefull enough with a large sharp blade not to do themselves serious harm. It is noted that no other part of the body is cut.
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Old 26th June 2006, 08:15 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
I don't "prefer" one source over any other: I try to consider them all.


...dixit...
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Old 26th June 2006, 09:07 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by tsubame1
...dixit...


I don't understand Tsubame how is Andrew's statement an unsupportable assertion ?
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Old 26th June 2006, 09:49 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by tsubame1
...dixit...



lol, Carlo. As with most things on the internet. After all, I'm a lawyer. We love dicta.
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Old 27th June 2006, 04:21 AM   #29
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ipse dixit = "because I said so!"
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Old 27th June 2006, 01:18 PM   #30
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It is an interesting question: which evidence do we prefer, old accounts or contemporary practical advices?
Both have problems.
Old Persian miniatures, for example, are stylistic and do not provide details. Unfortunately, there were no digital cameras 500 years ago. Mark's example of a SE Asian painting with a clearly defined tip of the Daab is a nice exception, but even then we can suspect a certain degree of artistic freedom.
Contemporary masters did not live in a vacuum all these years either: new materials, new techniques, new market realities surely changed their products. And they learned their craft from the teachers who themselves were subject to the same forces. An example is the modern Caucasian kindjals and shashkas: enamel galore, easy filigree techniques instead of difficult and time consuming repousse, totally foreign ornaments. And I am not talking about the blades!
Their successors will not even know how to do the work right and will resort to even more freewheeling.
The most impotrant factor is the disappearance of the need in bladed weapons. They are becoming objects of art or just plain souvenirs ( witness contemporary Indian "damascus" creations). That is why contemporary bladed weapons become more and more "fantasy pieces". Going to the "native" country and looking for an old master in hope to learn reliable info about ancient swords is rapidly becoming an exercise in futility. He can do a nice job, but his main source of income will be kitchen knives, meat cleavers, axes, bazaar pieces etc. Aand he learned the craft from his father who were just in the same boat as he is now. I would be very hesitant to use him and, especially, his more distant descendants as a source of "academic" information,
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