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Old 10th June 2023, 04:27 AM   #1
Sakalord364
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Default Continued Research on the Afghan “Regulation” Military swords

It seems the Prototype of the these ubiquitous Afghan short swords may have been these mid 19th century swords issued to British police- the blade shape and the layout of the scabbard are similar, and over the years were probably modified by the afghans to reach the final design stage that we know today.
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Old 10th June 2023, 08:18 AM   #2
Gavin Nugent
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There is record of the 1897 pattern issue swords being used by police in India in the early 20th century.

Do you have datable military records that show the earlier constabulary pattern being being used abroad? It would help support the theory?
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Old 11th June 2023, 05:17 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
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Interesting idea. In the heading here you note " continued research on the regulation Afghan swords". With this I am presuming you have already read the extensive discussions on these here in 2013, which followed other incidental mentions of these Afghan swords in years previous.
I first acquired one of these in the late 90s and at that time quite frankly nobody in the arms collecting community knew much on them.

The discussions mentioned brought forward considerable insights on these, most notably that there was not any distinct record of 'regulations' on patterns or issuance. What we know is that after the Treaty of Gandamak in 1879, in the 1880s under Abdur Rahman Khan, an arms factory was established in Kabul, where various shops produced various supplies but the weapons were primarily rifles

The first known dates on these military style swords was 1893 running up to 1903, and most had the Afghan royal stamp representing the Mosque at Mazir i Sharif. What I noticed in my earliest research on these swords back in the 90s was that at the signing of the Treaty of Gandamak, the Afghan general second from right is wearing a sword remarkably like these in the hilt. As that was 1879, we may presume that this peculiar hilt form was in use in some degree by then (see bottom photo).

I had always thought that the peculiar form of these Afghan 'military' hilts resembled the construction, wood grips with rivets and pommel shape were compellingly similiar to sword bayonets of the period. As rifles were the primary concern of the Mashin Khana, the factory which was established in Kabul under Rahman Khan and with British subsidy, that perhaps these hilts followed the manner of the sword bayonets.

I found no evidence that the British were supplying either these swords, nor the components, with the deeply channeled blades unlike any comparable forms found elsewhere and unique to these swords.

One feature which also is unique is the parallel bar knuckle guard with the scrolled back terminal which is found on many northwest India tulwars but not in this dual bar form. This has been seen on some Afghan paluoars but unclear on how that factors into these military swords of late 19th c.

I cannot see anything similar in the British 'police' type sabers, which were not really anything regulation but private purchase forms of supplies These were simply short swords with a basic hilt form following most military style hilts in the 19th century. Scabbards are never IMO an element of classifying a weapon but only add to the most recent history of the weapon in situ.

In 2019, Dmitry Miloserdov published his outstanding volume, "The Edged Weapons of Afghanistan 19th c. into 20th" , in which much of these matters are discussed. While in Russian, I believe translations are available.

As far as issuance of these Afghan military swords, though the Afghan army was being Anglicized in equipment and uniforms, these are not known to have been issued officially to those units.
However, as per the British administrative policies in the Raj, many tribal groups were enlisted into policing type units augmenting British forces tribal levees. These forces were the probable recipients of these weapons, and it seems that in many cases these hilts were put on the tribesmans own 'Khyber knife' further illustrating that these were outside regulatory issue.
However, even these rehilted 'Khyber'soften had the Afghan Royal seal placed on the blades. Whether these were simply acquired blades to offer a choice to the men or their own blades is unclear.
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Old 11th June 2023, 07:46 PM   #4
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I'll add this enigmatic mark on my example of this sabre for those who have not seen it before.
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Old 18th June 2023, 07:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
Interesting idea. In the heading here you note " continued research on the regulation Afghan swords". With this I am presuming you have already read the extensive discussions on these here in 2013, which followed other incidental mentions of these Afghan swords in years previous.
I first acquired one of these in the late 90s and at that time quite frankly nobody in the arms collecting community knew much on them.

The discussions mentioned brought forward considerable insights on these, most notably that there was not any distinct record of 'regulations' on patterns or issuance. What we know is that after the Treaty of Gandamak in 1879, in the 1880s under Abdur Rahman Khan, an arms factory was established in Kabul, where various shops produced various supplies but the weapons were primarily rifles

The first known dates on these military style swords was 1893 running up to 1903, and most had the Afghan royal stamp representing the Mosque at Mazir i Sharif. What I noticed in my earliest research on these swords back in the 90s was that at the signing of the Treaty of Gandamak, the Afghan general second from right is wearing a sword remarkably like these in the hilt. As that was 1879, we may presume that this peculiar hilt form was in use in some degree by then (see bottom photo).

I had always thought that the peculiar form of these Afghan 'military' hilts resembled the construction, wood grips with rivets and pommel shape were compellingly similiar to sword bayonets of the period. As rifles were the primary concern of the Mashin Khana, the factory which was established in Kabul under Rahman Khan and with British subsidy, that perhaps these hilts followed the manner of the sword bayonets.

I found no evidence that the British were supplying either these swords, nor the components, with the deeply channeled blades unlike any comparable forms found elsewhere and unique to these swords.

One feature which also is unique is the parallel bar knuckle guard with the scrolled back terminal which is found on many northwest India tulwars but not in this dual bar form. This has been seen on some Afghan paluoars but unclear on how that factors into these military swords of late 19th c.

I cannot see anything similar in the British 'police' type sabers, which were not really anything regulation but private purchase forms of supplies These were simply short swords with a basic hilt form following most military style hilts in the 19th century. Scabbards are never IMO an element of classifying a weapon but only add to the most recent history of the weapon in situ.

In 2019, Dmitry Miloserdov published his outstanding volume, "The Edged Weapons of Afghanistan 19th c. into 20th" , in which much of these matters are discussed. While in Russian, I believe translations are available.

As far as issuance of these Afghan military swords, though the Afghan army was being Anglicized in equipment and uniforms, these are not known to have been issued officially to those units.
However, as per the British administrative policies in the Raj, many tribal groups were enlisted into policing type units augmenting British forces tribal levees. These forces were the probable recipients of these weapons, and it seems that in many cases these hilts were put on the tribesmans own 'Khyber knife' further illustrating that these were outside regulatory issue.
However, even these rehilted 'Khyber'soften had the Afghan Royal seal placed on the blades. Whether these were simply acquired blades to offer a choice to the men or their own blades is unclear.
Here is an interesting photo they depicts how these were worn during the early 20th century.
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Old 19th June 2023, 12:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sakalord364 View Post
Here is an interesting photo they depicts how these were worn during the early 20th century.

EXCELLENT PHOTO! perfect context! Thank you so much for adding this Sakalord.
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