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Old 14th March 2020, 12:02 PM   #1
mariusgmioc
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Default Ottoman Hancer for translation

I have this large (52 cm; 20.1") Ottoman hancer. The blade is wootz and the hilt is walrus ivory.

I believe it to be Turkish but I would like to hear other oppinions.

I would also appreciate if somebody can help me with the translation. (do I see the year '295 - 1878?! )
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Old 14th March 2020, 03:27 PM   #2
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Very nice! It looks older then 1878 to me, I dont really see 295, more like 695 or 195
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Old 14th March 2020, 04:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drabant1701
Very nice! It looks older then 1878 to me, I dont really see 295, more like 695 or 195


You're right! More like 695...

Thanks!
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Old 14th March 2020, 05:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
You're right! More like 695...

Thanks!


No I think you are right Marius 1295

For sure it's not 1195; plus the other number 1695 doesnt make any sense.

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Old 14th March 2020, 05:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
No I think you are right Marius 1295

For sure it's not 1195; plus the other number 1695 doesnt make any sense.



Yep, '295 makes sense, but the 2 is written wrongly. Here below are the Arabic numerals from 1 to 9 and 0.

١٢٣٤٥٦٧٨٩٠
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Old 14th March 2020, 11:03 PM   #6
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This configuration of a handle is often attributed to Albania.
Any evidence pro or con?
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Old 14th March 2020, 11:03 PM   #7
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I think it can only be [1]295 even if it doesnít look like a 2

The upper cartouche reads

عمل دمشق الشام صاحبه عثمان بيك

"Work of Damascus, Syria. Itís owner is Osman Bey.Ē

The lower one with the year is an Arabic saying, Iíll see if I can work it out
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Old 15th March 2020, 08:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
This configuration of a handle is often attributed to Albania.
Any evidence pro or con?


Pro
These daggers were very popular with Albanian mercenaries Bashi Bazouk.
You can see many paintings and engravings with them carrying these daggers.

Con
These daggers were in fact Ottoman Turkish.
Nevertheless according to Kwiatek's translation, some of them were made in the provinces like Syria.

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Old 15th March 2020, 09:56 AM   #9
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THANK YOU KWIATEK FOR YOUR HELP!

Now regarding Ariel's question, I think part of the answer is in the translation itself.

My theory is that wherever the Ottoman army went, they went there fully armed... and accompanied by skilled swordsmiths and gunsmiths necessary to repair the weapons damaged in combat. (This is based on the logic that they did not carry immense stocks of replacement weapons to simply replace the damaged ones with new stock, neither had they access to 2 day DHL/UPS/FedEx deliveries to be able to send their damaged weapons back to Turkey for repair and get them back in time for the next battle.)

And as soon as they conquered new territories, they established occupation garrisons that were manned with soldiers and... the smiths that accompanied them.

And this I believe explains how the Balkans have become a place of weapons production. This is supported by the fact that the Balkans were not known for their weapons production in the Middle Ages, but became known for that only AFTER the Ottoman occupation.

And I think this might be the case with other Ottoman occupied territories as well... like Syria in this case.

And that's how we end up with Turkish Ottoman weapons that were produced not in Turkey, but abroad.

Yet, I consider these weapons Turkish... unless they can be clearly diferentiated, either documented or stylistically from their Turkish counterparts. It will be impossible to differentiate a Yataghan made in Izmir by a Turkish smith from another Yataghan made in the Balkans, by the same smith that accompanied Ottoman army.

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Old 15th March 2020, 10:01 AM   #10
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On second thoughts, I would like to add that these daggers are very similar to the Persian khanjars and have absolutely no correspondence in any early Balcanic weaponry.

So I think the attribution of these daggers to the Balkans is completely wrong, like the attribution to the so called ottoman "court daggers"... for example (that in Turkey are called Kama - see the fragment of a photo from the Istanbul Military Museum - pointing out clearly to their Persian/Caucasian origin).
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Old 15th March 2020, 10:15 AM   #11
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Now regarding Osman Nuri Pasha, citing from Wikipedia:

He served in Crimea, where his bravery secured him a promotion as First Lieutenant. After the end of the war (February 1856), Osman was appointed to the General Staff and, a year later (1857), had risen to the rank of Captain with the title of Bey. In 1859 he was appointed as a military representative in the forming of the cadastral and census map of the Ottoman Empire, a job he fulfilled for the next two years.

In 1861, Osman was sent to Beirut Vilayet, where a rebellion had been started by Yusuf Ekrem in Syria.

I wonder if it was the same. But then the years won't match as in 1868, he was promoted to the rank of Major-General with the title of Pasha...

Or may it be Osman Hamdi Bey?

On the other hand, I assume Osman was quite a common name in the Ottoman army and there might heve been another one with the title of Bey.

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Old 15th March 2020, 02:21 PM   #12
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Hi,
Interesting to know the provenance. If indeed Damascus, Syria, it put all the conventional knowledge that this type of dagger is ALBANIAN in doubt.
I personally don't know why we would not believe that. It is true that in Damascus they produced many Ottoman weapons in all styles according to demands of clients, but these were mostly second rate imitations of original (Kindjals, Persian Shamshirs etc.) and of mediocre quality. This is certainly one not second rate. The scabbard, if original, is Syrian/Iraqi/Kurdish style because of the silver work, the tip and the row of turquoise beads. Similar to scabbards of high-end Kurdish daggers.
About the date: I really don't know what you think reasonable or logical, but it clearly is 195 and not anything else. Whether this makes sense or not is beside the point.
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Old 15th March 2020, 05:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
It is true that in Damascus they produced many Ottoman weapons in all styles according to demands of clients, but these were mostly second rate imitations of original (Kindjals, Persian Shamshirs etc.) and of mediocre quality.


Hi Motan,

I disagree you have amazing daggers and swords from Syria, Egypt and North Africa. I think you refer to very late 19th c and 1900 Syrian productions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
The scabbard, if original, is Syrian/Iraqi/Kurdish style because of the silver work, the tip and the row of turquoise beads. Similar to scabbards of high-end Kurdish daggers.


Again I disagree the scabbard is very Turkish and no suprise if you have some very similar scabbards in Ottoman Bagdad. The only link to Iraqi daggers is the row of turquoise I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
About the date: I really don't know what you think reasonable or logical, but it clearly is 195 and not anything else. Whether this makes sense or not is beside the point.


For the date you have hundred of Ottoman dates where the 2 is inverted and looks like a 6. I think you have some on this forum...
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Old 15th March 2020, 05:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
but became known for that only AFTER the Ottoman occupation.
And I think this might be the case with other Ottoman occupied territories as well... like Syria in this case.


I disagree, as you know well Damascus steel is not something Ottoman... Syrian weapons were higthly valued before the 16thc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
It will be impossible to differentiate a Yataghan made in Izmir by a Turkish smith from another Yataghan made in the Balkans, by the same smith that accompanied Ottoman army.


I disagree, Ottoman army and weapons from the 15th c. were different from the 19th c. So we cannot say that weapons from the conquest were similar to those of the 19thc.
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Old 15th March 2020, 05:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
these daggers are very similar to the Persian khanjars and have absolutely no correspondence in any early Balcanic weaponry.
So I think the attribution of these daggers to the Balkans is completely wrong,


I fully agree!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
like the attribution to the so called ottoman "court daggers"... for example (that in Turkey are called Kama - see the fragment of a photo from the Istanbul Military Museum - pointing out clearly to their Persian/Caucasian origin).


Well court daggers with straigth blades were Bosnians, on your photo its an old Turkish dagger and the kama is a kind of kindjal if i'm not mistaken... So we are talking about 3 different things...
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Old 15th March 2020, 05:27 PM   #16
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I thought of something but then realised it could not be the case. Cannot delete the post completely
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Old 15th March 2020, 07:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
I disagree, as you know well Damascus steel is not something Ottoman... Syrian weapons were higthly valued before the 16thc.



I disagree, Ottoman army and weapons from the 15th c. were different from the 19th c. So we cannot say that weapons from the conquest were similar to those of the 19thc.


I think you misunderstood my posting.

I was refering to the atribution of these daggers to the Balkans.
And I am pretty sure that Turkish smiths did work wootz damascus, but I did not make any reference to that.

As with regards with the other remark, I did not say that weapons from the 15th century are similar to those from the 19th century.

I said that weapons done by a blacksmith in Izmir for example won't be distinguishable from weapons made BY THE SAME BLACKSMITH in the Balkans.

So what are you disagreeing with?!

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Old 15th March 2020, 07:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur

Well court daggers with straigth blades were Bosnians, on your photo its an old Turkish dagger and the kama is a kind of kindjal if i'm not mistaken... So we are talking about 3 different things...


Nope! They were not!

They were Turkish, and inspired by the Persian/Caucasian Qama... which is the same weapon like the Kindjal

Qama called in Persia, Georgia, Turkey
Kindjal called in Daghestan, Azerbaidjan, Russia
Pretty much like Khanjar in Oman and Jambiya in Yemen... but essentially the same weapon.

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Old 15th March 2020, 10:45 PM   #19
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Hi Kubur,
I mostly agree with you. The problem starts with the concept of Ottoman weapons. Turkey must have had centers of production, but weapons were made throughout the Ottoman empire, often in local style, or sometimes in local style imitating another local style of a different region. So, is a pre-wwi Syrian dagger per definition Ottman? Is a Kindjal made in Damascus Caucasian, Syrian or Ottoman?
You are right about Damascus. It was a center of high quality production before 1800, but very few daggers of high quality are designated as Syrian. Certainly this one is of high quality and if it says "made in Damascus", why should I not believe that?
As for the date, most of you think these daggers must be from the 19th century. Still, the blades do not look like Persian, they are made of high quality wootz, like the court daggers. Does anyone know centers of wootz production west of Persia? To me, the numbers could be (1)195 = 1781. Then it is what it looks like. Inverted 6 is possible if this is not a date, because (1)695 is still in the future.
Anyway, it looks like an Albanian type dagger made in Damascus, most probably ordered by an Albanian commander named Osman in late 18th. century. As for the question of Albanian type vs Persian/Caucasian. mmm. I don't know.
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Old 16th March 2020, 12:17 AM   #20
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It does not really look like a 1 or a 2, but it must be surely meant to be one or the other. I would go with whatever stylistically fits the piece best, but I can see already that that is contentious.

Itís likely to indeed be a date as the word underneath appears to be سنة meaning Ďyearí
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Old 16th March 2020, 08:10 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
Anyway, it looks like an Albanian type dagger made in Damascus, most probably ordered by an Albanian commander named Osman in late 18th. century. As for the question of Albanian type vs Persian/Caucasian. mmm. I don't know.


Only that Osman is a typical Turkish NOT Albanian name and...

... stylistically these daggers have nothing Albanian, but they are very similar to the Persian or Kurdish khanjars.


PS: The blade is of wootz Damascus steel but it needs some cleaning and re-etching.
The absence of documented evidence that wootz was produced West of Persia does not mean there weren't any. And even if wootz was not produced West of Persia, I am certain that Turkish and Arab smiths knew how to work wootz, whether it was produced locally or imported from Persia/India. And this blade is a clear example of this.
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Old 16th March 2020, 09:45 AM   #22
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Hi Mariusgmioc,
I do not disagree with either you or Kubur, but just want to cast doubt on some conventional notions that have little evidence in support and to demonstrate the problem of Ottoman identity.
Just as an example, you say that Osman (Othman) is not an Albanian name. Well, it isn't, but many soldiers, Janissaries and Mamlukes took on a Turkish or Arab names.
The fact remains that most people think that this type of dagger is Albanian, but we already know that some, like yours, were not made in Albania.
Another problem is that this type of dagger, as well as good Kurdish daggers and some Iraqi daggers have wootz blades of this style, which is NOT Persian of the same period (late Qajar) of good+ quality. All of those are attributed to the 19th century. This is in disagreement with the notion that wootz production has stopped is Southern India in early 19th c and was non-existent or forgotten in all other areas.
To sum it up: very nice dagger , very rare to find provenance on such daggers, therefore extra special. For the rest, it is all open.
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Old 16th March 2020, 03:22 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
Hi Mariusgmioc,
I do not disagree with either you or Kubur, but just want to cast doubt on some conventional notions that have little evidence in support and to demonstrate the problem of Ottoman identity.
Just as an example, you say that Osman (Othman) is not an Albanian name. Well, it isn't, but many soldiers, Janissaries and Mamlukes took on a Turkish or Arab names.
The fact remains that most people think that this type of dagger is Albanian, but we already know that some, like yours, were not made in Albania.
Another problem is that this type of dagger, as well as good Kurdish daggers and some Iraqi daggers have wootz blades of this style, which is NOT Persian of the same period (late Qajar) of good+ quality. All of those are attributed to the 19th century. This is in disagreement with the notion that wootz production has stopped is Southern India in early 19th c and was non-existent or forgotten in all other areas.
To sum it up: very nice dagger , very rare to find provenance on such daggers, therefore extra special. For the rest, it is all open.


PRECISELY! Now, as much as I would like to disagree, I simply cannot find anything in your comment to nit pick and have to agree with everything you said... but...
... there is always a but...

Just because "most people think that this type of dagger is Albanian" does make it necessarily true?!

Also, stylistically they don't have almost anything Albanian or as a matter of fact from the Balkans... (yet they have very much Persian influence in shape, decoration an script).

So... citing from guess who...

... "just want to cast doubt on some conventional notions that have little evidence in support and to demonstrate the problem of" Albanian identity.

Moreover, as you said, many of them are sporting nice wootz blades which are NOT known to be the work of any Albanian smiths as wootz production was pretty much restricted to India and Middle East...
... and, again as you said, they are NOT the high contrast Persian wootz, nor the finer patterned Indian Wootz but a lower contrast wootz of uncertain origin... that happens to be very common in some Turkish blades.

see another example of such lower contrast wootz at the link below

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=25477

Now, how many examples of such daggers do we have with certain (not anecdotal) Albanian origin?!

And even if production of wootz has stopped in India in early 19th century, does it mean it stopped everywhere... at precisely the same time?!
Or the disappearance of wootz production stretched over more decades as old wootz ingots were still abundantly available, and there was a pretty large pool of old wootz blades that could be reworked.

PS: Even if they didn't know to produce new Valyrian steel anymore, they were still capable to rework old blades... right?!

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Old 16th March 2020, 07:57 PM   #24
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mariusgmioc, a very nice dagger and something to be very proud to own.

/Stefan
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Old 16th March 2020, 08:52 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Just because "most people think that this type of dagger is Albanian" does make it necessarily true?!

Also, stylistically they don't have almost anything Albanian or as a matter of fact from the Balkans...

(yet they have very much Persian influence in shape, decoration an script).


Yes Marius we are on the same page.

As I wrote "These daggers were very popular with Albanian mercenaries Bashi Bazouk. You can see many paintings and engravings with them carrying these daggers".

But I don't recall any book saying that these daggers are Albanians. I think it's a collectors / dealers thing only...

I disagree with you about the script and decorations, they are Turkish Ottoman.

Last but not least I have no idea about the blade, yes you are right it looks like a Persian blade with a central ridge but then what about jambiya are they also Persian?
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Old 16th March 2020, 08:57 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
As for the date, most of you think these daggers must be from the 19th century. Still, the blades do not look like Persian, they are made of high quality wootz, like the court daggers. Does anyone know centers of wootz production west of Persia? To me, the numbers could be (1)195 = 1781. Then it is what it looks like. Inverted 6 is possible if this is not a date, because (1)695 is still in the future.


You are right, I remember now another dagger identical to this one and dated from the late 18th c.

Marius I forgot the most important: your dagger is gorgeous.
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Old 16th March 2020, 11:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur

I disagree with you about the script and decorations, they are Turkish Ottoman.



Nope!

Again misunderstanding!

Of course they are Turkish Ottoman (that's what I said even in my original posting)... but they are similar with those found on some Persian blades, especially stylistically...
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:48 PM   #28
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I have a blade like that but i don't think these blades are similar to your Syrian piece.
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Old 17th March 2020, 11:59 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
I have a blade like that but i don't think these blades are similar to your Syrian piece.


It depends how do you look at them.

They all have strongly curved blades with central rib.
They all have similar koftgari, in terms of geometry and style.
They all have similar I-shaped ivory hilts...
... so they are similar.

Mine is much larger and has a broader blade.
Mine has on one side some writing.
Mine has a hilt with some strangely oriented protrusions...
... so they are different.

Take your pick!
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Old 18th March 2020, 08:40 AM   #30
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In his book Elgood said Kurdish/Turkish dagger...

By the way, not all the weapons in his book are from the Balkans nor Greeks...

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