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Old 9th April 2011, 10:10 AM   #1
Gavin Nugent
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Default Khevsurian sword

A long time on the want list this one;

I did a while back buy this sword for the collections and I know some of you have viewed it privately as I have not yet added it to my gallery page.

My reading points this to be a true Khevsurian sword in Persian style rather than one of the 'Cottage Industry' types often passed off as the real deal.

The armourers stamps are to both sides and are similar to those of mid 19th century Georgian smith marks but being aware of the intricacies behind these weapons, there could well be other cutlers who used and or copied these marks.

I'd like to share this image now that my new camera has finally arrived.

Comments and further directions to the intricacies behind these swords are welcome.

Gav
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Last edited by freebooter : 9th April 2011 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 9th April 2011, 12:31 PM   #2
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Fantastic piece! I for one would love to see closeups up the decorative elements on the scabbard fittings and the cross guard.

I know very little about these swords but have had a passing interest in the Khevsureti ever since I saw the film "The Land of the Lost Crusaders" http://www.gfmstudio.com/productions/lostcrusaders

In fact I had hopes to make a trip into the region two years ago, but political events at the time made this less than advisable. I have always found the watch towers and fortresses of this isolated people fascinating. The wikipedia page has some good photographs of these buildings as well as a couple of period photos of Khevsurian warriors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khevsureti

Out of interest, would these swords have been manufactured locally? Just hilted locally? I'm rather fuzzy about the sword industry in Georgia as a whole.
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Old 9th April 2011, 01:32 PM   #3
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Very nice piece, but I disagree about its attribution. This is a typical Georgian Khmali, saber, in Persian style. Khevsurian sabers ( palashes) are cruder, their handles are different and brass bands are the must.
There is, indeed, a proliferation of Khevsurian swords on the market, many not fakes, but actually homages, and are honestly signed by the contemporary master, Mr. Kharanauli.
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Old 9th April 2011, 07:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Very nice piece, but I disagree about its attribution. This is a typical Georgian Khmali, saber, in Persian style. Khevsurian sabers ( palashes) are cruder, their handles are different and brass bands are the must.


Ariel, thanks for coming in. If anyone would know, I knew you would, thank you for clearing that up.

So it is the dress the sword is in more than the sword itself that denoted this Khmali attribution Ariel?

I ask, as an example, a recent auction had both described within its catalogue. Swords labeled as Khmali that shared by large degree many similar attributes with the hilts of Khevsurian swords. In the same auction a Khevsurian Palashe shared the same but cruder motifs on the guard and suspension fittings as this example does...in simple terms, not clear cut to myself.

What should be considered when delving in to this world and seperation of the two labels, or more so identifying the Khmali attribution.

You note 'typical' too Ariel, I know it is in reference to styling but how typical are these sabres? I know I do not see swords like the one above very often at all and untouched as found examples even less.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
There is, indeed, a proliferation of Khevsurian swords on the market, many not fakes, but actually homages, and are honestly signed by the contemporary master, Mr. Kharanauli.


Thank you for clearing this up Ariel, I guess it is up to the seller to then pass this information on that I suspect they don't know as too many seem to be refered to as 19th century

Last edited by freebooter : 9th April 2011 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 10th April 2011, 06:36 PM   #5
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Agree with Ariel. This is Georgian saber. Here is another one in Persian shamshir type.
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Old 10th April 2011, 10:20 PM   #6
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Default Thanks Alex

Thanks Alex, nice to see other varients of Georgian sabres, interesting to note the inclusion of the 'gazelle' on the drag, kinda highlights in a way, one plausible notation the history or the lion/leopard motifs on these swords.

Can you address the division of points asked above in relation to the shared factors on the swords of Khmali and Khevsur design elements in the hilts etc?

Do you consider the one you present a trophy or war or a sword of trade decorated in native Georgian fashion?
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Old 11th April 2011, 10:37 AM   #7
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Default Brass Bands

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
... Khevsurian sabers ( palashes) are cruder, their handles are different and brass bands are the must...


correct - the brass bands are characteristic for hilts (and scabbards!). There could also be brass inlays on crossguards, as on our examples. Below is another example of a crossguard with brass inlay elements. The brass inlay is more of a Georgian feature, but the cheaselled script is Persian.

Gav, it is hard to say whether it is "trophy or war or a sword of trade decorated in native Georgian fashion". My opinion is toward the later - the Persian blade is much more likely to be a "trade" object, furnished in local style, by commission/order or to make it more saleable - still a well practiced trade, whereas the "trophies of war" is not as much, thankfully.
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Old 11th April 2011, 01:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
correct - the brass bands are characteristic for hilts (and scabbards!). There could also be brass inlays on crossguards, as on our examples. Below is another example of a crossguard with brass inlay elements. The brass inlay is more of a Georgian feature, but the cheaselled script is Persian.

Gav, it is hard to say whether it is "trophy or war or a sword of trade decorated in native Georgian fashion". My opinion is toward the later - the Persian blade is much more likely to be a "trade" object, furnished in local style, by commission/order or to make it more sellable - still a well practiced trade, whereas the "trophies of war" is not, Thanks God!


Thanks Alex, I was glad to see the edit ;-)

Here is one below listed at AI as

"A RARE KHEVSUR KHMALI SWORD"...why both denominations...covering all bases or am I missing something.

Below it is an image of what I believe to be a Khevseur warrior, look close to the sword, it appears to have no bands and be of a Persian form.

Explanations please
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Last edited by freebooter : 12th April 2011 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 20th April 2011, 12:45 PM   #9
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BUMP

No takers, no guessing???

There was a wealth of knowledge from members when reading past posts about weapons from these regions
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Old 22nd May 2011, 07:45 AM   #10
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Exclamation More questions than answers

A couple of more images that also show other Khevsureti with curved sabres of Pesian styling and scabbards free from brass binding...

The upper image, the middle chap with an unbound scabbard, curved sabre with a hilt type often refered to as Khmali....

The lower image labeled Khevsurian as is the image in the post above, again, a curved sabre with unbound scabbard and Persian style hilt.

There seems to be no absolute about Khevsur swords just a majority of brass bound swords....what gives?

Also here at 2min 21 and 2min 25(being the same image from the above post);

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3Pq...feature=related


....more questions than answers...anyone want to break from tradition and offer an explanation as to the subtleties of these sabres.....and with khmali being old world Georgian, where does one turn to in a new world for details....

Ariel, your up to speed with this I am sure, do you understand enough to offer a better explanation

Gav
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Last edited by freebooter : 22nd May 2011 at 09:58 AM. Reason: addition of video link
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Old 25th January 2012, 10:53 PM   #11
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A long awaited bump.

Clear photographic evidence provided and auction edivence from those who know but no one wanted to put forth an explanation despite firm resolutions about what swords these warriors used should be and looked like.

Surely someone want to go against tradition and provide a theory behind or beyond it....

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Old 17th July 2012, 04:50 AM   #12
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Default answer to freebooter

Greetings freebooter !
Its been long time since my last visit. I hope my intrusion into this obviously abandoned conversation might yet turned out helpful for you.
First of all allow me to make few corrections to provided information. The picture of seated warrior in chain mail, signed in Russian script “Xevsur” is well known picture from Russian collection of types of the Caucasus. However on the picture is not a khevsur highlander but a person that was hired by the studio to pose in khevsurian garment. The armament on the picture is assembled from various sources and there for is not entirely khevsurian. Saber is not of khevsurian style as well as head piece and clothing below the knee.
Next to above mentioned picture is another one of the saber , signed “khevsur khmali ….”
It is not however khevsurian , though I agree it shares some features. The saber is typical for Kartly and Kaheti regions of Eastern Georgia. The distinctive features are elements of scabbard. The blade itself is of curved “gorda” type or also known as “gurji gurda” its distinctive features are fullers and marks on the blade. So how to distinguish khevsurian saber or palash . One should keep in mind that scabbards of khevsurian swords are extensively or completely covered in metal. I will try to post few examples of such scabbards.
Best,
VK

Last edited by Kiziria : 17th July 2012 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 17th July 2012, 04:53 AM   #13
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I have tryed to attach pictures to text but unsucsesfully
How to paste pictures in ? Anybody?
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Old 17th July 2012, 05:47 AM   #14
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Hello Kiziria

Here is a link on how to post pictures on the forum. http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13631

I'm guessing that your photo needs to be reduced in size, "Pictures which you upload must not exceed 1280 pixels in width, 1280 pixels in height or a file size of 1mb if they are not to be rejected"
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Old 17th July 2012, 06:06 PM   #15
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Thank you Nathaniel !
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Old 17th July 2012, 09:26 PM   #16
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Default types of scabbards of khevsur sabers and swords

There are few general details and elements that are helpful in establishing khevsur origin of the sword. Most of khevsur sword harness should have along its length small silver or brass embalishment scales (also protecting the leather of harness).
Also take a look at the connecting section , it is another element.
Keep in mind that khevsur scabbards are extencively protected by metall elements or compleately covered in brass or silver.

Of course there are diferences in curved or chiseld paterns, shapes of scabbard plates that came from diferent Khevsurian glens or communities. But those diferences are unnesasary to know for general attribution to Khevsureti region.
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Old 17th July 2012, 09:37 PM   #17
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Items displayed above are from the collection fond of GeorgianNational Museum, Kibishauri family and Likokeli family.
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Old 17th July 2012, 09:46 PM   #18
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Dear VK,

Thank you for answering the hard questions and correcting historical photographs. Thank you too for specific and accurate photos.
Your explanations are greatly appreciated. I am sure many posters and readers will benefit from your assessments that have been supported by further detail.

With thanks

Gavin

Last edited by freebooter : 17th July 2012 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 17th July 2012, 09:48 PM   #19
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Greetings Gavin ! Seeing name "freebooter" I did not realised that it were your post, I am sorry. It's been a long time. How are you? How is Jim?
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Old 20th July 2012, 03:16 PM   #20
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Yay! Its great to see you back Vaho!!!
Thank you for bringing the Khevsur topic back to life, there is so little known on them here, and its wonderful that you share your experience in the field. It is interesting to know more on these 19th century 'Khevsur' photos, and it seems much practiced to have staged photos using props much as here in the 'west' of the US. Many of the American Indian photographs that were posed were using studio props as well as many of the soldiers posed in Civil War period using pretty much the same Bowie knives and Colt pistols.

The Khevsurs as I recall from research some years ago were very much a 'novelty' to Russians, and it was very difficult to obtain information on them from Russian sources.

I hope you'll be posting more on these fascinating arms, it is an incredibly exciting topic and fun to learn more. Welcome back Vaho!!!!

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 21st July 2012, 10:14 AM   #21
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Default Khevsurian sword ?

Have a question, this is a Khevsurian sword? Or does it have another name. Best, Kurt
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Old 21st July 2012, 12:09 PM   #22
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I know I am barging in, and I do not want to steal the thunder from Kiziria, but I am just happening to sit in front of the screen:-)

I think that Kurt's saber is not Khevsurian, but Kartli/Kakheti, ie strictly Georgian one. This is with full understanding that Khevsureti is a part of Georgian cultural domain, but has very local flavor due to their geographic isolation and just local peculiarities.

BTW, Kiziria may correct me,but I cannot recall any Khevsurian sword with abundance of silver: they were pretty poor, and brass was the usual material, with occasional silver decorations on the handle. Also, and again IMHO, Khevsurian scabbard fittings are never traditional 3-piece beauties, but rather multiple simple brass circular bands.

Kiziria, am I far away from the truth?
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Old 21st July 2012, 11:34 PM   #23
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Default verry nice item Kurt

Hi, Kurt ! Thank you for wonderful pictures. Really nice item here.
Ariel pretty much answered to your question so I have nothing to add really.
If you make closer shot at stamp we might read it and know the name of the maker, maybe even the year of making. The stamp itself might be from Tbilisi craftsman, cant say for sure based on pictures only.
Thank you again!
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Old 22nd July 2012, 01:48 AM   #24
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“barging in” is only welcome dear Ariel ! And you are absolutely correct about saber that Kurt displayed, it is definitely not a Khevsurian type but of Kartli/Kaheti region which we can judge by the construction of the handle and niello pattern on the silver plates of scabbard and scabbard itself.
About your question. Nither me nor my colleagues have seen many of silver plated swords from Khevsurety.
True that most common type of khevsurian scabbard seen today and well known by collectioners is leather on wood that fortified partially by brass plates. Yet there are few examples that compleately covered in brass ( in this case embellished with chiseling or embossed) or completely covered in silver plate ( in this case embellished with niello ). Ither it could be considered as traditional as other known type of corse remain a question. The oldest example atributed to 1860th or about that time.
The silver scabbard and sword that I had displayed on top is one of 2 that belong to Likokeli family from Likokeli glen (Likokis temi in Georgian) and were made by Likokeli masters.( Present owner David Likokeli however does not continue family tradition). Likokelis swords are of special interest because these masters had kept distinct style for blade making as well as for pattern motives on silver. I will find and post later an axample of their signature blade, which might be helpful for attribution.
There are other fully clad in silver or brass scabbards that could be attributed to works of other old smith families that claimed its authorship namely Arabuli, Mindikauri or Chincharauli , but work of establishing it is not finished, because those items are not in Khevsurety but in provide collections. Hopefully in the end we will be able to say exactly which work is done by what master. So far there only 9 such swords are located. It is a really small number but we hope to locate more.
They probably were never produced in big numbers partly due to the fact that not every one could afford it. Also it had been suggested by a collegue that silver wears quikly against chainmail shirt so silver plated scabbards probably never could become a common choice. ( arguable in my opinion)
I would add also that khevsur type swords – palashes and sabers never being demanded outside the Khevsurety unlike another type known as Caucasian shashka that was prodused in great numbers so we find nowadays so many great examples of such work.

Last edited by Kiziria : 22nd July 2012 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 22nd July 2012, 02:32 AM   #25
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Hello Jim! Glad to hear from you.
There are enough of both types of pictures ,those that were staged at the studio or even outside and those that had been taken in real locations. Each year more pictures surface up from various sources –local museums, family archives. There yet more information to uncover. I always keep my eyes open as well as for written materials. Have I mentioned memoirs I found this time ? Traveling notes by the scetchist painter that was with Russian regiments during Caucasian operations and witnessed some curious customs of Tushin and Khevsuriam militia regiments?
Interesting psychological study of the time ha ha ha
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Old 22nd July 2012, 03:22 AM   #26
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I doubt that any such work will turn up occasionaly since it is very rear , but just in case here are the following.
"likokeli blade"
Note the kind of oval made of two semicirkles facing each oter and joined in figure (dont remember the name of such figure in English). Note that curves of "oval" are smooth unlike "eyelashes" that are distinct for "gorda" blades. This "ovals" tilted and arranged in a row runs along the blade length and end up where "sashari" or double edged shurpened tongue of the blade began.
Above is distinctevly Likokelis signature work.

VK
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Old 22nd July 2012, 10:04 AM   #27
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Default Makers stamp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiziria
Hi, Kurt ! Thank you for wonderful pictures. Really nice item here.
Ariel pretty much answered to your question so I have nothing to add really.
If you make closer shot at stamp we might read it and know the name of the maker, maybe even the year of making. The stamp itself might be from Tbilisi craftsman, cant say for sure based on pictures only.
Thank you again!


Hi Kiziria ,
Guess you're right with Tbilisi.

Best
Kurt
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