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Old 22nd October 2006, 04:00 PM   #1
Bill M
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Default Mystery sword

Another sword I am trying to identify. Bought this in with a lot of good modern made Islamic swords from the Shah Jahan's collection. The seller said it was Iranian. Obviously this is not modern. Single edge and a bit crude, but with an inlaid blade. 29" OAL. Just noticed abit of active rust. Going to get out my oil and some fine steel wool.

Any comments?
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Old 22nd October 2006, 04:08 PM   #2
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Bill

The sword is from Bhutan.

http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=2308

Lew
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Old 22nd October 2006, 04:09 PM   #3
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Nice! Looks to be from Bhutan or possibly Tibet.
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Old 22nd October 2006, 04:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUIEBLADES
Bill

The sword is from Bhutan.

http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=2308

Lew



thanks Lew, I knew that handle shape was familiar. Most I have seen have been more like the fancy one on Artzi'x site that you so kindly provided.

I like both the ceremonial pieces and the battle veterans. Mine sure looks like a user. Quite sharp also.

Any idea what it is called? Some particular variety or name?
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Old 22nd October 2006, 06:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Marsh
Any idea what it is called? Some particular variety or name?


Sorry Bill my Bhutanese is a little rusty Maybe you should contact Artzi he might be able to help?

Lew
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Old 23rd October 2006, 06:51 AM   #6
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Default origin of sword / terminology

Donald LaRocca, assoc. curator of arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has written a masterful catalog for the exhibition, "Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet" (NY: Metro. Mus. of Art / New Haven: Yale University, 2006). There is a rather fancy example of one of these swords, with its original scabbard (the one photographed on this thread has a modern replacement of non-traditional construction), identified as Bhutanese (cat. no. 73, p 171). Mr. LaRocca's notation states that such swords "are often found in southern and eastern Tibet".

The catalog doesn't provide the Bhutanese name for these weapons; I will attempt to contact a gentleman in Bhutan who was in touch with me a few years back (hope his email addie is still the same) ane will let you know what he says.

The Tibetans who used these swords would probably have called them DPA' DAM, referring specifically to a long bladed sword with an oblique tip. The generic term for sword in Tibetan is "ral gri". See the glossary in the above-cited book for additional sword terms in Tibetan.
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Old 23rd October 2006, 07:06 AM   #7
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Default prototype / variations elsewhere

Bill,
These Bhutanese swords are descended from the straight, single-edged backswords used in China and Korea during the medieval dynasties and which were also the basis for the very earliest swords in Japan. Blade contour is the same (although the Chinese/Korean versions have the ridge down each face of the blade which in Japan became the "shinogi" that you see on the typical "samurai sword".

The construction of your hilt is pretty close to those on some of those Sino-Japanese types; see THE JAPANESE SWORD: IRON CRAFTSMANSHIP AND THE WARRIOR SPIRIT, Tokyo National Museum, 1997, cat. no. 29, 59, 60, 63.

The fellow who sold you the sword was saying "Iranian" probably because single edged, oblique-tipped blades of very similar shape were known in the Middle East. An example of one of these very rare swords is cat. no. 71 in Unsal Yucel, ISLAMIC SWORDS AND SWORDSMITHS, Istanbul: IRCICA, 2001. That blade is attributed to the Mamluk ruler Qansuh al-Ghawri, 1501-1517.
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Old 23rd October 2006, 11:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
Bill,
These Bhutanese swords are descended from the straight, single-edged backswords used in China and Korea during the medieval dynasties and which were also the basis for the very earliest swords in Japan. Blade contour is the same (although the Chinese/Korean versions have the ridge down each face of the blade which in Japan became the "shinogi" that you see on the typical "samurai sword".

The construction of your hilt is pretty close to those on some of those Sino-Japanese types; see THE JAPANESE SWORD: IRON CRAFTSMANSHIP AND THE WARRIOR SPIRIT, Tokyo National Museum, 1997, cat. no. 29, 59, 60, 63.

The fellow who sold you the sword was saying "Iranian" probably because single edged, oblique-tipped blades of very similar shape were known in the Middle East. An example of one of these very rare swords is cat. no. 71 in Unsal Yucel, ISLAMIC SWORDS AND SWORDSMITHS, Istanbul: IRCICA, 2001. That blade is attributed to the Mamluk ruler Qansuh al-Ghawri, 1501-1517.


Dear Phillip,

So very good to hear from you again!

I have ordered the cat you recommended and already have "Islamic Swords..." On the way from a previous order.

I will look check these references.

Thank you for the great information!

Bill
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Old 23rd October 2006, 03:35 PM   #9
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One of the nicest features of Bhutanese swords, in my opinion, is the hairpin folding pattern in the blades. Such a pattern is faintly visible in yours under the patina and rust. If you are not averse to restoration (versus conservation), you might want to have it polished a bit and etched to bring out the pattern.
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Old 23rd October 2006, 06:29 PM   #10
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There is a Bhutanese sword called a Patang. It's similar to the Tibetan Ke Tri. This may be a Patang. Or Patang may be the general word in Bhutan for sword.

Steve

Edit: Oh, forgot to say, VERY NICE!
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Old 23rd October 2006, 06:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Bowditch
One of the nicest features of Bhutanese swords, in my opinion, is the hairpin folding pattern in the blades. Such a pattern is faintly visible in yours under the patina and rust. If you are not averse to restoration (versus conservation), you might want to have it polished a bit and etched to bring out the pattern.



A little 600 grit and WD40 should help. Then 1500 if it does not make it too muddy.

Thanks Steve also!
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Old 23rd October 2006, 07:38 PM   #12
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Default Tibetan word for sword

Mr. Ferguson
Thanks for the Bhutanese name. Do you speak the language? If so, could you share with us please some other sword terms (i.e. for the various parts, styles, etc.)?

As re your use of the term "ke tri" for the Tibetan sword, I know that it's used in an article on the subject here on this site. However when I used it when discussing it with Tibetan sword guru Donald LaRocca of the Met (he curated the recent exhibition mentioned above and has studied the Tibetan language for years), he advised me that "ke tri" is not the correct term. I was told that "ral gri" or "gri" is the standard generic name for the weapon (the latter also is used in prior academic books, in particular Siegbert Hummel's TIBETISCHES KUNSTHANDWERK IN METALL).

I would suggest that if terminology interests you, that you order a copy of the Met's exhibit catalog, and enjoy the extensive glossary that Don has compiled. It even has each entry spelled in the Tibetan script, and is well cross-referenced.
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Old 23rd October 2006, 07:39 PM   #13
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Bill, you're most welcome. Thanks again for sharing such an interesting piece with us!
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Old 24th October 2006, 06:04 AM   #14
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Hi Bill take a look at this one

http://www.liongate-armsandarmour.com/rb13.htm


REGARDS , Ben
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Old 24th October 2006, 08:45 AM   #15
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Default close but no cigar

Hi, Dajak
Thanks for the link. I've seen this before, Rob Miller at Liongate sent it to me for a look-see. Doesn't appear to be Bhutanese. Handle is vaguely similar in profile, but the way it's made and assembled is not. Blade shape and the lamination of the steel on his example is atypical for the region, as is the short ricasso at the forte which seems inspired by a European bayonet or military sword.

As far as what this piece actually is, I don't know. But it doesn't fit the parameters of Bhutanese sword design.
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Old 24th October 2006, 06:25 PM   #16
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Philip, Unfortunately, one word is the extent of my Bhutanese. I researched the word when I received a short sword from Himalayan Imports (the khukuri makers) that was named a Patang. It didn't resemble Bills sword, and was more "inspired by" the Bhutanese sword, than a copy of it.

Thanks so much for the correct terminolgy of the Tibetan sword. I much prefer to use the words that the people of the region would use.

Steve
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Old 24th October 2006, 09:43 PM   #17
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Default similarities

Hi Bill
it is interesting to note the similarities in the guard, the collar throat and the handle between your piece and the more common Butanese daggers like the one attached.
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Old 25th October 2006, 03:37 AM   #18
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Bill, an interesting sword. I'm jealous. I think the most interesting things are the differences from the most common patags. First, the inlay seems uncommon. While the milled or reeded (brass?) band at the base of the hilt is typical, the way the characteristically octagonal-section grip swells there, with "shoulders" parallel to the blade, is indeed more like some knives than the typical grip with a convex curve all around. The pommel is unusual in its simplicity compared to many I have seen (although I have one that has a simple, octagonal nickel-silver cap), as many swords have the typical pierced-work "gubor." It resembles some simple, southeastern Tibetan steel pommels in a general hexagonal shape and in the provision of two small holes through which to pass a thong or lanyard.
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Old 23rd November 2006, 02:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
Donald LaRocca, assoc. curator of arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has written a masterful catalog for the exhibition, "Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet" (NY: Metro. Mus. of Art / New Haven: Yale University, 2006). There is a rather fancy example of one of these swords, with its original scabbard (the one photographed on this thread has a modern replacement of non-traditional construction), identified as Bhutanese (cat. no. 73, p 171). Mr. LaRocca's notation states that such swords "are often found in southern and eastern Tibet".

The Tibetans who used these swords would probably have called them DPA' DAM, referring specifically to a long bladed sword with an oblique tip. The generic term for sword in Tibetan is "ral gri". See the glossary in the above-cited book for additional sword terms in Tibetan.


Phillip,

I just received my copy of this incredible book. I cannot recommend it too highly. It is a "must have" and even if people are not studying this area, a wonderful read.

I believe that you did some writing for the Met?

Best
Bill

Thank you again for letting us know about it!
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