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Old 22nd February 2020, 03:02 PM   #1
Sylektis
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Default Persian (?) shamshir.

Any iformation on this shamsir could be usefull. Origin, type of wootz, translation and a mild way of cleaning if it is possible.
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Old 22nd February 2020, 05:18 PM   #2
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Interesting one.
Very nice wootz , unfortunately quite rusty in areas.

I am not concerned with authenticity and respectable age, but there are intriguing inconsistencies (?):

The blade has several narrow fullers interspersed with flat areas: this was often seen on Afghani blades.
The koft is pretty crude, and Persians were very careful
The upper part of the blade has silver koft, not typical for Persia, but very frequent on Arabian ( especially Syrian ) ones.
The upper langet is surrounded by wire (?), - another Arabian feature.
The pommel is downturned, yet another North Arabian, Bedawi, feature.

I tend to think that it might be an Afghani blade, decorated and mounted in the Syrian part of the Ottoman Empire. Why not vice versa? Because carving an entire fuller array would be a major undertaking, while applying koft is a no brainer.

I would be generous with WD-40 to remove any rust.

BTW, a question: would anyone use Rust Converter here? There are multiple pits with active rust and there is no chance one can remove it piece by piece. Or, treatment with tannic acid would destroy wootz appearance? After all, acid etching is in fact a controlled rusting.
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Old 22nd February 2020, 05:57 PM   #3
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Could the hilt be from Hyderabad, based on the slightly curved down turned pommel?

There was a discussion on this topic in the forum in the past:

http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthrea...erabad+shamshir
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Old 22nd February 2020, 06:20 PM   #4
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I thought about it, and that would fit nicely with the Afghani origin, but there is no hole for the ring and the "bend" is not strong enough. Dang! Here goes the hypothesis!

Last edited by ariel : 22nd February 2020 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 22nd February 2020, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
Could the hilt be from Hyderabad, based on the slightly curved down turned pommel?

There was a discussion on this topic in the forum in the past:

http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthrea...erabad+shamshir



I was thinking about that but the rivets and the leather don't match.

For sure the blade is Persian and Marius will be right to say that this blade should return to her former glory.

The guard looks Persian to me and I understand Sylektis this is a small mystery... May be Balutchi???
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Old 22nd February 2020, 07:19 PM   #6
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Sylektis, can you post closeups of the pommel and hilt bosses, as well as the tip of the blade, please? We can say the following: the grips, pommel and koftgari on the blade are likely Ottoman provincial work (Arab provinces.) However, closer examination of the motifs may prove otherwise.

Earlier on, some Ottoman sword grips were octagonal and often wood covered in leather (this characteristic also appears on Afghan shamshir hilts much later; typical stylistic conservatism.)

The guard is also an earlier Ottoman style but similar are found on some later sabers. At the minimum, it's clear this sword was mounted in a culturally, probably isolated, area.

The blade appears to have been forged with a broader central fuller originally; the small interrupted fullers along the spine and outlining the fuller could have been cut in later.

Ariel, old chum, I agree with you generally, pending more photos. However, when you use the term "afghani," I cringe. It's a coin, not an ethnic group. In English, the term is "Afghan." Same goes for "Uzbeki"-- this isn't English. People from Uzbekistan are called Uzbeks. Too, the correct name for the Iranian language in English is "Persian," not Farsi. It's like saying, He speaks Espanol, or he speaks francais.

Look forward to seeing closeups of the hilt and also the last few inches of the blade.
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Old 22nd February 2020, 09:06 PM   #7
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Oliver,
I go by what is a " good stuff":-)
Uzbek or Afghan is an ethnicity. Uzbeki or Afghani is "... of Uzbek or Afghan origin",
I am sure you know how good the "Uzbeki" is:-))

See:
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Old 22nd February 2020, 09:14 PM   #8
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Oliver,
BTW, do you know why the country is Persia, but they themselves call their language not Parsi, but Farsi?
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Old 22nd February 2020, 10:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Oliver,
BTW, do you know why the country is Persia, but they themselves call their language not Parsi, but Farsi?


I think the name of the country is Iran since the Bronze age...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
The upper part of the blade has silver koft, not typical for Persia, but very frequent on Arabian ( especially Syrian ) ones..


I agree with Ariel and Oliver, Syrian or around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
The upper langet is surrounded by wire (?), - another Arabian feature.


It looks like a piece of textile added later

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot
The guard is also an earlier Ottoman style but similar are found on some later sabers.
.


I agree and disagree, you have old Persian guards like that too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot
We can say the following: the grips, pommel and koftgari on the blade are likely Ottoman provincial work (Arab provinces.) However, closer examination of the motifs may prove otherwise.
.


This is wise and clever. I can translate it as:
We don't know yet...
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Old 22nd February 2020, 11:21 PM   #10
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To my eyes, this type of "wootz" is early 19th century or later.

The style of the hilt looks Syrian but the blade looks North Indian/Afghan.

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Old 23rd February 2020, 12:42 AM   #11
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Has any one compared the fuller layout of this blade to plate 29 of Y. Miller's Caucasian Arms from the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg or Figure 99 from A Study of the Eastern Sword ? Did the "narrow fullers interspersed with flat areas" originate in Iran and move Afghanistan or vice versa?
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Old 23rd February 2020, 04:38 AM   #12
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Persian blades as a rule had no fullers at all. Later on they might have had one wide fuller.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 06:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Persian blades as a rule had no fullers at all. Later on they might have had one wide fuller.


Like this one for example...
I know Ariel you will tell me look at the cut in the ricasso and the dots.
Yes this blade is Indian.
But i wanted to point out that I saw many Persian shamshirs with such blades.
With all the respect that I have for Afghan weapons
I don't believe that Afghans could do that so it has to be Indian.

So if the blade is Indian and the hilt Sindhi or Baluchi, I think Sylektis, that we are going to find the origin of your sword...

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Old 23rd February 2020, 08:22 AM   #14
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I'm very sorry guys, but I won't surrender too quickly.

The blade that I posted previously is Indian and this kind of blade makes you think that Skylektis 's sword is Indian.

But if you look at these two beauties, they are persians.

The Persian blades have very nice and regular fullers...


An Afsharid gold-damascened steel sword ( shamshir)
Persia, 18th Century
the single-edged steel blade of curved form with single fuller, the blade widening towards the double-edged tip with chiselled palmette at transition, decorated in gold overlay to one side near the forte with an inscription-filled cartouche, above and below palmette cartouches filled with foliate interlace, the crossguard decorated in gold overlay with scrolling tendrils overlaid with flowerheads, the quillons in the form of dragon heads, horn grips
85 cm. long
For a shamshir with an almost identical crossguard dated to the Afsharid period in the Military Museum of Tehran see Manouchehr M Khorasani, Arms and Armour from Iran, Tubingen, 2006, p. 488. Mu'allim Misri made four other recorded shamshirs: one is in the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay, another in the Military Museum, Tehran, and another two signed with his name are in the Historisches Museum, Bern (ibid, p.177, and cat.80).

and

A fine Qajar shamshir
Iran, mid-19th century
Curved 34 inch crucible steel blade with fullered yelman, 29 inch central fuller and below the spine, a series of short fullers, the interstices between with small inlaid gold panels of leaves and blossoms; the back side with eight fullers extending to the hilt; the front side with seven fullers, the lowermost stopping above the inlaid gold inscription panels and scrolling to enclose the end of the central fuller. Steel guard of familiar form exhibiting slight traces of overlaid gold florals. Hilt comprising marine ivory gripscales, silver wire ferrule and silver pommel cap molded with florals, the grip spine chased with floral meander highlighted with gold overlay. With original brown leather-covered scabbard, the silver mounts with embossed and punched floral and arabesque decoration. See note below for detailed analysis and translation of inscriptions kindly provided by Dr. Monouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani.

Note: Period: Early Qajar period
Analysis by Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani:
Inscriptions: The horizontal inscriptions read:
Ze huše Falātun damaš tiztar [upper part]
Ze abruye deldār xunriz tar [lower part]
Its edge [literally, tail] is sharper than the intelligence of Plato! It sheds more blood than the eyebrows of the beloved. Persian literature always refers to eyebrows as one of the physical beauties of women. This inscription is often found on the quality qaddare (short one edged swords) from the Qajar period of Iran. For an example from the Military Museum of Tehran see Arms and Armor from Iran, Khorasani, 2006, Cat. 190).
The circular gold-inlaid cartouche consists of different parts. The upper part is one of the attributes of God and reads: ho wal aziz ﻫﻭﺍﻟﻌﺰﻴﺰ (Oh the Forgiver). The cartouche in the middle reads Amal-e Mo'alam MesrI ﻋﻤﻞﺴﻠﻄﺎﻦﻤﻌﻠﻢﻤﺼﺭﻯ (The work of Soltan Mo'alam Mesri). The maker's mark amal-e Mesri Mo'alam ﻤﻌﻠﻡ ﻤﺼﺮﻯ ﻋﻤﻞ or amal-e Mo'alam Mesri ﻤﺼﺮﻯ ﻤﻌﻠﻡ ﻋﻤﻞ (The work of Mesri Mo'alam or the work of Mo'lam Mesri). Note that amal ﻋﻤﻞ (n) means "work" and Mesri Mo'alam ﻤﻌﻠﻡ ﻤﺼﺮﻯ (n) is a name. A sword signed by amal-e Mesri Mo'alam ﻤﻌﻠﻡ ﻤﺼﺮﻯ ﻋﻤﻞ and attributed to Sāh Safi is kept in the Military Museum of Tehran. For more information see Arms and Armor from Iran (Khorasani, Cat. 80). Another shamshir with this maker's mark can be found on a Shamshir attributed to Mohammad Shah Qajar (dated 1817) in the Military Museum of Tehran (see Arms and Armor from Iran, Khorasani, Cat. 159).
Inscriptions on the other edge of the cartouche read: Ya Qahaer al-Adow ﻳﺎﻗﺎﻫﺮﺍﻟﻌﺩﻭ (Oh the conquerer of enemies). This is another attribute of God.
The inscription on the corner of the cartouche is Ya Moth'her Alajaieb ﺍﻠﻌﺠﺍﺌﺐ ﻤﻈﻬﺮ ﻴﺎ (Oh the revealer of miracles) which is part of the famed prayer Nāde Ali ﻨﺎﺪﻋﻠﻰ (prayer of Nāde Ali). This prayer is a call upon Ali the first Imam of the Shiites. This prayer is used on many scabbard fittings of swords from the Safavid period.
The blade has the pattern of pulād-e jŏhardār-e mošabak ﻤﺸﺑﮏ ﺟﻭﻫﺮﺪﺍﺭ ﭘﻮﻻﺩ (crucible damascus steel with net pattern or a type of crucible damascus steel with woodgrain pattern). For this pattern see Lexicon of Arms and Armor from Iran, 2010).
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Old 23rd February 2020, 05:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot
Sylektis, can you post closeups of the pommel and hilt bosses, as well as the tip of the blade, please? We can say the following: the grips, pommel and koftgari on the blade are likely Ottoman provincial work (Arab provinces.) However, closer examination of the motifs may prove otherwise.

Earlier on, some Ottoman sword grips were octagonal and often wood covered in leather (this characteristic also appears on Afghan shamshir hilts much later; typical stylistic conservatism.)

The guard is also an earlier Ottoman style but similar are found on some later sabers. At the minimum, it's clear this sword was mounted in a culturally, probably isolated, area.

The blade appears to have been forged with a broader central fuller originally; the small interrupted fullers along the spine and outlining the fuller could have been cut in later.

Ariel, old chum, I agree with you generally, pending more photos. However, when you use the term "afghani," I cringe. It's a coin, not an ethnic group. In English, the term is "Afghan." Same goes for "Uzbeki"-- this isn't English. People from Uzbekistan are called Uzbeks. Too, the correct name for the Iranian language in English is "Persian," not Farsi. It's like saying, He speaks Espanol, or he speaks francais.

Look forward to seeing closeups of the hilt and also the last few inches of the blade.

Thank you very much guys for the help you have given me, with your knowledge and experience.
I am uploading the photos that Oliver requested to complete your opinion.
And again I ask, what is your opinion on blade cleaning?
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Old 23rd February 2020, 07:02 PM   #16
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Under normal circumstances, one would soak the blade in oil or DW-40 and then use steel wool.
However, areas of active rust go well beyond Koft areas, and steel wool would remove everything. Moreover, there seems to be rust underneath the koft. Softening of dissolving rust would dislodge it as well.
Soaking and steelwooling distally of Koft might be the main option. Gentle oiling and toothpicking the rust within the Koft area may be the max you can do.

Steelwooling will remove wootz pattern as well, and you will have to re-etch.

Hope that my suggestion is an unnecessarily pessimistic one and other people here have aces up their sleeves which they are willing to share.
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Old 25th February 2020, 07:32 AM   #17
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Default What if?

Hi,
I know practically nothing about swords and I respect all the expert opinions on this thread, but still, I want to suggest a different idea.
What if this sword is Syrian/Ottoman in its entirety?
I do not see anything to suggest that parts were made in different periods or places, rather than the discrepancy between the quality of the wootz and the quality of the sword as a whole.
Both the hilt and the blade, as well as the koftgari look Syrian and not Persian to me, mostly because of the lower quality of work. The reason it does not resemble other examples of Ottoman/Badawi swords made in Syria could be that it is simply older than most, which are typically late 19th c and re-hilted blades of different origins. The blade could be made from Indian wootz or from any other wootz blade which was re-worked extensively.
This is purely a hunch, but I thought it might be worth writing.
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Old 25th February 2020, 10:44 AM   #18
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Regarding the "wootz"... I had a 20th century Khyber knife with EXACTLY the same pattern. Attached are photos of another one that I sold recently. Not very much different from a hunting knife Ivan Kirpichev made for me a few years ago...

Regarding the koftgari... in my oppinion it is definitely not Persian. Also significantly different from Ottoman mainsteam works.
It could be Syrian as Motan suggested, but could be also Afghan or more likely Indian but... definitely not the works of any established centre, but more like "village" works. I am inclined towards Indian, because I had a Tulwar with the same type of koftgari, only of significantly better quality.

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Last edited by mariusgmioc : 25th February 2020 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 25th February 2020, 03:18 PM   #19
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Hi Marius
I think we all agree that the koftgari is Syrian or Arab Ottoman.
For me the blade is Persian.
The pommel and the grips are a bit different from the usual bedouins swords but Motan and Oliver might be right.
I have an Arab sword with a Persian blade, it's very common.
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