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 20th September 2019, 09:19 AM   #1
MForde
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 36
Default Identifying Modern Wootz

Hello all,

With modern-made wootz steel (or, as this is such a complex subject, a better term might be modern-made wootz-looking steel) now being made in the West and India how is everyone protecting themselves from the reproductions and fakes that must already be on the market? We have many examples, with provenance, of original wootz blades that are still in pristine condition so we cannot always use that factor as an indicator and artificial ageing of high carbon steel is an easy process to undertake. I'm curious as to how us antique weaponry collectors will adapt.

Matt
MForde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th September 2019, 10:16 AM   #2
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 2,694
Default

Hi Matt,

There are two schools of thought about discussing the faking of weapons. One says that we should know as much as possible and should discuss these issues openly so that collectors can be better informed. The other says we need to not tell the fakers how to make better fakes, and therefore should share our thoughts selectively with just those we know are legit.

Almost certainly there are people who visit these pages to get ideas about what weapons to copy and how to make their new pieces look genuine and old. Folks can browse these pages without becoming a member, and some of them may be fakers of edged weapons. However, many of our members were casual visitors before eventually deciding to sign up and participate, so not every lurker has nefarious intent!

Using the PM function or email with other members is a good way to communicate if you have an item that particularly concerns you, and you want someone to give an opinion about it being real or fake.

Personally, I'm in the camp of not making it any easier for fakers to fool people and steal their money. There are some excellent resources and references on this site's static pages, as well as numerous discussions about wootz on the forum. Some of these are good "defensive" tools that can help collectors spot the obvious fakes. And remember it's not just the steel, but the hilt, scabbard, inscriptions, etc., that go into assessing whether an object is genuine. Broad knowledge helps and is perhaps the best defense against a faker.

Ian
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th September 2019, 11:51 AM   #3
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,683
Default

Modern knives made out of crucible steel do not even approach the old wootz-y pattern and nobody except for Nonikashvili succeeded in forging a modern long wootz blade.
The metallurgical secret of wootz is no secret anymore. Modern metallurgists cracked it open.
The real secret is a process of smithing: how to force the dendrites to get organized in a beautiful pattern? Here scientific methods are powerless: we are talking about minute tricks , such as temperature, force and directions of hammer blows etc. We have irretrievably lost this information formerly transmitted orally and practically in a father-to-son manner.
I might not worry about forgeries. One glance at the blade is likely to be sufficient to identify modern manufacture. Machine-generated music is good for the elevators: it cannot compose Bach’s Prelude in E-moll.
Anosov got all the technical details from his “industrial spies” , but still, his blades were just poor imitations of true Persian or Indian wootz.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th September 2019, 09:59 PM   #4
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,288
Default

Ariel said it quite well.

To illustrate this, I include a link to the best modern wootz patterns I have seen, made by the Russian bladesmith Ivan Kirpichev.

In the first blade you can see he managed to reproduce the Kirk Narduban and the "rose" patterns...
... yet the watering pattern is easily distiguishable from the antique ones.

And he told me that he doesn't manage to get this quality of patterning with consistency.

https://knifeandcraft.com/en/ivan-kirpichev
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th September 2019, 11:35 PM   #5
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,683
Default J

Kirk narduban and “Rose” are easy: they are just superficial embellishments. The blade is notched either across its width or as a rounded point, then forged, polished and etched. Notching disturbs the architecture of dendrites, and... voila!
The real trick is to obtain a sophisticated pattern on the rest of the blade.


This is why I am always amused when I read some notes about sorts of wootz:
“ The highest is Kirk narduban, after that there are Kara taban, Kara Khorasan and the lowest , - Sham”
Kirk and rose can be made on any variety of wootz and I have seen them on a lowly Sham:-) And, BTW, some people claim that the “ non-pretty” Sham and the barely recognizable Indian” salt and pepper” one are mechanically the best.
The “ beautiful” ones broke on impact and there is a case when an expensive blade fell on the floor and shattered to smithereens

Last edited by ariel : 21st September 2019 at 04:44 AM.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st September 2019, 03:49 AM   #6
RobT
Member
 
RobT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 238
Default Skill is Necessary

Ariel,

I agree with you completely. Forging the old wootz blades was a matter of learned skill. I am a fairly good finish carpenter but even if I were given exhaustively complete plans plus the best of hand and mechanical tools, I am sure that I couldn't make a Chippendale chair to match those made by the old masters. Not only did they do their work with hand tools only, they were able to make a good living in that labor intensive environment. To be able to do this, one needs a long and diligent apprenticeship under an old master who not only molds your hand/eye skills but also your mindset.

Sincerely,
RobT
RobT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th September 2019, 09:40 AM   #7
MForde
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 36
Default

Thank you all for your replies. I think I need to see more examples as the antique wootz I've seen varies greatly in pattern and so I'd love to see some visual comparisons between old and new wootz (whether in PM or posted here).
MForde 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 05:17 AM.


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.