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Old 27th November 2016, 09:58 AM   #1
Martin Lubojacky
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Default Qama - purposely bent grip ?

I was told the handle of the qama on the photo (62 cms, blade width at the handle 5.8 cms, comming to the point immediately from the grip, the horn grip was accurate work) was bent purposely to enhance the cutting characteristic of the weapon, long time ago. I have certain doubts about this, since the handle is damaged at the point of bent ... Nevertheless I tried to find sisimilar cases and I found the one, which is on the Picture from the book. Does anybody know about such adjustments of the qama´s handles, or is it everything just a speculation ?
Regards,
Martin
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Old 27th November 2016, 11:18 AM   #2
Kubur
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It's just a speculation.
Do you think the guys who did these nice objects would bent the hilt like that? Plus I don't think that will change anything concerning the use of the weapon.
In fact it's the opposite, the tang will come out of the hilt and put the user in big trouble during a fight...
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Old 27th November 2016, 12:00 PM   #3
Martin Lubojacky
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Thanks Kubur, I was of this opinion, too.
Could you try to allocate such type of qama ?
Martin
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Old 27th November 2016, 07:21 PM   #4
Oliver Pinchot
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I've seen a number of daggers of this type (kindjal, qama, etc.) with the hilt offset in one plane or the other. It likely assisted in wearing the dagger flush to the body or in gripping. The jeweled example in the photo, however, just appears to be loose or bent over.
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Old 27th November 2016, 08:08 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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I am reminded of the Caucasian 'skirted' shashkas which have their hilts deeply canted in this fashion. It has been some time so cannot recall exact classification on these, and it seems that it was suggested then, just as Martin has noted, that perhaps this might have some effect on force to cut.

While I remain unclear on those dynamics, Olivers suggestion on this character assisting in wearing or grip seems plausible. Totally agree on the green jeweled example, the hilt appears bent over as noted.
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Old 27th November 2016, 09:47 PM   #6
ariel
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I think that the hilt on the green one is perfectly straight, but the tang was inserted a bit crookedly. Look at the distance between the straight lines of the inscription and the base of the handle.

The original one sustained a bad blow at the base of the handle. That might have displaced the alignment. BTW, this one is very old, might be even 18 century ( see Miller's book of the Hermitage collection).

There were Caucasian kindjals with single-piece walrus handles bent toward the body. Some say it was made deliberately, to keep the handle closer to the body and prevent it from catching on something. I think that was just a natural curvature of the tusk.
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Old 28th November 2016, 04:09 PM   #7
Martin Lubojacky
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Thank you all for interesting comments. Now I think it could be 50:50. Either "bad blow", or deliberately offset hilt as Oliver writes (or both).
Best,
Martin
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Old 28th November 2016, 05:37 PM   #8
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i would think the maker would have fitted the knife to the scabbard a bit better on the bejewelled one at least, if he's intended it to be at that angle, rather than leave that unsightly wedge shaped gap.

another thought, how is the tang held in the grip? if a thermal cutlers cement was used, high desert heat &/or sun may have softened the resin allowing the movement, which then hardened in more amenable temperatures.
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Old 30th November 2016, 03:34 PM   #9
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A similar qama 70 cm with grip rhinos and gold graphics and trees in blade.
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Old 30th November 2016, 10:37 PM   #10
Jim McDougall
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While it seems clear that the hilts on these examples are canted or angled as a result of poor construction or repair or other misfortune, I wanted to add more to instances of weapons with deliberately inclined hilts.

What I was thinking of are the so called 'Mingrelian' skirted sabres from western Georgia, apparently properly termed 'kanianikhmali' (=skirted sabre). The skirted feature of the scabbard on these is cause for notable attention, but more so is the clearly deliberate angle of the hilt.
These features were addressed by Eduard von Lenz in his article "Einesabel Studie' (ZWHK, 1912), and in much later years by Emma Astvatsaturjian (1995).

In many cases these swords were dismissed as simply parade or ceremonial due to the curiously canted hilt, thought impractical for actual combat.
In more detailed study the examples of deliberately angled hilts which were favored for use are noted as used in Siberia, Asia and China until relatively recent times. Hungarian swords of 8-10th centuries with such hilts are well known as well as that of Charlemagne (9th c)

In the brilliant article " Swords and Sabres of Western Georgia with Inclined Hilts Without Crossguards" (2015, Vakhtang Kiziria and Irakly Bukradze)
it is noted from von Lenz that the obtuse angle of the hilt actually increases impact with no loss of strength on pull in cut......as applied to cavalry sabres. This same dynamic seems to have been in mind with various Tatar sabres.

With Qama and these daggers, it would seem that such a feature would be less relevant, but to a cavalry sabre, it does seem that these angled hilts did have a purpose.

Just added this as a point of reference re: angled hilts.
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Old 2nd December 2016, 10:44 AM   #11
ariel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew

another thought, how is the tang held in the grip? if a thermal cutlers cement was used, high desert heat &/or sun may have softened the resin allowing the movement, which then hardened in more amenable temperatures.


That would be possible only with single-piece handles that necessarily used some kind of cement.

But this one uses rivets. Those do not melt :-)
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Old 2nd December 2016, 11:20 AM   #12
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Jim,
There were several articles in Russian sources discussing manners of Kindjal use.
To put it shortly:

During intra-tribal duels, stabbing was forbidden because of its letality and subsequent retaliations and blood feuds by the family of the deceased. Thus, augmenting slashing/ cutting function of the kindjal would run contrary to the principle of "non-letality" and increase the obligatory fine slapped on the "victor". Also, stabbing was officially frown upon as dishonorable: it was viewed as used only by thieves.

Hunting and real wars removed that limitation: kill, kill, kill.

So far, so good:-)

In real life, however, popular lore and accounts of witnesses were replete with instances of stabbing. As noted by you, cutting and slashing are natural only for sabers.

I would be grateful to Oliver for providing examples of Caucasian kindjals with handles deliberately angled parallel to the plane of the blade ( like the above example): I haven't seen any. There were many "perpendicular" ones, and I referred to them above.

I fully agree with him on the jeweled one, and think that the original one shown here was also accidentally deformed.
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Old 2nd December 2016, 05:49 PM   #13
Jim McDougall
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Ariel,
Thank you for these additional notes regarding kindjhal use, and will add to my notes. I do recall a quote by Pushkin, an avid duelist, which I think was in "Sabres of Paradise" (Leslie Blanche) noting that the thrust was not honorable or to that effect.
While tempting to consider the 'malle perce' or needle like point on many kindjhals and of course many Tatar sabres (ordynka), to be intended for thrust....it seems more likely for slashing cuts.

What you say makes perfect sense as far as deliberately augmenting hilt orientation as discussed would be considered unseemly as far as weapon use for dueling such as with kindjhals, such restrictions would not apply with sabres and cavalry swords such as the pallasch I noted. As you note, in warfare there are no 'rules' despite romantic notions of many writers.

I completely agree on the disposition of the examples of kindjhal discussed here in the thread, both with unintended cant of hilt present.
My notes on angled or canted hilts was simply informational as far as instances where hilts were deliberately postured in this way, and not directly relevant to these examples.

I also would consider it interesting to know more on kindjhal examples which indeed had this hilt feature intentionally fashioned, which as you well note, would seem to be anomalies.
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