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 20th October 2019, 10:08 PM   #1
vilhelmsson
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 57
Default 18th Century Zoomporhic Shamshir

Hello,

I picked up this sword recently. It was offered as an 18th century Indian shamshir.

I wanted to solicit the thoughts of the forum about what it's purpose is, and if anyone was familiar with the very faded mark on the blade? And is 18th century right?

The iron work on the elephant is somewhat rudimentary. It feels small in the hand and the handle is somewhat small. At first, I thought it might be a child's sword. But the actual size of the blade is similar in size to a very serious tulwar that I have, though the tulwar has the more substantial feel of a weapon.

I wonder if it might be a piece meant for the 18th century domestic tourist market, maybe marketed to Hindu pilgrims?

I have not examined the organic material in the pommel under a microscope, but it was marketed as bone.
Attached Images
    
vilhelmsson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th October 2019, 11:40 PM   #2
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,988
Default

The blade looks wootz-y to me, and there is no Indian ricasso: Persian?

Polish a small area and etch it gently. Shiva and Ahuramazda willing you might be pleasantly surprised.

Last edited by ariel : 21st October 2019 at 02:55 AM.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st October 2019, 05:53 AM   #3
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 4,408
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

It looks suspiciously like a wootz blade in my view...

In addition the cartouche now almost completely obliterated looks like an Assad Ullah style for which you may like to look at http://auctionsimperial.com/om-the-...of-assad-allah/

I find the ears of the elephant a bit strange as they look likely to cut into the sword hand..and the finials look peculiar since they appear to be inverted. Odd that the hilt has a chunk of bone added ...I wonder is this hilt largely added to and played with...?

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 21st October 2019 at 09:47 AM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st October 2019, 09:39 PM   #4
vilhelmsson
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 57
Default

Ariel and Ibrahiim,

You both have a good eye, or at least good intuition. I received a few things after this that I was a bit more excited about, and I forgot about my initial thoughts on looking at it. The blade does look like on wootz on close examination in some parts.

I think I'll have to polish and etch a small portion, soon.

Assad Ullah style might be too optimistic, and this cartouche seems to be more angular and less round than Assad Ullah's.

The ears are not uncomfortable in the hand; they taper well. I didn't provide a good shot of the finials, but I think they are supposed to look like the bottom half of an elephant's open mouth. At least that was my impression when I saw them in person. The workmanship on the hilt is not going to make it into the next edition of Hindu Arms and Ritual!

I think I need to take another look at how the hilt is assembled and to what extent it is original.
vilhelmsson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st October 2019, 10:10 PM   #5
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,512
Default

Indian shamshir blades rarely present the characteristic Indian ricasso. That is a characteristic of the tulwar blades. However, this blade a ppears to have a rudimentary Indian ricasso.

In my oppinion this is an Indian, not Persian blade.

Why?! It is wider at the ricasso than the typical Persian blade.
Connected to the wider ricasso is the more tapering of the blade towards the tip.

So, to my eyes, this looks like a transition blade between a classic shamshir shape and that of a tulwar.

Also the location of the inscriptions appears to be lower, more towards the tip, and is not of typical Persian shape.

With regards to the hilt, I believe it to be a more recent, very poor, touristy, replacement. Late 19th century, but most likely early 20th...

Why?! The blade is not hilted properly. The ricasso does not go up inside the hilt, but it ends up right before the hilt, meaning that at the joint zone the blade is only supported by the narrow tang and very prone to breakage. So, in the condition it is fit now, this blade cannot serve as a fighting weapon.

My two cents...

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 21st October 2019 at 10:25 PM.
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st October 2019, 10:42 PM   #6
vilhelmsson
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 57
Default

Thank you Marius. And I have your etching guide bookmarked.

I must shamefully admit that the poor hilt is what caught my touristy eye Do you have any thoughts on whether it was intended for domestic Indian tourists versus international tourists? I think we're far enough removed from the early 20th century that this isn't self-evident from it being offered for auction in Europe.

For the price I paid, I'm satisfied with an older, wootzy blade and a late kitschy (at best) hilt.

Your two cents shall be deposited in an interest bearing account of knowledge! In the meantime, I will try not to get into any sword fights. With this sword.
vilhelmsson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2019, 05:47 AM   #7
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,512
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by vilhelmsson
Thank you Marius. And I have your etching guide bookmarked.

I must shamefully admit that the poor hilt is what caught my touristy eye Do you have any thoughts on whether it was intended for domestic Indian tourists versus international tourists? I think we're far enough removed from the early 20th century that this isn't self-evident from it being offered for auction in Europe.

For the price I paid, I'm satisfied with an older, wootzy blade and a late kitschy (at best) hilt.

Your two cents shall be deposited in an interest bearing account of knowledge! In the meantime, I will try not to get into any sword fights. With this sword.


When I said "touristy" I didn't necessarilly mean for tourists. What I had in mind was a lower quality of workmanship hilt that is not suitable for real use. Whether it was meant for international collectors or just to make the sword look complete for display in an Indian house, I cannot say.
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2019, 07:31 AM   #8
Kubur
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,888
Default

i don't like to be negative with any forum member.
But here there is no discussion, the hilt is a touristic late stuff.
With the ears nailed and the trump in the air!
With the camel bone i would be tempted to put this art work in the chicken street of Kabul. The blade looks good.
If the blade is good, throw the hilt to the bin and buy a nice tulwar or pulwar hilt...
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2019, 07:53 AM   #9
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 833
Default

This shamshir has been put up at one famous auction several times over the past two or three years
I think it caused potential buyers a lot of questions if they didn’t buy it for a long time ....
Attached Images
 
mahratt is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2019, 09:16 AM   #10
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,512
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
I think it caused potential buyers a lot of questions if they didn’t buy it for a long time ....


Not surprisingly!

From your photos, it appears that the blade has indeed some rudimentary Indian ricasso.
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2019, 09:36 AM   #11
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,988
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
.
.... trump in the air!



Only when he is flying Airforce 1:-)


The interesting and potentially valuable part is the blade.
If it is wootz-y, then the money was well spent.
The handle could have been attached yesterday or 200 years ago: they were easy to change and virtually all really old Indian swords are on their second or fourth.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2019, 06:37 PM   #12
vilhelmsson
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 57
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
i don't like to be negative with any forum member.
But here there is no discussion, the hilt is a touristic late stuff.
With the ears nailed and the trump in the air!
With the camel bone i would be tempted to put this art work in the chicken street of Kabul. The blade looks good.
If the blade is good, throw the hilt to the bin and buy a nice tulwar or pulwar hilt...


Well, you guys know what they say about a fool and his money

The challenge for me, of course, is that it's a lot easier to learn about good stuff in books than the cheap looking stuff that would never make it into the books and which is easier to access. The forums are a better place to learn why some inexpensive stuff is crap and why other inexpensive stuff has some redeemable qualities, than spending years accumulating crap before buying something nice and realizing that you've only spent years collecting garbage.
vilhelmsson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2019, 08:49 PM   #13
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,988
Default

Do not beat yourself up: everybody here went thru the same period. We all have our " walls of shame" ( more precisely boxes in dark rooms).
View it as a price of learning.
On top of that, if the blade is wootz, you got a winner. Changing the handle is simple, and a wootz pulwar will look gorgeous. Locals did it all the time, so you will continue the time-honored tradition:-)
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd October 2019, 05:57 AM   #14
ALEX
Member
 
ALEX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 917
Default

Vilhelmsson, you do not have to change the handle. Some people are too quick posing their opinions as ultimate guides for everyone to follow. This is quite inconsiderate because it does not regard individual tastes, stages and levels of collecting and collections. Some advice given are like: "your car is not a Ferrari, so throw it away and change to something else".

You liked this sword and the hilt in particular, and used your judgment in doing so. This is nothing to be ashamed of or discarding into the "wall of shame"... unless you were after an early Mughal masterpiece to complete a missing spot in your almost-complete early Mughal masterpieces collection.

Overall, this is a genuine antique sword. Yes, the handle is crudely made in comparison, but this does not imply it must be discarded.

As for wootz, you may test-etch a small portion of the blade without polishing it, good wootz will reveal itself, although I do not think it is wootz based on the photos. Once you know for sure, you may polish the whole blade and etch it to make it cleaner and uniform.

Good luck!
ALEX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd October 2019, 09:23 AM   #15
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 4,408
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

I think it likely that some play has been placed in the production of the pommel at #1 here at thread...
… It could be a walking stick head reformed onto this hilt for example and I suspect the ring of bone half way up the grip is also added.
As others have said this doesn't mean the whole thing is fiddled with as there may be a good blade here...I place a highly ornate elephant hilted tulvar and a contemporary dagger and an elephant walking stick head...
Attached Images
   

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 23rd October 2019 at 09:35 AM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd October 2019, 12:10 PM   #16
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,988
Default

Alex is right: you may change the handle only if you absolutely hate the current one. Otherwise, leave it as is. Original status should be preserved as much as possible.
My only hesitation is the bone : it looks very new. Then , switching an ugly new one to a good looking old one is legitimate, IMHO.

Addendum: you do not need a microscope to identify long bone. There are slightly elongated black “spots” all over. These are fragments of blood vessels supplying the bone: they traverse through the periosteum, a thin connective tissue membrane surrounding the outer surface of the bone proper.

Last edited by ariel : 23rd October 2019 at 03:13 PM.
ariel 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 07:03 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, 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.