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Old 27th April 2019, 06:28 AM   #31
TVV
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Are we absolutely certain that the crossguard on midelburgo's sword is Italian and not say, Iberian?
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Old 27th April 2019, 01:05 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... I always think of the forte as with makers marks, to be located near the center of the blade near the guard ... The block forte is often seen on European blades, and such marks are on this section of the blade...These circular cartouches are situated unusually near the cutting edge of the blade but indeed in the upper section of the blade near the guard, which may broadly be regarded as part of the forte. Perhaps you are right, defining the forte might be regarded as the upper third of the blade...just always thought of it as the root near the guard.

Dear Jim, i would not evolve into why different cultures find it more handy to use different spots of the forte area to stamp their marks; if either technical issues ... or aesthetical.
But going etymological and in actual fencing lexicon forte, a term we currently use over here in its full acceptation, comes from the Latin forte=strong, robust... and, for the case, undoubtedly means the strong first third of the sword.
Sorry ... if i am such a drag .
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Old 27th April 2019, 01:15 PM   #33
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Midelburgo in his post above at #22 makes a very interesting comparison and notes the Venetain stamp.

The Venetian Winged Lion.

On swords the wear is considerable . Here is one; on the upper hilt of a Venetian Naval Cutlass..
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Old 27th April 2019, 03:42 PM   #34
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I would like to focus on what and what is not the Forte since I see it has some confusion around it earlier . I think Cutlass style; Falchion and Nimcha etc. particularly the short seaborne weapons, are easily divided up blade wise into the standard package of three parts but on advancing into the realm of Rapiers it is probably another matter ..I wrote a developing guide into blades over on European about blades which I noted;

The Blade. Depending on which sword school we are looking at; could be divided into many more parts than the usual three:

1. The Foible. The part near the blade.
2. The Terzo. The mid section between Foible and Forte.
3. The Forte. The part nearest the hilt.

The Foible (Feeble) is considered the weakest section whilst the strongest is the Forte (Fortified or Strongest).

Some schools especially Rapier divide into as many as 12 parts for refined skewering techniques! whilst 6 or 9 sections is not unusual.

Thus a good excuse to advertise for input and to note the thread is still very much alive please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ption+etymology
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Old 27th April 2019, 04:20 PM   #35
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No actual confusion has taken place, Peter.
Only a quid pro quo between me and Jim.
No need to complicate things .
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Old 27th April 2019, 08:56 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
No actual confusion has taken place, Peter.
Only a quid pro quo between me and Jim.
No need to complicate things .



No complications Fernando, actually what was important was that I considered the unusual position of placement on the blade for this 'whatever it is' stamp. While I thought I was clearly indicating the area of the blade, I inadvertently used the wrong term (a malady my wife assures me happens often in my case).
What I was thinking of was 'ricasso' (and again I am sure we can go into a nomenclature romp on this as well)…...and thinking of the often blockish area of the blade at the base of the guard, typically part of the tang.

As always, grateful for your elucidation, and one of the benefits of always learning here.

Getting back to the dilemma of this circular cartouche which seems to have been somewhat consistently applied to these apparently German blades in Algerian context, the location of the stamp suggests a location in common where it must have been applied. In ethnographic cases, such markings are dismally recorded, if at all, but finding some reference would be wonderfully important. What these marks suggest to me is either an arsenal or some central location/entrepot where these blades were received and mounted for dispersal to various clientele.

Surely such a reference is usually beyond the scope of most studies, but simply acknowledging such presence on a number of blades in this character is a case which will remain awaiting further evidence. As seen by the tenacious members here who bring up threads often many years old, the relentless search never ends.

Thank you Ibrahiim for the nomenclature which well clarifies. The Venetian cartouche with the winged lion is well noted, as Midelburgo brought up earlier, is compelling but I don't think works. I am pretty sure that these Algerian cartouches have some Arabic characters, but as Briggs notes these are typically indiscernible.

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Old 28th April 2019, 10:46 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
No complications Fernando ...

As i said Jim, and you well quoted, i was not addressing you but Peter, to hint him not to widen the scope of our both conversation on the forte issue.
Regarding the purpose of these cartouches, and considering that the sources mentioned are to rely in that their contents is (always) impossible to decode, we would be one step away to realize that they are no more than an arabesque fantasy, and that their use is hardly one of indicating an (any) arsenal or any possible identification, but only object of a symbolic attitude.
In other words, what would be the purpose of a writing that you can't read ?
Mmm ... food for thought.
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Old 28th April 2019, 05:50 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
As i said Jim, and you well quoted, i was not addressing you but Peter, to hint him not to widen the scope of our both conversation on the forte issue.
Regarding the purpose of these cartouches, and considering that the sources mentioned are to rely in that their contents is (always) impossible to decode, we would be one step away to realize that they are no more than an arabesque fantasy, and that their use is hardly one of indicating an (any) arsenal or any possible identification, but only object of a symbolic attitude.
In other words, what would be the purpose of a writing that you can't read ?
Mmm ... food for thought.



I know, and actually Ibrahiim in awareness that my faux pas on the term was moot in this conversation retrieved a well placed thread of earlier that was focused on sword nomenclature. Having that informative thread, which is now concurrent, will provide material so that anyone interested in the particulars can study them without troubling this thread.

I am not sure exactly what you are suggesting on the cartouches, but I was not implying that these are in any way an 'arabesque' feature . Those kinds of decorative 'attitudes' are reserved usually for European and colonial facsimiles of weapons made in an exotica sense.

The fact that these cartouches seem to be made by a 'stamp' which was produced for some sort of 'official' function would suggest placement on the blade to signify such. These kinds of functions I would think are of the kind carried out by arsenals, or whatever central place the receiving of trade goods/blades might be.

With these stamps, over time they became degenerated and caused slight variation in the characters within. Also poorly placed stamps would cause certain anomalies, factor in degeneration over time with aging in addition.

Though we know that, for example in the Sudanese situation during the Mahdiyya, the 'thuluth' emblazoned acid etched calligraphy was long thought to often be 'jibberish' that illiterate tribesmen would be impressed by. However recent studies have revealed that these are often couplets of verses and phrases, which are sometimes repeated in motif like character rather than properly scribed wording.

Very true, what purpose would illegible wording or characters have? Surely it depends and in situations there are coded and disguised inscriptions, acrostics and other arcane wordings designed for talismanic purposes. These are intended only for recognition by the initiated.

These cartouches I am sure were viably intended for recognition by the proper authorities, but probably, like the 'Passau wolf' and other well known markings probably gained a significance of quality of their own regardless if readable or not. In these cases, the placement in position on the blade would carry that significance as noted.
The fact that certain writers have noted these markings illegible or indecipherable does not mean they were intended that way, but that in their present state, they were not to the writer.
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Old 28th April 2019, 06:45 PM   #39
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Jim, i would not concur with the impression that, illegible arabesques (jibberish per you) only appear in European or exotica items; on the contrary, when i recall discussions had here in the past over diverse situations.
But i will not intrude any further with side topic considerations; back to the beautiful Charles's Nimcha appreciation .
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Old 28th April 2019, 07:06 PM   #40
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In continuing the examination of the circular markings at 'ricasso' on Charles' magnificent example as well as others presented, I thought perhaps the following might be relevant.


I wanted to add these two exemplars of what I am noting on these stamped cartouche circumstances, and which I think may be somehow connected to arsenal or some sort of arms repository. The first is the page from Briggs, ("European Blades in Tuareg Swords and Daggers", JAAS, Vol. V #2, 1965) and here (p.78-79) he notes on Algerian sabres, "...the ricasso is stamped (in one side only) with a circular mark containing an illegible combination of Arabic letters in high relief".
In the illustration he shows two Algerian blades, the second one with the ANDREA FERARA (which ensures a Solingen origin) and while it does not apparently have the circular cartouche (or it is simply not noted) he does suggest it is of the same origin (see fullers).

The next illustration is from "The Indian Sword" (P. Rawson, 1969) and shows a tulwar from Lahore (based on the hilt), but the blade I believe from probably Rajasthan or further Northwest regions. Note the squared cartouche at the ricasso in similar location to those on the Algerian blades. Here the inscription has characters which may be Arabic, but uncertain.

I had a sword with virtually identical markings in same locations, including the circular at center of blade which appears to be a trisula. In research I was told the inscription in the squared cartouche was Urdu, a lingua francia of Northwest regions which was combined with Arabic or Persian. With the trisula mark, I have seen others with what appears to be a katar instead of the trisula.

I am entering these as examples suggesting that this practice of deeply stamping cartouches at this blade location seems to have been done in Indian areas (with Arabic presence) as well as Algerian. Whether connected or the purpose I cannot say, but the comparison is for further consideration.
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Old 28th April 2019, 10:44 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Jim, i would not concur with the impression that, illegible arabesques (jibberish per you) only appear in European or exotica items; on the contrary, when i recall discussions had here in the past over diverse situations.
But i will not intrude any further with side topic considerations; back to the beautiful Charles's Nimcha appreciation .



While I do not wish to detract from the discussion, I think it only fair to point out, quid pro quo. that in my post #38 I did not say that 'illegible arabesques' were 'jibberish' appearing only on European and exotica items.

What I said was that 'arabesque', the term you used, and such 'attitudes' (again your term) were usually reserved for European and exotica items, with no mention of jibberish. The Arabesque term as you know is an art history term describing rhythmic patterns and interlaced foliage, often used to fill empty space or dynamically complete the composition.

When I used the term jibberish it was to describe 'previously held' notions that the thuluth calligraphy on Sudanese Mahdist weapons was jibberish, and noted that recent research found it was in fact tangible verses in repetition. Those instances were I believe the long ago discussions which I recall, as I was one who was inclined to agree in those times. Its amazing how much we learn as we get older and thanks to these kinds of details often shared in discussions here.

In returning to the topic if I may, add some other details I have found that might be of interest on these markings on these Algerian blades . In my notes I found another of these triple fuller blades, but in the location of blade noted......there is a name ZAUOE, spelled out, but in exactly the same location. The registers list this man as a gunmaker in Marseilles 1757-61.
Obviously a Maghrebi name, but in France, and it is notable that gun makers often, even typically, outfitted blades.

In looking at the fantastic array of weapons from Valletta that Teodor shared, in this huge assortment of nimsha, none of them had these markings in that blade quadrant. Could it be that these examples predated the use of such markings? or that perhaps they were never in the regions (Maghrebi littoral or Marseilles?) where such markings were used.
Perhaps rather than makers marks, or arsenal, these were outfitters stamps in one of the entrepots either Meditteranean or Maghrebi.

Just more food for thought, and these considerations I think might be important to the thorough examination of Charles' sword.

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Old 29th April 2019, 01:25 PM   #42
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There are some old hypothesis about nimchas being an evolution of Italian XVth century stortas.

Some circunstancial evidence.
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Old 29th April 2019, 02:04 PM   #43
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Dear Jim, it is i alone, who doesn't much to offer on this topic.
Concerning the actual difference in nomenclature between 'arabesque' and 'jibberish' ...
I have used arabesque (from the Italian ((also Portuguese))arabesco) as the term i had at hand, as intendedly meaning a decoration detail rather than pure arabic caligraphy. I wouldn't use the term jibberish (propper gibberish) as i gather that this is perhaps more indicative of 'speaking' rapidly and inarticulately, and not 'writing' in such mode. But when i quoted your mentioning the jibberish term, my intention was to attest that we were both meaning the same thing.
But speaking of fine tunings, allow me to remind (in double) the intrinsic distinction between recazzo and forte, such as not underlined in Peter's drawing link.
While the forte defines a determined area (section) of the blade, as in principle its strongest part, the recazo, while circumstantially associated with a inherent location, is a term that refers an added value created in a blade, being a blunt (non edged) zone in which you can grip the blade with your fingers, to better (wrist) handle the sword, acquiring a wider angle for sword combat. So we have that, while blades could/should 'always' include a forte, the recazo is not necessarily a 'ever present' part of the blade, this having being a later 'invention', i guess during the XVI century; according to some, a resource more practicable in Western terms, being more of an esthetical detail in the Orient, when it exists.
Perhaps you knew all this; sorry for the bore.
Take care .


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Old 29th April 2019, 03:29 PM   #44
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The date on this weapons scabbard says 1110 AH which is about 1689AD

AHMAD BIN ABDULLAH is on one line of text...the one nearest the hilt.

The other line I'm not sure about.

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Old 29th April 2019, 04:06 PM   #45
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Not at all Fernando, this is a most interesting look into these etymologies, and while it has been 'lifetimes' since I fenced, I admit little of this terminology was ever present in my mind Still,as we examine blades looking for historical clues, it is important to use correct terms in notations, so my 'faux pas' was unfortunate despite deeper analysis not needed as the correction put things on track.

In retrospect I would retract the word jibberish that I used as well, and used illegible or indecipherable, to explain the notions of some Arabic inscriptions being so. It is a most complex topic, and it seems such intricacies completely get things off center.

Midelburgo, thank you for the note on the stortas, and I have always very much agreed with the late Tony North, that these were certainly instrumental in some degree in the development of these Meditteranean swords. The fact that so many Italian influences are apparent in many ethnographic weapon forms compelled me to get a copy of the huge (and expnsive) Boccia & Coelho "Armi Bianche Italiene", where the evidences can be seen.

Ibrahiim, thank you for that translation!! Very sound evidence that is really helpful as we continue the investigation here. It is really good to get a well based look into these swords which will advance our core knowledge at last. There has been too much incomplete over the years.


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Old 29th April 2019, 07:59 PM   #46
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In defence of the " gibberish": some Central European swords have inscriptions in " pseudo-arabic" style. Obviously, they are " legible" but certainly "undecipherable".
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Old 29th April 2019, 09:30 PM   #47
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Red face perplexity

Sorry my ignorance Dr. but, if they are legible (lego), they are readable, hence interpretable.
But if they are 'pseudo, it is when they are undecipherable, hence uninterpretable... right ? .
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Old 29th April 2019, 10:09 PM   #48
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By legible I meant one can trace their configurations. But they are “pseudo”, I.e. without meaning.
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Old 29th April 2019, 10:56 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
By legible I meant one can trace their configurations. But they are “pseudo”, I.e. without meaning.



Thanks Ariel, 'psuedo' is much better term than 'jibberish', my bad
What I was thinking of is the fascination with 'oriental' exotica (which included Eastern, i.e Arabic, Middle Eastern) decoration on weaponry from 17th through 18th in Europe. Naturally the European artisans had little command of the complexities of Islamic calligraphy, so artistically applied simulations of some of the lettering etc. with these kinds of designs on weaponry.
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Old 30th April 2019, 06:54 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Charles, you are outdoing yourself time and time again!
Absolutely gorgeous!
...
Also, you might recall Elgood’s comment about Bukharans in Oman. They brought enameling there.
...
I doubt there is an iron-clad provenance, so that’s only my gut feeling.


Charles, I cannot help but say: 'what a sword!!!!!!!" Congratulations!
To elaborate on Ariel's 'gut feeling', here is Bukharan enamel box that displays some similarities in pattern and technique. I think Ariel (and Elgood) comments can be given serious consideration here.
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Old 30th April 2019, 09:25 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
Charles, I cannot help but say: 'what a sword!!!!!!!" Congratulations!
To elaborate on Ariel's 'gut feeling', here is Bukharan enamel box that displays some similarities in pattern and technique. I think Ariel (and Elgood) comments can be given serious consideration here.


Enamel work was used all over Muslim countries, especially with the Ottomans this is not a Bukharan specificity.

This Central Asian link is a nonsense. As another forum member mentions rightly, this is clearly an Algerian sword (at least it's obvious to me).
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Old 30th April 2019, 10:06 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Enamel work was used all over Muslim countries, especially with the Ottomans this is not a Bukharan specificity.

This Central Asian link is a nonsense. As another forum member mentions rightly, this is clearly an Algerian sword (at least it's obvious to me).


Of course this is (north-west) African nimcha, and enamel was certainly used elsewhere (and not only in Muslim countries)... I am surprised you thought this was even an argument
The point was in the kind of enamel! There are some known enameled nimchas ( there are a few examples HERE ) The enamel is distinctively different in many ways. Considering A&A and Ariel's+Elgood comments, and known Central Asian enamel samples, I suggested the possibility of Charles' nimcha (fittings) being produced by Central Asian master living elsewhere.
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Old 30th April 2019, 10:11 AM   #53
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OK OK sorry Alex

Here is the one from the MET
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Old 30th April 2019, 10:55 AM   #54
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Kubur, this is a nice example. It looks like enamel/champleve work, is it possible to see it closer? Also, is there an attribution or more details on this nimcha?
Looking at details of technique, design and material, it appears to me that enamel on most Moroccan/Algerian fittings is more granular and geometrical, whereas on Charles' example it is made in different style and technique, which makes it quite unusual, and special! As Bukharan enamelers were known to be working in Oman, perhaps similar workshops existed elsewhere, a suggestion we cannot verify now. I look forward to more comparisons and analysis of similar examples.
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Old 30th April 2019, 02:00 PM   #55
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Actually if I recall looking into Elgood (1994) there was no mention of Bukharen work in Oman, but he did mention such Central Asian (Bukharan) work in Yemen, as was also pointed out by Ibrahiim. It seems Yemen had far more variations of influential sword mounting and furbishing which include the impressive examples of Hadhramaut, I believe considered part of Yemen. Also in San'aa which I believe as well part of Yemen in kind there were impressive swords mounted.

Again trying to keep to the suggestion of Maghrebi, most likely Algerian provenance for this blade, and likely these mounts, as Algerian, other examples of deeply stamped marks have been found in earlier discussions on a pistol.
As earlier noted these deep stamps may be those of an outfitter rather than a formally recognized arsenal. These places mounted received trade blades for distribution, and similar deeply stamped marks seem to occur in similar blade location near the ricasso in many cases (except obviously the pistol which is on the top of the barrel over the lock, not sure of proper term).

There was I believe a Yemeni classified sword of silverwork mounts with a straight backsword blade again with similar stamp (and location) but with central blade markings of Italian form (three hourglass type stamps).

As well noted by A&A, enameling was practiced throughout Ottoman Empire and the presence and skills of artisans from Central Asian regions and perhaps others would have certainly altered regional characteristics.

Without specific and reliable provenance we would have to turn to the styles, motif and theme of features in hopes of better classification.
Overall, most elements direct to probable Algerian mounting of this remarkable sabre.

Charles just wanted to thank you again for posting this, and giving us all what has become a great exercise in investigating this sword and others of its form.
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Old 30th April 2019, 03:23 PM   #56
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Jim,
I believe that more comparative analysis and samples of similarly detailed arms, or other objects made in similar technique, would benefit the research. Beyond mounting, the artistic characteristics and details can point to certain regions, masters and even workshops. I do not recall seeing similar enameled fittings on Maghreb weapons. Are there any? Again, I mean not just enamel, but this particular style of enameling. It is not characteristic of Maghreb in my opinion. Sadly, these details are not considered enough when it comes to arms, and 'artistic' part of research is often lacking, especially when it comes to such non-standard 'impressive' sword, whereas with other non-arms objects, it is a common practice. Perhaps I am over-analyzing. What do you think?
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Old 30th April 2019, 10:23 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
Jim,
I believe that more comparative analysis and samples of similarly detailed arms, or other objects made in similar technique, would benefit the research. Beyond mounting, the artistic characteristics and details can point to certain regions, masters and even workshops. I do not recall seeing similar enameled fittings on Maghreb weapons. Are there any? Again, I mean not just enamel, but this particular style of enameling. It is not characteristic of Maghreb in my opinion. Sadly, these details are not considered enough when it comes to arms, and 'artistic' part of research is often lacking, especially when it comes to such non-standard 'impressive' sword, whereas with other non-arms objects, it is a common practice. Perhaps I am over-analyzing. What do you think?



Not over analyzing at all Alex, in fact you more eloquently expressed exactly what I was trying to say. I am admittedly not especially adept at analysis of artistic techniques, but have always noted your observations as astute.
\
I think one of the most confounding circumstances is when artisans from other cultures or regions are working in areas outside their own which transposes their indigenous character into other context.

This was the situation which Elgood described concerning Bukharen enamel work in Mecca, but then suggested perhaps the item was removed to Bukhara and decorated there. Considering the diffusion of Bukharen goods and influences, possibly Yemen would be included, we know there were distinct religious connections there from Bukhara as previously discussed.

I completely agree, the artistic values and character in the evaluation of arms decoration is essential in classification of at least the mounts, the blades of course often being another story.
Well noted as always.

PS in my previous post I stated Elgood noted Yemen/Bukharen work but meant Mecca as he actually noted.
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Old 1st May 2019, 01:03 AM   #58
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Default Italian origins of nimcha hilt style and other key factors

To reiterate what Midelburgo posted (#42) regarding the 'old hypothesis' on Italian origins of these nimcha hilts in the Mediterranean, carried forward in Tony North's 1975 article "A Late 15th Century Italian Sword", I wanted to repost the plate of hilt variants he included.
Attached below are 150-158 from "Armi Bianchi Italiene" (Boccia & Coelho, 1975) and all are 'storta' from Venice c. 1480-1490.

In the plate with markings, #150, the first one left top, has these three curious 'twig' markings, which are seen in the next image of the cylindrical Yemeni hilt with straight blade with apparently (heavier) marks on the blade as well as a cartouche near the ricasso. See next image for the caption #150 and followed by the article cover with Yemeni sword.

In the next images from Boccia & Coelho are storta which by the 17th century have gone from somewhat straight blades to the flared falchion type blades. These are not of course identical, but aside from elaborate fullering and added features, the sweeping profile into heavier point for optimum momentum in close quarters is evident.

In the last plate is a blade with four fullers, from Milan c. 1610, which shows makers mark and name in the key location on blade we have been discussing toward those seen on what we believe to be Algerian placed stamps.

I hope these plates might add to the detail here in our discussion which will show that evidence for Italian origins for these Mediterranean sabres from 15th century hilts is compelling. The strong influence of Venice and Genoa in North Africa and other ports of call throughout the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, Southern Arabia seems profound.

* THE STORTA PLATE I INTENDED FIRST APPARENTLY DID NOT OPEN BUT LINKED BELOW , SORRY.
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Old 1st May 2019, 03:48 PM   #59
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Here is a Nimcha not usually attributed to Somalia but it gives notice that these swords were all over the Zanzibar regional Hub and because that part of Somalia was a key regional trade player it is not surprising that such a weapon should appear. Naturally with pictures it is advisable to be cautious since what defines a nationally used sword or is it a photographers prop?

The hilt is clearly saying Nimcha ...and looks similar to Yemeni and Saudia variants although it rings a certain bell in the pommel top since the clear link to Bilao weapons of Somalia is there...in the three prong format...and it suggests an influence upon other Nimcha particularly Saudia style … perhaps giving the direction of influence...
At least we have here a potential spread through trade of this Greater Indian Ocean style or as Buttin probably coined them Arabian.
The picture describes the Somalian gentleman as being of VIP status..
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Old 1st May 2019, 05:40 PM   #60
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The Majeerteen Sultanate From where the above picture was taken...located in the horn of Africa...below..The town marked in red is Alula on the coast.

I HAD NO IDEA THAT THERE WAS A COUNTRY CALLED THIS ..

Trading vessels had to virtually skirt around it as it was The Horn of Africa ..From Wikepedia I quote;

The Majeerteen Sultanate (Somali: Suldanadda Majeerteen, Arabic: سلطنة مجرتين‎), also known as Majeerteenia and Migiurtinia, was a Somali kingdom centered in the Horn of Africa. Ruled by Boqor Osman Mahamuud during its golden age, the sultanate controlled much of northern and central Somalia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The polity had all of the organs of an integrated modern state and maintained a robust trading network. It also entered into treaties with foreign powers and exerted strong centralized authority on the domestic front. Much of the Sultanate's former domain is today coextensive with the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.

Regarding the weapons here is the Saudia silvered hilt Nimcha and the Billao Somali hilt which was a swordhilt or also on a dagger... plus the Yemeni looking version with prongs and probably a result of trade to or from this very important region...particularly in the 19th C and early 20thC. as per the heavy print above.
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