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Old 13th September 2019, 11:55 AM   #1
mahratt
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Default Afghan shashkas

Afghan shashkas for the army Afganistan from my collection.
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Old 13th September 2019, 01:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Afghan shashkas for the army Afganistan from my collection.


4 is too many, you don't want to sell one? even without the scabbard...

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Old 13th September 2019, 01:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
4 is too many, you don't want to sell one? even without the scabbard...



My friend, in my collection of 10 Afghan shashkas. And they are all different. I collect exactly the Afghan arms

But, if you decide to go on a tourist trip to see Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia (it is in these cities museums with the most interesting collections of oriental arms), I will be glad to invite you to visit me and show you these shashkas
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Old 14th September 2019, 02:58 AM   #4
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This is an EXCELLENT topic! and you are more than eminently qualified to discuss these most interesting versions of these shashkas. Seeing these has prompted me to take the liberty of offering a review of your new outstanding book, "Edged Weapons of Afghanistan: 19th-20th c". ...on a separate thread.

The questions that come to mind, such as are Afghan shaskas really 'shashka's'? were they influenced by Russian or Caucasian shashkas? etc. are the kinds of questions that have long percolated through the arms community.

I acquired some time ago a shashka which was attributed to Uzbekistan, but had a scabbard with the long fluted silver tip which seems characteristic on Afghan paluoars. It was honestly hard to ascertain whether it was indeed Uzbek or Afghan, and the hybridization of these in these contiguous regions virtually render any specific classification almost impossible.

We could say, 'one could almost write a book on the possibilities in studying weapons of these regions'!!
Well you did!!! Congratulations!!! Nicely done.
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Old 15th September 2019, 05:12 PM   #5
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This is my shaska, I hope enjoy pictures.
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Old 15th September 2019, 05:50 PM   #6
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I am absolutely delighted!
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Old 15th September 2019, 06:17 PM   #7
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Beautiful example Carlos!! Thank you for sharing it here.
What do we know on this one? Do you have provenance or notes on its possible origin etc?
These are fascinating weapons in their very simplicity.
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Old 15th September 2019, 06:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Beautiful example Carlos!! Thank you for sharing it here.
What do we know on this one? Do you have provenance or notes on its possible origin etc?
These are fascinating weapons in their very simplicity.


This piece was bought diretly in Kabul.
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Old 15th September 2019, 06:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlos
This piece was bought diretly in Kabul.


Wow! that was quick!
I like the work in the scabbard fittings, and it seems openwork was very much favored in Afghan weaponry.
Thanks very much Carlos.
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Old 23rd September 2019, 04:23 PM   #10
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I am delighted to see these swords getting some attention on the forum! I have been a fan of them for some time, though I realize they fall into the strange collecting category of "rare but not highly sought after". Perhaps it's because Caucasian shashkas are more "blingy" and found in greater numbers.

I have handled about 5 of these including my two shown, and they may vary in length and blade type, but are generally always heavier than the Caucasian shashka.

My two are both quite heavy even to the point of becoming somewhat cumbersome to handle. The hilt styles are the same with simple riveted-through scales. The blades are not particularly well forged. Note that forging flaws abound on the larger example even to the point of partially ruining the chiseled panels at the forte.

Those panels are reminiscent of Persian style cartouches but are actually far cruder by comparison.

Each sword has some form of arsenal mark. The larger one has it chiseled into the forte panel on one side. The smaller example has it inlaid in gold on one side with an Arabic inscription I have not had translated.

Even with some faults, these versions are certainly unique, worth appreciating, and as far as I know, this style is unique to Afghanistan.
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Old 23rd September 2019, 06:09 PM   #11
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Charles,
I am uneasy with the definition of marks as " arsenal" ones. Those were embossed stamps.
Yours are way more interesting: they look like private purchase. There are so many varieties of them, it is almost inavoidable to conclude that all ( or most) of them were made in different workshops.
The " golden" one has a date: 126? ( can't figure the last numeral).
If Hijra, it would be somewhere between 1844-52.
If Jalali, - 1881-90.

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Carlos,

Seems to me the end of the scabbard was broken and a brass chape was added to fix the damage. That's why the scabbard looks much longer than the blade.
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Old 23rd September 2019, 06:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
I am delighted to see these swords getting some attention on the forum! I have been a fan of them for some time, though I realize they fall into the strange collecting category of "rare but not highly sought after". Perhaps it's because Caucasian shashkas are more "blingy" and found in greater numbers.

I have handled about 5 of these including my two shown, and they may vary in length and blade type, but are generally always heavier than the Caucasian shashka.

My two are both quite heavy even to the point of becoming somewhat cumbersome to handle. The hilt styles are the same with simple riveted-through scales. The blades are not particularly well forged. Note that forging flaws abound on the larger example even to the point of partially ruining the chiseled panels at the forte.

Those panels are reminiscent of Persian style cartouches but are actually far cruder by comparison.

Each sword has some form of arsenal mark. The larger one has it chiseled into the forte panel on one side. The smaller example has it inlaid in gold on one side with an Arabic inscription I have not had translated.

Even with some faults, these versions are certainly unique, worth appreciating, and as far as I know, this style is unique to Afghanistan.


Charles, very good shashkas. Thank you! The shashka with a black handle has a blade with an arsenal stamp. Engraving was done later. By the way, it seems to me that the bolster has been repaired. A shashka with a white handle is most likely a private order, which was carried out by the master not from the arsenal. But, I would suggest that this white-handed checker belonged to the officer who ordered the decoration in gold. But this is just my guess.
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Old 24th September 2019, 09:09 AM   #13
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My favorite Afghan shashka. It is made by the private master and does not have any stamps of an arsenal (factory). But I really like her beautiful Persian blade from wootz steel.
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Old 24th September 2019, 11:21 AM   #14
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Mahratt,

This is the nicest one I have seen. It looks to be a Persian mid-19th-century shamshir trade blade(with "AssadAllah" workshop marks and cartouche) made into a shashka. I love it... beautiful quality from top to bottom!
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Old 24th September 2019, 11:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Mahratt,

This is the nicest one I have seen. It looks to be a Persian mid-19th-century shamshir trade blade(with "AssadAllah" workshop marks and cartouche) made into a shashka. I love it... beautiful quality from top to bottom!


Yes Charles
I agree with you. This is the nicest one I have seen.
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Old 24th September 2019, 11:57 AM   #16
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Have you translated the stylized Arabic on the scabbard mounts? Do you think the scabbard is a converted Afghan shamshir scabbard, or "born with" this sword??
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Old 24th September 2019, 12:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Have you translated the stylized Arabic on the scabbard mounts? Do you think the scabbard is a converted Afghan shamshir scabbard, or "born with" this sword??


I would be very grateful if someone would help me with the translation.
In my opinion, the scabbard was made specifically for this shashka. Its handle is deeply hidden in the scabbard, which can be seen in the first photo.
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Old 25th September 2019, 06:12 PM   #18
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Charles,

Alternatively, it was a shamshir to start with, with replaced handle and suspension rings put upside down.
This can explain the slit on the throat in a "wrong" i.e. reverse location. This was very unusual, if not unseen, on pseudo-shashkas, but necessary for highly curved shamshirs.
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Old 25th September 2019, 08:12 PM   #19
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This is a magnificent shashka!! and with this blade even more exciting.
As Charles well notes, this is one of the Persian trade blades with the Assad Allah cartouche and lion pictograph with the calligraphy panel.
These blades are well described in Oliver Pinchot's article of 2002 in "Arms Collecting" (Vo. 40, #1, February).

As Elgood has noted these blades along with Caucasian blades entered the Arabian sphere, as well as their being found in India and other spheres receiving such trade blades. I have a Bedouin sabre with this same blade form, but much shallower curve.

That is what is so unusual and more attractive on this particular example is the more parabolic blade than usually seen with these Persian trade blades. With Ottoman kilij ofcourse, the deep parabolic blade has the slit opening in the throat of the scabbard to allow passage of the blade exiting the scabbard.
It is most unusual to see this on the reverse carry which is a Caucasian affinity for the draw cut in sort of 'quick draw' style.

While a bit of an anomaly, it is fantastic! I have actually never seen a shamshir with one of these blades, at least per se'. It seems most I have seen are in various local hilt forms as noted with use of these trade blades.
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Old 26th September 2019, 06:23 AM   #20
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I tend to agree with Ariel.
This is an original Persian shamshir converted into a Shashka. The scabbard also appears to be the original one, modified for the new purpose.
But, this is my speculation...
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Old 26th September 2019, 08:29 AM   #21
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Marius,
Easy to check. Shamshirs have tangs arising from the middle of the blade. Here it arises from the side. X-Ray the handle and look for additional holes.
I am also a little bit spooked by the 5th pic from the top: the big fitting with the suspension ring seems to be somewhat out of alignment with the leather.
At the end of the day it is immaterial: even if the scabbard and the handle were reworked, it was done during active life of the sword. But still would be interesting: no matter when and how, but the slit at the throat is on the wrong side of the scabbard.
It is not a fake by any standard; at the worst case it was a major modification.

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Old 26th September 2019, 10:57 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
I tend to agree with Ariel.
This is an original Persian shamshir converted into a Shashka. The scabbard also appears to be the original one, modified for the new purpose.
But, this is my speculation...



Marius, I would agree with you. But! As you can see in the first photo, the handle of this shashka is very deeply hidden in scabbard. So I think that the master made these scabbard specifically for this shashka
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Old 26th September 2019, 12:48 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Marius, I would agree with you. But! As you can see in the first photo, the handle of this shashka is very deeply hidden in scabbard. So I think that the master made these scabbard specifically for this shashka


Or the blade was shortened by cutting off the tang (or part of it) and placing the new shashka hilt lower... (this is very common for Japanese swords).

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Old 26th September 2019, 02:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Or the blade was shortened by cutting off the tang (or part of it) and placing the new shashka hilt lower... (this is very common for Japanese swords).



Ok. But why then make scabbard in the upper part oval (in cross section)? This is good for shashka. But it is not necessary for shamshir.
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Old 26th September 2019, 06:28 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Ok. But why then make scabbard in the upper part oval (in cross section)? This is good for shashka. But it is not necessary for shamshir.


Good point!

You are probably right as the scabbard for a shamshir would only have a slot for the blade and would not fit a hilt.
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Old 26th September 2019, 07:32 PM   #26
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While Im no expert on shashkas, nor especially shamshirs, Ive never seen a shamshir with opening slot except on purely Ottoman examples with 'extremely' parabolic (deeply curved) blades ( I have one of these with narrow deeply curved blades with long scabbard slot to accommodate).

That is why I noted this blade seems more curved than the examples I have seen of the ubiquitous 'Assad Allah' blades with lion pictograph (as I mentioned earlier per the Pinchot article of 2002 I cited).

I feel pretty sure this scabbard is made for this shashka for that among other features, for example, aren't the 'reverse' carry rings a distinction of the Caucasian shashkas ?

The points made pertaining to the tang are well made, and I honestly missed that (bonk) . The tang would most certainly need to be lower to accommodate this hilt. For me, more suggestion that the scabbard was made to fit this sword. As Charles has mentioned, the 'arabesque' engraving on the mounts do not seem in character with Persian work (of course) and the nature of the mounts seem more Caucasian, in my perspective.

When Elgood noted Caucasian blades often found in Arab context, it would seem perhaps these Persian trade blades may have entered the mix of blades coming from those regions in trade. If they were indeed present in the Caucusus, is it not possible for one to be mounted in the Caucasian manner accordingly in those regions?

I do not mean to detract from the Afghan attribution here, but honestly am asking these things to better understand the possibilities. I notice also the scabbard chape 'drag', which is a European sabre feature, and Afghans in the latter 19th c. were becoming profoundly Anglicized. A normal shashka scabbard chape would not have a 'drag' in Caucasian context, but perhaps an Afghan would given these circumstances.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 26th September 2019 at 07:52 PM.
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