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Old 28th October 2019, 06:39 PM   #31
Jim McDougall
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Ariel thank you for the response, insights and interesting observations. As someone also fascinated with Afghan and Central Asian shashkas I must say I feel like I am 'among giants' with the perspectives given here. I admit despite years of studying these myself, I am by far still learning.
Kubur, great images!!! Really add dimension to this view into these.

On the scabbard 'drag', what I learned of these is perhaps hyperbole, but with European swords, it was fashionable in the 'hussar' trend, to wear sabers low slung and virtually dragging along as the individual walked. ...much in the manner of clinking spurs with cowboys. Naturally the hand of the sabre was probably more to the position while mounted, but the characteristic set a fashion.

There is likely a more pragmatic explanation in the scabbard structure itself, but the style in the case of these Afghan shashkas may have been simply adopting European military fashions.
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Old 28th October 2019, 07:54 PM   #32
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Kubur,
Both of them carry sabers in a typical saber style: edge down.
The first one has a saber likely made by the Tubchiev brothers ( from Daghestan), who learned enameling in Central Asia and brought with them niello in exchange.
The second one.... his robe is too multicolored to see the handle clearly.

My hesitations about the "pseudoshashka" are as follows:
1. The blade is very curved, not typical for those Afghani swords. Likely remounted shamshir.
2. The slit is on the wrong side. Moreover, I have never seen slits in pseudoshashkas: their curvatures are not as pronounced. Mainly, they are seen on Ottoman kilijes. I am sure you have several of those, just try to unsheath them holding the sword horizontally but with the slit being above or below. See which position is more comfortable.
3. The handle is asymmetrically placed, in a typical "pseudoshashka" style. If my suspicion about the blade coming from a shamshir is correct, the tang should have been re-worked. I would x-ray the handle to look for any signs of it.
4. I am uneasy re. contour change in the middle of the scabbard. Looks as if it was re-formed and the modified area was covered by the suspension fitting.
5. Was the leather stitched in the Ottoman style: wire "springs"? Would be nice to see a close-up pic.

Obviously, I am at a great disadvantage because of my inability to inspect the sword personally. But the owner can do it if he wishes and disabuse me of my suspicions.
As I have already said, it is a beautiful and highly unusual pseudoshashka. The former is indisputable. The latter is what makes my antennae twitch.
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Old 28th October 2019, 08:12 PM   #33
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Ariel, calm your antennae.

This Afghan shashka, which you persistently call pseudoshashka (but it’s excusable, old people are usually very conservative), has no problems

Sorry, but I don't care much about your "suspicions." And certainly not so much that I was in a hurry to “disabuse” you.
Some of the forum participants who were visiting me in Moscow had the opportunity to carefully consider this shashka))))

And one moment. If you didn’t see something, then it only says that you didn’t see it and nothing more
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Old 28th October 2019, 09:03 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Look at the scabbard of the guy in Samarkand...


Kubur, you are absolutely right. The scabbard with the element that I circled in red (if I understand correctly, the discussion was about it) has been marked in Afghanistan since the first half of the 19th century.
Color lithography is the 1840s (from the watercolors of Lieutenant Rаttrаy), the black and white image is an illustration from book Bellew: Journal Of A Political Mission To Afghanistan In 1857 (here we can see the afghan shashka) https://archive.org/details/journal...0501mbp/page/n7
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Last edited by mahratt : 28th October 2019 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 29th October 2019, 04:08 AM   #35
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Kubur,
I enlarged the pics of Mahratt's pseudoshashka.
See. pic #6 from the top: typical Ottoman stitching and the fitting disturbed the seam mightily, to the point of tearing the wire stitches. I am more and more certain that the fitting was turned upside down to create a "shashka-like" appearance of the scabbard, and that the scabbard was originally Ottoman and not Afghani.

Have you tried to play with one of your kilijes and unsheath the sword when the slit is on top or on the bottom? Would like to get your impression.
As a matter of fact, other Forumites may try it too: the more opinions the better. We seem to have a fun exercise.
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Old 29th October 2019, 05:24 AM   #36
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Hi Kubur.
The desire of our friend Ariel to prove that he is always right, often plays a bad joke with him. He begins to see that which is not. And he does not want to see what is, but does not coincide with his opinion
In this case, having initially made erroneous conclusions, he saw a “wire seam” (or its "footprints") that no and never was on the scabbard of this Afghan shashka... Sorry, but on the scabbard, a seam from an ordinary thread ...

Ariel, dear friend, I remembered the Russian La Fontaine - the the author of the fables Krylov and one of his fable, where the main character lost his sharp vision with age ...

P.S. Knowing Ariel’s "youthful enthusiasm", I’m sure that he will continue to find fault with something else. So prepare more popcorn
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Old 30th October 2019, 06:11 PM   #37
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Thanks for responding to my query about the stitches and adding a close-up of the area. Regretfully, my expanding the previously-posted pic of the same location blurred the image.
Yes, regular, not wire seam. Afghani, not Ottoman.
Now it is seen even better that the leather is damaged, likely by the repositioning of the suspension fitting. Somebody likely wanted this one to look like a real Caucasian shashka, but the damage to the leather and the wrong position of the slit betrayed him.
Still, a very handsome example that should have been left alone. Perhaps, you might want to reposition the fitting to its original state. Should not be very difficult.
Enjoy it.

Last edited by ariel : 30th October 2019 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 22nd November 2019, 11:18 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
I am delighted to see these swords getting some attention on the forum! I have been a fan of them for some time, though I realize they fall into the strange collecting category of "rare but not highly sought after". Perhaps it's because Caucasian shashkas are more "blingy" and found in greater numbers.

I have handled about 5 of these including my two shown, and they may vary in length and blade type, but are generally always heavier than the Caucasian shashka.

My two are both quite heavy even to the point of becoming somewhat cumbersome to handle. The hilt styles are the same with simple riveted-through scales. The blades are not particularly well forged. Note that forging flaws abound on the larger example even to the point of partially ruining the chiseled panels at the forte.

Those panels are reminiscent of Persian style cartouches but are actually far cruder by comparison.

Each sword has some form of arsenal mark. The larger one has it chiseled into the forte panel on one side. The smaller example has it inlaid in gold on one side with an Arabic inscription I have not had translated.

Even with some faults, these versions are certainly unique, worth appreciating, and as far as I know, this style is unique to Afghanistan.


The inscription on the blade says:

عمل فقیر حسین (۰)١٢٦

‘amal-i faqir husayn 126(0)

“Work of Poor Husayn, 126(0) (1844-45)”
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Old 22nd November 2019, 11:33 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
I would be very grateful if someone would help me with the translation.
In my opinion, the scabbard was made specifically for this shashka. Its handle is deeply hidden in the scabbard, which can be seen in the first photo.


Starting with the inscription nearest the throat you have

نصر من الله وفتح قريب

“Victory from God and near conquest” (part of Qur’an 61:13)

الله محمد علي حسن حسين وفاطمة

“God, Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan, Husayn and Fatima”

انا فتحنا لك فتحا مبينا

“Indeed we have given you a manifest victory” (Qur’an 48:1)

On the mount in the middle, you have, repeated:

يا قاضي الحاجات

ya qadi al-hajat

“O Requiter of Needs!”
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Old 5th December 2019, 06:21 PM   #40
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Default What a drag

I can't see any evidence of drags in the circled photos Mahratt posted, leaving me a little confused on terminology. I know in some cases the term "drag" is used interchangeably with the whole chape. I've edited one of Mahratt's photos to clearly show what I call the drag, distinct from the rest of the chape.

I'll note that at least in the random sampling of European saber photos I looked at, the larger side of the drag always leads, thus providing equal or greater protection to the front side of the chape that's clunking into the ground as you walk. Looking at Mahratt's shasqa sheath, the larger side of the drag is on the concave side, meaning the concave side is downward, matching the orientation of the other mounts. The chape hasn't been removed and reversed, as the carved side and plain side on it match the face and back side (stitched side) of the leather.

All that aside, these are lovely shasqas people have. I really like the shasqa's clean lines and simplicity. I'll have to dig mine out of storage and provide a photo, but it's not in the league of the ones shown here, not by a long shot.
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Old 6th December 2019, 12:58 AM   #41
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Well, if one looks carefully at your delineation of the drag, it is the convex side that seems to be wider, suggesting that the sword was worn “ saber- wise”, not “shashka-wise”. That would prove that the slit on the throat originally was on the upper side, and that the seller intentionally reversed the direction of the suspension fitting to give a false impression that this pseudo shashka was worn like a Caucasian shashka.


The only problem with the drag is that we have no idea whether the sword was worn low ( touching the ground) or not. My guess not: dragging was fashionable among European cavalry officers, just to impress their dancing partners. Afghanis did not care about such niceties:-)
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Old 6th December 2019, 02:59 AM   #42
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My apologies, my post was pretty ambiguous. Instead of "larger" I should have said "longer." The longer side of the drag is in the direction of travel, that is, on the underside, on every European saber where I've looked. I'm assuming this was for the functional reasons I've mentioned, and even if the sword wasn't to be dragged around it would be done in the same way. Of course there's no way to know how a non-European maker would orient the drag. However if we assume these things were done capriciously, we stop being able to say much of anything about anything.
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Old 6th December 2019, 03:30 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
The inscription on the blade says:

عمل فقیر حسین (۰)١٢٦

‘amal-i faqir husayn 126(0)

“Work of Poor Husayn, 126(0) (1844-45)”


Your translations are amazing, thank you, for the Tunisian daggers too.
Question: are you sure that it is Poor and not Husayn the sufi?
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Old 6th December 2019, 03:31 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
Starting with the inscription nearest the throat you have

“God, Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan, Husayn and Fatima”

انا فتحنا لك فتحا مبينا


This guy should have been seriously shi'a...
Persian??

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Old 6th December 2019, 12:36 PM   #45
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Thanks so much kwiatek!
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Old 6th December 2019, 09:15 PM   #46
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Thank you Kubur and CharlesS for posting your pieces. It‘s great to see new things and to learn!

I think faqir here means “poor” rather than “dervish”, though you’re right that it could have that meaning. It’s quite common for artisans to sign things with a self-deprecating adjective such as “poor” or “humble” or to call themselves “servant” or “slave”.

And yes definitely Shi’i!
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Old 7th December 2019, 02:35 AM   #47
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Yes, Shia.
My guess , this pseudo-shashka was not made in Afghanistan by the local Shia, Hazara or Quizilbash. Afghani-made weapons are usually simple and pretty crude.
I would guess it came from Iran, where there are significant diasporas of both tribes.
Shia Muslims were persecuted in Afghanistan and emigrated in droves. Just to mention wholesale slaughter and displacement of Hazaras by Abdurrahman in the early 1890s: it is claimed that fully half of their population were killed by government forces.
In Iran they settled in Khorasan, a famed arms- manufacturing province. That might explain the sophistication of that sword.
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