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Old 30th May 2020, 06:14 PM   #31
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as promised the pics of some Bichaqs enclosed. Unfortunately some came without scabbards...
lenght is between 46 and 22 cm
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Old 30th May 2020, 06:33 PM   #32
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2 more ( on their way...) about 20 cm long
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Old 31st May 2020, 12:20 PM   #33
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Great collection of this knives!
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Old 31st May 2020, 08:36 PM   #34
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Another one.
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Old 5th June 2020, 03:37 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Here are some other pictures including the maker's mark in the form of a shamsir. I see this on other Sarajevo blades of this period. Anyone know who this maker was?

Hello that letter f mean Foča, its name of old town ,where knifes like that was made.In that time they are produced on many places but Foča and Sarayevo was No1...
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Old 7th June 2020, 10:22 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel H
Another one.

a very nice one indeed !
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Old 7th June 2020, 10:59 AM   #37
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as there is quite a variety in these 1882-1916 Bichaqs, perhaps I can shed a little light and assist those of you who have one or more of these very nice bichaqs with regards to determination and comparison as there is on bichaqs in general but unfortunately virtually none literature on this type.
So a first kick off ;

next to info I already added in previous posts, the length can be betweenn 12 and 44 cm, where 12 cm is the "cutlery" type and the 44 cm more closer to the yataghan but lacks the typical yataghan characteristics. Hence I would prefer to call it an extended or long bichaq ( mostly receognized by a double "f" stamped on the blade).

Basicly the average Bosnian Bichaq during the K.u.K. era made has :

- a blade length of 18 cm ( +/- 1 cm)
- handle / hilt lenght of 9 cm (+/- 0,5 cm)
- a copper ferrule which can vary between 1,3 and 3,8 cm (!)

Blades are mostly marked with an "F" or blank. One of my collection has a cresent on the ferrule, which I believe to be a little cheeky with regards to the history of that symbol versus the Coat of Arms of Bosnia and Hercegewina...it not to be “ political” correct at that time as it would refer to a non occupying period or insurrection against the oppressor ( be it Habsburg or Ottoman).
Hence a wish or desire for freedom / independence.
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Old 7th June 2020, 11:04 AM   #38
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hereby 4 "18-ers" bichaqs

Sarajevo

blade: 18 cm, handle/ hilt 9 cm , ferrule 1,3 cm

Cresent or “c”:

blade: 17 cm, handle/ hilt 9,5 cm , ferrule 3 cm

"f"

blade: 18 cm, handle/ hilt 8,5 cm , ferrule 3,8 cm

blanco / red dots one:

blade: 18 cm, handle/ hilt 9 cm , ferrule 1,6 cm
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Old 7th June 2020, 11:07 AM   #39
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more details on the 4 ( including the cresent) hilt and ferrule
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Old 7th June 2020, 11:08 AM   #40
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and last but not least their scabbards: 2 metal and 2 leather ones

leather ones have a length of 20 cm, the metal ones 19,7 and 20 cm

hope this will be of a little assistance...
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Old 7th June 2020, 06:27 PM   #41
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These are great examples folks! Many thanks!

My favorite scabbards are the brass ones.
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Old 1st July 2020, 11:07 PM   #42
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although not the bichaq type this dagger from 1890 is still part of the "Bosniaken" family and a little more luxurious (f.i. details on the ferrule and scabbard ).
It took 2 1/2 months to get from the good ol' U S of A to me ( in Europe).
April 12th to July 1st ... guess USPS used the Kon-Tiki
but ought to have waited 3 more days... ( 4th of ...)
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Old 1st July 2020, 11:09 PM   #43
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and as uncle Battara likes his copper scabbard...
one is happy to oblige....!
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Old 1st July 2020, 11:11 PM   #44
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also nice to see is how they incorporated the top rivet nicely. Something you do not see with their bichaqs.
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Old 1st July 2020, 11:14 PM   #45
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and as said, better and nicer work on the ferrule than the bichaqs
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Old 1st July 2020, 11:19 PM   #46
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I can show this piece with a green coloured bone handle, total length with scabbard is 29cm:
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Old 1st July 2020, 11:56 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
I wonder, has there been a study of these interesting knives, which might give us some insight as to the meaning of the different marks and the decoration on the hilts. I agree with Jim that the circles and dots are most likely solar symbols, but would always love to learn more.
Teodor


Jim is wrong I am afraid to say and apologies as I overlooked this and never addressed this before.

Solar symbols would be heretical as first of all most of the makers were Muslims. Imagine using solar symbols in inquisitional Spain... the maker would end up on a pyre. Best to check the context of the folks living at that time...

Being Muslim it was haram ( forbidden) to portray men hence they turned to mathematic symbols. Which resulted in most beautiful art as one still can see from Samarkand to Fez in architecture but also furniture, woven blankets, carpets, tiles, etc. Hence as well as decoration for weapons.


But they went also for their own roots: in the Middle Ages before the arrival of the Ottomans, Bosnia had their own church ( seperate from the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church). This Bosnian Church : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_Church
had and still has their tombstones all over the country.

The enclosed example is one of them and if you take out on leg of the cross, you have the circle with the symbol you often see as decoration on many of the better bichaqs.
As for the "cheaper" ones or the ones needed to be produced quickly... a dot in the circle would do. The same one can see in present day Baščaršija ( old market in Sarajevo's old ancient town center) People used and still do use just examples they had & have around them ( and Bosnia & Hercegovina is full of them)
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Old 2nd July 2020, 02:41 PM   #48
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Thanks for this very useful information GP ! My girlfriend is bidding on one that will be auctionned tomorrow (fingers crossed ! ) , so I'm sure she will be happy to have this at her disposal to read through !
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Old 2nd July 2020, 06:24 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvain
Thanks for this very useful information GP ! My girlfriend is bidding on one that will be auctionned tomorrow (fingers crossed ! ) , so I'm sure she will be happy to have this at her disposal to read through !

je vous en prie / you're welcome !

are you sure....your girlfriend and a bichaq...? Mon Dieu.... what have you done ...?
time 4 U 2 call the guys from Patria Nostra (the Foreign Legion) and enlist ASAP!
Attention: the recruitment office is not in Marseille anymore but AUBAGNE
Allez, allez cher Amice....depechez Vous


Good luck at the auction !!!!


FYI: the picture is of a sapeur arriving in Paris for the Bastille Day parade, July 13th 1939
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Old 3rd July 2020, 12:09 AM   #50
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Actually GP, I will disagree with you on Bosnian Islam. There is a thing called "Folk Islam" just like "Folk Christianity". At one time up till even the Balkans wars in the 1990s, there were elements of old Christianity in several rural and semi-isolated areas that are officially Muslim. Folk Islam is even in Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as in other places. Officially yes the old forms are forbidden, but then again, you make note of the prohibition of the human form in Islamic art, yet we see a lot of human forms in Persian and Indian art. How may Persian khanjars have I seen with human figures carved into them? I also see similar issues with the human face in older Sulu Muslim art in the southern Philippines, where mixed in with the ukkil (vegetative motifs) is a human face.

All of this to say that I believe that these symbols could very well be old solar motifs but not mentioned or recognized as such. There are whole traditions of Folk Islam in Persian and other Shia groups (aka Assassin groups for example).
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Old 3rd July 2020, 05:15 PM   #51
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...

Last edited by gp : 3rd July 2020 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 6th July 2020, 10:39 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Actually GP, I will disagree with you on Bosnian Islam....
... I believe that these symbols could very well be old solar motifs but not mentioned or recognized as such. .



Sorry to say dear friend but whether you agree or not with me is irrelevant nor is your belief.

No offence intended but prior to replying and philosofing, why not first call or write an email to Sarajevo (university, museums, libraries) to deal with facts and be 100 % sure ?

They don't bite and speak & write English, German, French and many other languages, you know...

FYI: the National Museum of BiH releases publications and together with historians also books. Recently one on cold weapons, preceding, following, continuing, elaborating "Starinsko oružje" by Vejsil Curcic 1926.
Hence making all speculations superfluous. For now only in Bosnian though. That's true and makes it hard(er) but not impossible. But they answer me in English...

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Old 6th July 2020, 12:16 PM   #53
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back to the topic. Hereby an overview of several "f" marks.
Remarkable: one is "mirrored"; forgery or a left handed one ?
the latter actually not a correct custom in an Islamic country ...
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Old 6th July 2020, 12:18 PM   #54
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and also the variety of writing "Sarajevo"and year
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Old 6th July 2020, 06:52 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gp
Jim is wrong I am afraid to say and apologies as I overlooked this and never addressed this before.

Solar symbols would be heretical as first of all most of the makers were Muslims. Imagine using solar symbols in inquisitional Spain... the maker would end up on a pyre. Best to check the context of the folks living at that time...

Being Muslim it was haram ( forbidden) to portray men hence they turned to mathematic symbols. Which resulted in most beautiful art as one still can see from Samarkand to Fez in architecture but also furniture, woven blankets, carpets, tiles, etc. Hence as well as decoration for weapons.


But they went also for their own roots: in the Middle Ages before the arrival of the Ottomans, Bosnia had their own church ( seperate from the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church). This Bosnian Church : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_Church
had and still has their tombstones all over the country.

The enclosed example is one of them and if you take out on leg of the cross, you have the circle with the symbol you often see as decoration on many of the better bichaqs.
As for the "cheaper" ones or the ones needed to be produced quickly... a dot in the circle would do. The same one can see in present day Baščaršija ( old market in Sarajevo's old ancient town center) People used and still do use just examples they had & have around them ( and Bosnia & Hercegovina is full of them)


I personally think things are much more complex than that, and everyone is correct, at least to a degree.

The Muslim religion does not specifically forbid images of living things, but idolatry. Some interpretations of the Quran link images of living creatures with idolatry, hence why it is avoided, but there are exceptions. For example, there are a dragon and a phoenix on Sultan Suleyman I's famous yataghan, and monster (sometimes referred to as doplphin) heads on the scabbard chapes of thousands of yataghans from the 19th century. Obviously, any outright worshipping of the sun itself would be unacceptable.

An interpretation of the circle and dot motif in a Muslim context that I have seen is that it represents Allah, as the dot in the middle and his control over the universe, as the circle around him. Whether this is true or not I cannot tell, as only the artists who applied these symbols really knew their actual meaning.

However, often times a symbol will be repeated in folk art, its meaning and interpretation changing over time. Such symbols exist all over the world and predate Islam. The origin of the symbol is therefore most likely of a solar nature. After the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans and the conversion to Islam of certain parts of the population, its meaning may have been adapted to the new religion, while it remained in use in applied arts.

As for the three dot in a circle symbol, I will just point out that it was popular all over the Balkans, not just in Bosnia. In what is nowadays Bulgaria, it was used along with the single dot in a circle motif for decorating the hilts of shepherd's knives (or karakulaks), this particular type of knives referred to as "ashirtmaliya" (the word of Turkish origin meaning "decorated") in knife smith inventory books.
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Old 26th August 2020, 08:34 PM   #56
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Quite some Bosnian bichaqs (especially the handles), are mostly inspired / derived from the yataghans by their makers.
Obviously from the pre Habsburg era, these examples were Ottoman yataghans.
Hereby enclosed an overview of the different types of yataghan handles
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Last edited by gp : 26th August 2020 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 7th September 2020, 07:11 PM   #57
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I recently purchased this one which :

- has not the typical circular and colored ornaments on the handle which can be found on the "Habsburgian Bosniaken" ones
- has all other criteria match and determine it as a Bosnian or at least a Balkan one I believe
- has a stamp on the blade which I have seen somewhere but can't recall where

unfortunately no scabbard though...

so kindly requested to assist as I am very much looking forward to your advice on its age, the stamp and if I am correct or mistaken concerning the origin, much obliged !


take care and stay healthy you all !

Gunar
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Old 16th September 2020, 01:26 PM   #58
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I've got this bichaq today with the shamshir mark on its blade
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Old 17th September 2020, 12:59 AM   #59
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Great examples and thank you GP for showing me those nicely worked brass scabbards and ferrules! One day when I grow up, I'll be able to replicate their quality of workmanship.

Congratulations Corrado26 on this new and nice piece.

The "f" marks I think are simplified mini-shamshirs being used as maker's marks.

TVV has a good point (every pun intended ) in that old symbols are given new meanings with the arrival of a new religion. We see this happening in the Ottoman empire, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan/Afghanistan, Morocco, and Sudan.
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Old 17th September 2020, 02:21 AM   #60
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I have seen so far not another mark like this one.
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