Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 9th September 2019, 02:18 AM   #1
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,687
Default Old Khyber

The title was deliberately shortened; the full version would sound something like " The oldest dated Khyber I can recall"
The date is acid etched on the blade: 229H ( 1229, of course), i.e. 1813 in Gregorian.

The handle was damaged, and the bolster and tangband are made of brass.

Any criticisms or doubts?
Attached Images
     
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 05:11 AM   #2
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 795
Default

My regrets, but most of the Khyber knives, whose blades are decorated in this style, have been decorated in the last 20-30 years ... It is a known fact that Afghans did not decorate their weapons with images of people and animals (although they could use Persian or Indian weapons with such images). But on the weapons that the Afghans themselves made not images of people and animals there. In the last 20-30 years, a lot of "improved" old Afghan weapons and modern souvenirs for tourists whose blades are decorated with images of animals of different quality have appeared on the antique market.
I would believe the authenticity of the inscription, if it was similar to what I attach in the photo - short and without images of people and animals.

Although, anything can be. Once in a private collection I saw a khyber knife with a star of David roughly cut on a blade. The collector sincerely believed that this was a rare Khyber knife of an Afghan Jew

P.S. By the way, it seems to me, or does the saber in the hands of the rider (in the image on the blade) - have an elman (the wider part of the saber is closer to the tip of the blade)?
Attached Images
  

Last edited by mahratt : 9th September 2019 at 09:14 AM.
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 09:39 AM   #3
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,656
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
P.S. By the way, it seems to me, or does the saber in the hands of the rider (in the image on the blade) - have an elman (the wider part of the saber is closer to the tip of the blade)?


No yelman, it's the horizontal line that creates this yelman effect or affect as you wish...


Acid etching is an old technique and Persians did a lot of acid etching on their weapons and armours, including animal and humans figures... Afghans and Persians are neighbours so i don't see any problem to have a rider on the blade... What the text is saying??
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 09:58 AM   #4
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 795
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Acid etching is an old technique and Persians did a lot of acid etching on their weapons and armours, including animal and humans figures... Afghans and Persians are neighbours so i don't see any problem to have a rider on the blade... What the text is saying??


Persians are Shiites, and Afghans, if I am not mistaken, are Sunnis. And the Sunnits are forbidden to make images of animals and humans...

But if I am wrong, correct me please. Unfortunately, I do not know examples of images of a person or animals on the blades of an old Afghan weapon
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 10:23 AM   #5
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,656
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Persians are Shiites, and Afghans, if I am not mistaken, are Sunnis. And the Sunnits are forbidden to make images of animals and humans...

But if I am wrong, correct me please. Unfortunately, I do not know examples of images of a person or animals on the blades of an old Afghan weapon


You are right.
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 10:55 AM   #6
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,687
Default

As per Wikipedia, somewhere between 5-20% of Afghanis are Shia.
Those are the so-called Twelvers " Farsiwan" Hazara , living in the western provinces of Herat and Farah. Other Twelvers are Bayat and Qizilbash communities. There are also Nizari Ismailis in Badakhshan and Sayeeds of Kayan. And let's not forger Sufi Afghanis.

Sunni Islam forbids images of Allah, Muhammed and/or major Prophets, but frowns upon other living imagery without explicitly banning it. Although the so-called Sword of David ( Daud) , an early Islamic sword from the collection in Topkapi Palace carries an image of a human figure with distinct facial features.
Only Wahhabis and Salafis ban images of anything else, but those are of much more modern appearance and concentrate on the far east of the country.

Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country, and painting Afghanis as uniform community and uniformly Sunnis is superficial.

Perhaps, this could serve as an ethnographic sign of the origin of this Knyber.

Last edited by ariel : 9th September 2019 at 11:10 AM.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 11:16 AM   #7
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 795
Default

It would be interesting to look at the Ottoman weapons of the 19th century, on which there are images of man and animals. After all, the Ottomans are not Wahhabis, if I understand correctly? Of course, we are not talking about the use by the Ottomans of Persian blades, on which were originally images of animals.

I understand that this will not be entirely by topic, but I just want to learn more from more experienced hobby colleagues.

And it’s even more interesting to see a really old Khyber knife in good condition, on the blade of which images will be made in such a technique as on the subject that we are discussing.

Marius wrote very accurately:
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Acid etching MAY be an "old" (please define what you mean by "old") technique, but Persians did NOT use it before 19th century, and even then for very specific and few items (mostly decorative, historicism - known as Qajar revival - blades decorated with religious texts).
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 10:12 AM   #8
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,294
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur

Acid etching is an old technique and Persians did a lot of acid etching on their weapons and armours, including animal and humans figures... Afghans and Persians are neighbours so i don't see any problem to have a rider on the blade... What the text is saying??


Acid etching MAY be an "old" (please define what you mean by "old") technique, but Persians did NOT use it before 19th century, and even then for very specific and few items (mostly decorative, historicism - known as Qajar revival - blades decorated with religious texts).

Afghans... even less so.

In my oppinion, any acid etched Afghan blade, raises serious concerns about its autenthicity as a genuine traditional weapon and points into the direction of souvenirs market.

My two cents.

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 9th September 2019 at 10:31 AM.
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 10:17 AM   #9
RAMBA
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 56
Default

overall condition and etching is an issue for me.
RAMBA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 12:00 PM   #10
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,687
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Acid etching MAY be an "old" (please define what you mean by "old") technique, but Persians did NOT use it before 19th century, and even then for very specific and few items (mostly decorative, historicism - known as Qajar revival - blades decorated with religious texts).

Afghans... even less so.

In my oppinion, any acid etched Afghan blade, raises serious concerns about its autenthicity as a genuine traditional weapon and points into the direction of souvenirs market.

My two cents.


You are correct: my antennae were twitching :-) and this is why I posted it here.
However, I have serious doubts about dating it to the late 20th century souvenir manufacture: the handle on a " souvenir" sword sold to a Western visitor to be hung on the wall was unlikely to be so severely damaged and deep patination of the tang suggests some significant age ( compare to the tangs of WWII period Japanese swords ). The manner of profuse etching is very similar to the Qajar " revival" swords of the 19th and many " Afghani" blades were imported from Persia (and India). The overall condition does not bother me very much: we have multiple swords of the 17-18th centuries in just as good or even better shape. Spurious dating is a distinct possibility, but I see no reason why this khyber could not have been made in the 19th century, although later than 1813, coincidentally with the Persian " revival" swords, say, 1830-1880. Any objective arguments against it?

Last edited by ariel : 9th September 2019 at 12:24 PM.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 12:20 PM   #11
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 795
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
You are correct: my antennae were twitching :-) and this is why I posted it here.
However, I have serious doubts about dating it to the late 20th century souvenir manufacture: the handle on a " souvenir" sword sold to a Western visitor to be hung on the wall was unlikely to be so severely damaged and deep patination of the tang suggests some significant age ( compare to the tangs of WWII period Japanese swords ). The manner of profuse etching is very similar to the Qajar " revival" swords of the 19th and many " Afghani" blades were imported from Persia (and India). The overall condition does not bother me very much: we have multiple swords of the 17-18th centuries in just as good or even better shape. Spurious dating is a distinct possibility, but I see no reason why this khyber could not have been made in the 19th century, although later than 1813. Any objective arguments against it?


1) We see the "classic" Afghan Khyber knife. By the way, no one says that he is not real. This is a authentic Khyber knife for the 19th century or early 20th century. The truth is not in very good condition. However, there are no elements that would tell us about its Persian or Indian origin (usually these elements are easy to recognize).
2) Sellers of antique weapons, souvenirs and "upgraded" old weapons in Afghanistan are not considered a problem if their goods are damaged. On the contrary, for them this is an occasion to say that this is an old item. Unfortunately, the times of Egerton, Moser and Prince Saltykov, when you could buy very good items in India and Central Asia, are long gone.
3) Using such a technique for decorating a blade for typical Afghan khyber knives is absolutely not typical. But, miracles do happen. However, I would like to see analogues from Afghanistan.
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 10:15 AM   #12
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,294
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
The title was deliberately shortened; the full version would sound something like " The oldest dated Khyber I can recall"
The date is acid etched on the blade: 229H ( 1229, of course), i.e. 1813 in Gregorian.

The handle was damaged, and the bolster and tangband are made of brass.

Any criticisms or doubts?


Hello Ariel,

You normally have very sensitive antennas.

Didn't they start twitching?!
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 01:36 PM   #13
Ren Ren
Member
 
Ren Ren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Russia, Moscow
Posts: 103
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
The title was deliberately shortened; the full version would sound something like " The oldest dated Khyber I can recall"
The date is acid etched on the blade: 229H ( 1229, of course), i.e. 1813 in Gregorian.

The handle was damaged, and the bolster and tangband are made of brass.

Any criticisms or doubts?

The presented etching sample causes me great doubts about the dating of 1813. Very big doubts.
Ren Ren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 03:08 PM   #14
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,294
Default

What is certain is that we can speculate ad nausea whether the blade was etched at the time of manufacture or much later.

Then, we can speculate if it was etched in the 19th century or 30 years ago.

We will NEVER be able to establish with 100% certainty any of the above mentioned asumptions.

But, based on the shape of the blade and amount of corosion on the tang we can presume with a reasonable degree of certainty this is a regular Afghan khyber blade from 19th to early 20th century.

The presence of the etching, however, is absolutely atypical for the Afghan khyber swords and this is also reasonably certain.

Then, the blade can be
1. with an original etching, making it an exception/curiosity;
2. with a later etching to make it more attractive.

Out of these two alternatives, I would choose the second as I consider it much more likely than the first one, since the I do not really believe in miracles (but as Mahratt said "miracles do happen").

PS: How much would this sword fetch if it weren't etched?!
How much could it fetch as an "exceptionally rare and dated" Khyber sword?!
The damaged hilt would enhance the impression of authenticity...

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 9th September 2019 at 07:25 PM.
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 05:12 PM   #15
Bob A
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 255
Default

Given that I have never seen a Khyber blade with etching of this nature, I too would incline steeply toward an old blade, augmented later.

I've grown suspicious of weapons that suddenly appear presenting unusual or unique features.
Bob A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 10:23 PM   #16
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,658
Default

This to me is clearly a 19th c. Khyber knife (salwar) which has apparently been acid etched (as astutely noted by Bob) at a much later date, my guess would be late 19th early 20th.
While we know these swords were keenly used throughout Khyber regions, they certainly diffused into many congruent regions which were all part of the Northwest frontiers later becoming Afghanistan.

The acid etching always tempts many to classify the decoration as souvenir oriented, which of course many examples of tulwar. kukri and other Indian forms do carry in many cases.
In this case however (and most unusually) this example has decoration which resembles the kind of figure often seen on weapons of the Kalash people of the Chitral district and areas of Nuristan. These animist tribes have in many cases nominally adopted Islam, which may account for the Hegira date, and in my opinion most probably (if accurate) represents something commemorative.

It seems the character of the figures used in the decoration of these people is much like the crowned figure mounted in this motif.
The Kalash are a very much endangered (culturally) people who were known as the Kafirs (as described by Kipling) and their regions known as Kafiristan before invaded by Abdur Rahman Khan in 1890s. These areas became known as Nuristan and remain as part of the provinces of now Afghanistan.

While the Kalash are known for use of the 'jamadhar katari' , a dagger described in Egerton and often discussed here, they also use varied swords and long hafted axes resembling the Arabian jers.

While it is remarkable to see a Khyber decorated in this way, it is not surprising that one via various means of contact, found its way into this most unusual context.

Entirely speculative of course, but I find the etched figure and motif compellingly like that I have seen in the material culture of these people.
They were written on by George Scott Robertson "Kafirs of the Hindu Kush" (1896), and I have a reference from Germany by this title about 20 years ago but not on hand at the moment.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th September 2019, 10:34 PM   #17
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 795
Default

Hello Jim!

I enjoyed reading your version. It is very interesting. Thank you very much!

But, tell me, please, if we do not follow the path of “speculation” (which of course is very attractive) do you know the weapons of Kalash (kafirs) whose blades were decorated in the same style as the Khyber knife under discussion?
Personally, such examples are unknown to me.

Last edited by mahratt : 9th September 2019 at 10:51 PM.
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 04:53 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.