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Old 26th January 2005, 05:07 AM   #31
Jeff D
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Thanks Jim,

As always, more questions then answers. Where does the false edge or yelman arise, is it Tatar, Mongol, or other? I think this will be my next quest, and a separate thread.

Jeff
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Old 26th January 2005, 03:15 PM   #32
Jens Nordlunde
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I think you should be able to see the koftgari scratches here.
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Old 26th January 2005, 07:55 PM   #33
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That is some thick koftgari indeed! As for that much area not covered by koftgari, I don't know, except that perhaps it was prepared by someone else and not as much room was needed afterall.
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Old 26th January 2005, 08:31 PM   #34
Jens Nordlunde
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Hi Battara,

Yes, I have been wondering ever since I got it, why such a big area was needed, and I still can't figure it out. You might be right, that some other decoration was planned but not made - who knows?

Jens
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Old 27th January 2005, 12:31 AM   #35
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Hello Jeff,
Very interesting photo you have posted, which is the distinctly recognizable 'armor piercing' point on late 17th-mid 18th c. Tatar sabres. These sabres obviously are quite contrary to the blades with widened false edge points or 'yelmans' that we are considering, and suggest a very different perspective in swordsmanship. The term 'Tatar' has often been used generally with reference to nomadic steppes tribes and thus trying to more clearly define the specific use of these unusual sabres would be difficult.
These swords are discussed in "Polish Sabres: Their Origins and Evolution" by Jan Ostrowski & Wojciech Bochnak, from "Art, Arms & Armour" ed. Robert Held, Vol. I, 1979.

While the development of the curved sword/sabre has brought considerable debate and speculation, one of the key components of many of these forms has been the yelman, and is equally controversial.
It seems generally held that this blade feature developed concurrently with curved sabre blade forms with gentle radius to point, and on the widened form, a reverse edge on straight swords which evolved into double biconcave curves that gradually displayed a visible angle. This seems to have evolved into a widened point with subtle progression to curve in the blade. This feature is believed to have evolved from the east, quite possibly Chinese frontier regions such as Turkestan,and found its way to Persian regions. The Mongol curved blades had already existed in the subcontinent by the 14th c. and the Timurid rulers of Khorasan held profound influence in India, of course leading to the developing modified blades.

It seems that the sharpened reverse edge in widened form added weight and momentum to the dynamics of the favored slashing drawcut.

This material is discussed by Dr. Syed Zafar Haider in "Islamic Arms and Armour of Muslim India", Lahore, pp.169-171.

I think the idea of discussing the yelman as a developed feature on certain sabre blades is a great idea, and would be an excellent independant thread.

Very best regards,
Jim
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Old 27th January 2005, 11:44 AM   #36
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You go, Jeff. I'm not sure what that detail you show is from. Is there a bigger shot at the end of page 1 or something? Yes, I'm checking page two first The "heavy" narrow reinforced point might be viewed as transposed from daggers or spears, and not neccessarily cross-cultural influence. Some discussion of terms may be helpful. An actual false edge is a rear edge meant to cut. It is a medieval European term, often applied to the use of double-edged broadswords;the front edge is "true" the back edge is "false" This can be dictated by the design of the sword, or by how it is held at the moment; either use is valid. A point where the spine suddenly comes down at an angle or concavity (as viewed from the side) is a clip or clipped point. If the back edge is bevelled wider than a peaked spine, but not for cutting (either a relatively obtuse angle or a rebated edge), this is spoken of as a swedged/bevelled spine (the term "swedge" is often incorrectly applied to a clip; this confusion seems to arise because clips are often swedged.). AFAIK yelman per see refers only to those that are "dropped edges"; ie that widen suddenly at the beginning of the part-length false edge. There are unsharpened widenings, as on Mexican cuchilla del (monte? costa? I forget) and some pseudo-yelmans that won't cut and can't be sharpened, and we could use a name for them, but I don't know that we have one. There are also, common on tulwar and other sabres, part-length false edges that are not "dropped" like a true yelman, nor clipped. BTW, in handling yelman swords it is my observation that they tend to be light-tipped, and it is not so much wieght or mass the yelman adds, but width to absorb vibration, instead of mass and thickness, as with daito. Also, of course, that back-hand cut is a killer.
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Old 27th January 2005, 11:58 AM   #37
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Have you considered that this is a non-original koftgari applie where a larger one had gone missing? In any event, the larger hatched area doesn't seem that unusual to me though. Perhaps the man who did the hatching and the man who did the gold laying were traditionally different men? Speculation.....
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Old 27th January 2005, 12:37 PM   #38
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There are no traces of a bigger decoration on either side of the blade, so I doubt that can be the reason.
In one of my books, I have unfortunately forgotten which, but it could be in the one by Francois Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668, the author writes, that customers can look in books with many different designs before they order a hilt. This could indicate that it was the goldsmith who made the hatching for koftgari, but it does not mean that he did, maybe he had the hatching made at the blade smith’ after his instructions – I will have to go on reading.
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Old 27th January 2005, 01:04 PM   #39
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It seems like I've heard or read that the gold-layer does the hatching, but I'm unsure, so thought I'd point out the possibility. I wonder if they had some kind of ink they used to lay out the writing/design on the hatched area, or if they did it free-hand, too.
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Old 27th January 2005, 11:23 PM   #40
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Excellent description of the characteristics and proper terminology on these blades by Mr. Hyle !! Really puts things into perspective.
I agree that it would be interesting to know more on the entire sword posted by Jeff, although it appears to be as I suggested a Tatar sabre ("Bron w Dawnej Polsce", Prof. Zdzislaw Zygulski, 1975, Warsaw, #145).

Many years ago discussing the yelman with a Polish gentleman, who was a fencing master, and not surprisingly fascinated with the development of the sabre... he noted that this feature was often described by a colloquial Polish term which meant 'feather', alluding rather tongue in cheek to the extra weight applied to the end of the blade. I had heard a number of other references to the purpose of the yelman in discussions usually noting the added weight concept. Obviously there seems to be ,as always conflicting views on the practical application of certain blade features, and the alternate explanation referring to blade vibration seems quite plausible as well.

Incidentally, just noticed a remarkable resemblance in the blade on Jens' sword to the large Chinese 'oxtail' blades found on late 18th c. ring pommel hilt sabres. The blades with biconcave peak on back of blade have the same early falchion form. Perhaps these 'oxtail' blade forms are survivors of the early blade forms previously mentioned from the sabre blades that evolved in China's frontiers to the west?



Best regards,
Jim
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Old 28th January 2005, 01:10 AM   #41
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Hi Guys,

So sorry for the tardy response, work has been very busy lately. As Jim noted this is a tatar saber from Gutowski's book, I posted it as I could not see how it could explain the origin of the yelmen to the tatars. As always Jim cleared this up with his explanation of Tatar being a generalized term for the steppe tribes. Thanks Tom for the definitions, Can I ask where they are obtained? I didn't realize how hard it is to find a clear definition of a yelman. I was under the mistaken impression that it was any false edge on a saber, your definition makes more sense.
As soon as time permits I think I will start a new thread on this topic so as not to dilute this excellent thread.

Thanks all.
Jeff
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Old 28th January 2005, 02:45 AM   #42
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Unfortuneately my mind is such as to rarely provide documentary or referential sources; a constant difficulty for those who recieve communication from me....
There is recurrent confusion around the term Tartar; for many centuries it is commonly used to refer to the primarily Turkic peoples of the Eurasian stepper, commonly including, but not limitted to Kazaks, Turks, Huigars, Mongols, etc. Also for centuries, it has been used to refer to specific tribes, often somewhat localized of course.
There seem to be 3 possible explanations that come to mind:
1/Some Tartars live nearby. You are not a Tartar. They are Tartars, and that's enough for you; your people don't know their tribal name; you don't know any other Tartars; you think they're "Tartars."
2/There are tribes that seem to have no other name but "Crimean Tartars" or "Blue Tartars" (though how much this is a foriegn inaccuracy is unclear). Such tribes may become in shorthand "Tartars" to someone who is unaware of the broader implications of the term. Essentially similar to #1
3/It was originally the name of one tribe, and got more generally applied, as with Roman, Zulu, Mongol....the problem I see with this is this usually occurs through conspicuous conquest, and we know other names for conspicuously conquering/ruling Tartar tribes, like Mongol and Turk?.....
All this confusion is not helped by the fact that these people, their culture, and their vast historical influence, are largely ignored in the "West", and after the irritating way of "Science" which seeks boundaries more often than centers (by it's defining nature), who get attached to the other cultural areas they border, rather than being seen as their own; so Huigars and Manchus are viewed as Chinese, Cossaks and Magyars as Slavs/Europeans, Turks as psuedo-Arabic, etc. Of course there's blending along cultural borders, but this case seems to be only looked at in that one way; as a vast frontier between cultural realms, rather than a valid and important realm in its own right, and I think that this is, well, bogus.
So Tartar Tartar Tartar, say I; let's all eat a bagel and some yogurt
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Old 28th January 2005, 06:03 PM   #43
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Smile OFFER

JENS
I also had the first impression on the scratches as did TOM HYLE That the scratches were sort of an "erasure" of something prior that was on the blade. However you sort of put that idea to sleep.
Jens
You stated that you had the inscriptions translated. Would you care to share with us what that translation is?



You may not be aware of my expertise on edge weapons, I know a blade from the pointie end to da other end, and I offer my service to you, sir. At no cost to you I will be more than happy to inspect your blade and give you my 100% guarantee as to what the sword is. All you have to do is send me the sword for a complete examination. The total time for the me to do this will be a few years as I want you to be satisfied on my analysis.
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Old 28th January 2005, 06:17 PM   #44
Jens Nordlunde
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Hi,

Thank you for your kind offer, but unfortunately I had to put the blade into an acid bath which will last a month or so – but I still think the hilt is nice



Jens
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Old 28th January 2005, 08:51 PM   #45
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Sorry I did oversee your question. The Farsi text says 'Bakar', which means 'spring', but can also be a name. For the translation of the Indian script I have no answer.

Jens
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Old 28th January 2005, 09:02 PM   #46
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JENS
Thank you for the inscription reading and not getting upset on my request to inspect your sword.

However I think I know why you call it watering because that long in an acid bath will most definitely bring out the watering. it's called TEARS!
Now about the hilt, want me to inspect it? Same offer
Earl Gene
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Old 29th January 2005, 08:20 AM   #47
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You are very insistent about inspecting the stuff, but you see, the hilt is so heavy, that the postage will be more than the hilt is worth.
You are ringht, that is from where the word 'watering' origins.
Jens
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Old 6th February 2005, 01:59 PM   #48
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Sorry Gene, I never gave you the translation – here it is.
On the yelman two names: Hassan and Sannan.
The translation of the cartouche is: War is surprise – so one must be on guard.

Jens
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Old 23rd March 2014, 04:08 PM   #49
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In January I was able to find a sword almost identical to Jens'(Thanks Runjeet!) except for the hilt motifs, and Jens' is in better condition overall. The sword is rather small(which I like!) but beautifully balanced and its unique yelman and superior wootz really make it stand out. The polish was done by Philip Tom, as was the new scabbard's wooden core. The fittings were done by Thomaz Kaczor in Canada.

It all came together to create a stunning piece.
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Old 23rd March 2014, 05:26 PM   #50
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just wow really?thanks what a fantastic example
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Old 24th March 2014, 09:41 AM   #51
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A rare sword as we know from reading the earlier input into this thread, and a thread I have followed and a sword I have admired since joining the forum in 2006.

Charles, you have done a great job in bring artisans together in order to conserve this important sword, and I was happy to have helped you bring it into your collection.

The blade is almost identical, it even has the same cartouche, the inscription on the yelman seems to be slightly different, so an accurate reading of yours Charles would clear that up.

The hilt is of the same slender form, but if what Jens refers to is accurate, (and I have no reason not to doubt it) then the style or decoration is dependant on the customers taste, so it would make complete sense that the decoration would be different!

Well done again Charles!

Regards,
Runjeet.
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Old 24th March 2014, 04:49 PM   #52
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Congratulations Charles this one is really nice.
Like Runjeet writes these blades are rare, really rare. In the more than forty years I have collected I have seen three of these blades.
The other one I saw long ago, but I still remember it quite well. The blade was the same but without fullers and without any gold inscriptions. The hilt was like yours, with a hand guard ending in a lotus bud, and also decorated in rather thin gold koftgari with flowers.
It is remarkeable how the inscriptions are alike, like made by the same man.
When it comes to the hilts, two men could have chosen the same blade, the same hilts and the same decorations, and a third one could have choosen quite another hilt - or the blade could have been rehilted.
Jens
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Old 25th March 2014, 04:39 PM   #53
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Charles,
What are the proportions of your tulwar? Mine are.
Length: 79 cm

Length of blade: 67 cm

Ricasso: 5.2 cm

Hilt: 16 cm

Disc diameter: 6 cm

Width of quillons: 8.5 cm

Length of langet: 5.4 cm

All the best
Jens
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Old 25th March 2014, 05:27 PM   #54
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Comon Charles, answer Jens's question re the proportions - this remind me of long lost siblings being re-united!! Will there be a happy ending?!!
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Old 31st March 2014, 02:12 PM   #55
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Dimensions for my example shown above:

Overall length(out of scabbard) 31in. / 78.74cm.
Length of blade: 27in. / 68.58cm.
Ricasso: 1 and 6/8 in. / 4.44cm.
Hilt length: 6 1/2 in. / 16.51cm.
Disc diameter: 2 1/2 in. / 6.35cm.
Length of quillons: 3in. / 7.62cm.
Length of langets: 2in. / 5.08cm.

With the exception of a very few centimeters owing largely to hilt differences they are virtually identical.
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Old 31st March 2014, 05:26 PM   #56
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Thank you very much Charles, yes they are very close - quite interesting.
Depending of the blade type, the length was very important to them, the colour as well - is was all a kind of mantra.
Jens

PS. There was also something about the smell of the blade, which seems to have been important.

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Old 19th September 2018, 08:27 PM   #57
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Ok this is an old thread, but I have a question.
Charles, the tulwar you show in post 49, did you ever get the text translated?

I now have a translation, made by a kind member of the forum, but before I show it, I would like to know if you have the text translated.

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Old 21st September 2018, 09:59 AM   #58
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Dear Jens,

I do apologise I have been away exhibiting and only just returned. I dont think I did have the inscription translated when I sold the sword to Charles, so I would be interested to hear what it says.

Thanks for your interest in this, as well as being very pretty, the sword had a great feel to it, I'm sure yours does too.

Kind Regards,
Runjeet
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Old 21st September 2018, 01:21 PM   #59
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The one who translated the text told me that it says "Rup Abdullah Sahib (owner) sanah 1150".
He did, however, add, that there seem to be ssomething strange about the number/year.
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