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Old 17th May 2019, 09:58 AM   #1
kronckew
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Default Oddball Russian(?) Needle for comment

Just acquired this odd needley very pointy short sword sold as 'Russian' from 1870. 77 cm. long.

Blade decorations look older - date on blade 1?70, the vendor's assume an 8, but it looks older to me.

Any Ideas/Comments welcome, with my thanks.
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Old 17th May 2019, 11:02 AM   #2
ariel
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I can see nothing “Russian” here. The inscription is definitely not in Russian, and I would not exclude the possibility that it might be either a meaningless imitation of Arabic lettering or a work of an illiterate engraver not acquainted with traditional calligraphy. Islamic source is unlikely: numbers are not Arabic.
Also, nothing Russian in the engraved decorative figure on the blade.
With all the limitations inherent in photographic image, I would read the date as 1910.

Overall, it is either an equivalent of an Indian Gupti or a horsewhip handle. I tend to think that the former might be more realistic.

I would put it somewhere in the Balkans. The carefully formed notch ( kind of a fingerstall) at the top of the handle is frequently found on Balkan knives.


My 2 cents.

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Old 17th May 2019, 12:08 PM   #3
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Seam on the scabbard looks Turkish. the decorations also have a Turkish look to me but look like an earlier primitive style. Horned sea horse one side. writing looksmore latinish. Better pics when it arrives. Definitely doesn't look Russian to me either. NE Balkan a possibility. Needs a bit of TLC, maybe it'll talk to me when it gets here. might have Arya Stark's Dire wolf stamped on it.

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Old 17th May 2019, 10:24 PM   #4
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Obviously not a standard sword form, but a repurposing of a blade with what seems like a knife handle. The blade seems almost like straight blades of estoc/mec thrusting type. I would agree with Wayne's idea of Balkan, especially with the Ottoman element, as noted with the scabbard stitching.
The unusual motif and its designs seem in line with sometimes almost whimsical 18th century mysterious character, the sea horses are something seen in Italian and probably Adriatic themes.

Wayne, I like your note on the sword taking to you when it arrives, you really get it man!!!! It is like they do in their way.
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Old 18th May 2019, 05:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
Seam on the scabbard looks Turkish. the decorations also have a Turkish look to me but look like an earlier primitive style. Horned sea horse one side. writing looksmore latinish. Better pics when it arrives. Definitely doesn't look Russian to me either. NE Balkan a possibility. Needs a bit of TLC, maybe it'll talk to me when it gets here. might have Arya Stark's Dire wolf stamped on it.

Yep Arya had a nice little sword...maybe now the series is over she has no further use for it and has had it rehilted
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Old 18th May 2019, 07:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Yep Arya had a nice little sword...maybe now the series is over she has no further use for it and has had it rehilted


I stopped watching it way back when they killed Richard Sharpe.
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Old 18th May 2019, 10:06 PM   #7
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A swagger stick, no? From a Africa to the Chosin, popular with officers.

Cheers
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Old 18th May 2019, 10:22 PM   #8
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After some review of old notes and other references, I am inclined this weapon goes more in line with the GUPTI or 'sword stick' of India. These are described in Pant (1880) p.44 (from G.C.Stone, p.270) along with the 'fakir crutch' type weapons.
In Egerton (1880,1896,1968,2002) #640 (attached) one of these 'gupti' is shown and another mentoned, both from Lahore.

While the origin of the blade is unclear, its needle like point seems remarkably like those seen on some Tatar sabres known in the Caucusus and environs.

The character of the figures and designs inscribed on the blade remind me of 'similarly' styled ones which seem to come up in material culture among the Kalash people of Chitral regions in Pakistan. These people are primarily practicing an animist faith which resembles ancient Hinduism but having numbers of pagan elements. They are closely aligned with the peoples of Nuristan (formerly Kafiristan) which is now Luristan.

Though it is hard to directly say these are inscribed designs of these regions, it is tempting to note the similarity and character of them, along with the fact that the 'gupti' was well known in Northwest Indian regions. It would not be unusual for Central Asian blades to be found in these areas, nor to see one repurposed into this sort of weapon.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 11:31 PM   #9
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It Aerrived today. No pitting, some patination, engravings are clear and unworn. date is indeed 1870 very clearly, blade is sharp, feels good in the hand, flexes some, grip is all horn, what looks like a strap over the pommel into the notch is actually carved from the horn. hidden tang, Horn is cracked but tight to the blade. scabbard has steel ends, wood core, leather cover, turkish seam on back. suspension fitting has a fairly large knob with a hole that has a chain loop rather than a ring. tight fit to blade but fairly easy to draw. tip of scabbard is a bit damaged but blade is not protruding. Definitly not a swagger stick or a sword cane. the other cartouche seems to have some lettering that could possibly be in one of the caucasian/georgian character sets. not arabic. All in all, a conundrum. Love it.
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