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Old 10th February 2020, 08:54 AM   #1
ALEX
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Default New/Modern Uzbek Pchak

Here is newly made Uzbek knife (pchak). I suspect some parts being shipped from other regions, like walrus handle is most certainly from Russia, the blade could also be from elsewhere (India?), the ladder mechanical pattern is quite nice, it is forged and heat-treated but of mass-production quality and purely decorative, the scabbard is well made and signed on the back. Can someone translate it?
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Old 10th February 2020, 09:04 AM   #2
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Walrus bone was a material that was always (in the 18th and 19th centuries) brought to Central Asia from Russia. This is normal. But the shape of the blade does not quite correspond to the traditional shape of pchaks ...
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Old 10th February 2020, 09:31 AM   #3
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Mahratt, an excellent observation. You're right. I guess this is just a (hunting?) knife with the Uzbek-styled scabbard; they fit well but could be a mismatch too.
Have you seen similar? The scabbard is Uzbek but I am curious if the knife is made in Russia, Uzbekistan, or elsewhere?
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Old 10th February 2020, 09:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
Mahratt, an excellent observation. You're right. I guess this is just a (hunting?) knife with the Uzbek-styled scabbard; they fit well but could be a mismatch too.
Have you seen similar? The scabbard is Uzbek but I am curious if the knife is made in Russia, Uzbekistan, or elsewhere?


I think the knife is made in Uzbekistan. And you're right, I think this is a hunting knife, in the Uzbek style. In my opinion, the blade is made in India. Recently, my friend was in Uzbekistan and took pictures of knives on the market for me. There were a lot of blades of Damascus steel, in my opinion, made in India.
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Old 10th February 2020, 10:02 AM   #5
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Mahratt, Thanks! This crossed my mind also. Mechanically, the blade does look Indian, although tiger-eye/raindrop are more common Indian patterns, and this one is more 'ladder-oriented'. The shape of the blade is also not typical Indian, and it is also heat-treated, hardened and sharp, whereas most modern Indian made blades are soft and dull. I thought it was made elsewhere as it does not look Uzbek blade as well as pattern.
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Old 10th February 2020, 04:01 PM   #6
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Default something similar

I have something similar with an 8 inch blade. I use it when on camping breaks and cooking on an open fire. I bought it from a sales base in the UK but they are hand made in Pakistan I believe. Although present day production, I would consider them worthy of discussion as ethnographic knives even if some of the styles are rather fanciful others are not. They are good quality and hand made. Mine gets good use preparing fire wood beside food prep. The European and USA custom knife makers seem to hold them in some distain. I do not know why as they are good and affordable compared to the prices wanted by custom knife makers.
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Old 10th February 2020, 04:02 PM   #7
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Double posting...

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Old 10th February 2020, 04:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
Mahratt, an excellent observation. You're right. I guess this is just a (hunting?) knife with the Uzbek-styled scabbard; they fit well but could be a mismatch too.
Have you seen similar? The scabbard is Uzbek but I am curious if the knife is made in Russia, Uzbekistan, or elsewhere?


I doubt it's a mismatch. I think I see abalone inlay on the bolster as well as the scabbard.
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Old 10th February 2020, 04:07 PM   #9
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This is thought of as an ethnographic knife.

http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthrea...=nepalese+bowie
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Old 10th February 2020, 04:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
Mahratt, Thanks! This crossed my mind also. Mechanically, the blade does look Indian, although tiger-eye/raindrop are more common Indian patterns, and this one is more 'ladder-oriented'. The shape of the blade is also not typical Indian, and it is also heat-treated, hardened and sharp, whereas most modern Indian made blades are soft and dull. I thought it was made elsewhere as it does not look Uzbek blade as well as pattern.


Indian workshops make knife blades of any imaginable form these days. So do some workshops in Pakistan.

This blade is of modern, bowie shape and does not match any ethnographic blade I know (the closest match would be some old English Sheffield Bowie knives from around 1900). And the fact that it was hand made and has an ethnographically inspired scabbard does not make it an ethnographic knife. It is a nice and collectible modern hunting knife, but definitely not an ethnographic Uzbek pichak!

Just Google for images "antique Sheffield bowie knife" and you'll find many with very similar blade.

In response to Tim's message, I can say that I had quite a few knives with similar blades but the mechanical qualities of the blades were pathetically poor... incomparably worse than my stainless steel Chinese kitchen knives...

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Old 10th February 2020, 04:18 PM   #11
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I have not found that with my knife but I know some are terrible.
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Old 10th February 2020, 04:35 PM   #12
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Another modern ethno folding knife with a 7 inch stainless steel blade. As good as any Greek knife for boning out or filleting fish.
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Old 10th February 2020, 05:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
I think the knife is made in Uzbekistan. And you're right, I think this is a hunting knife, in the Uzbek style. In my opinion, the blade is made in India. Recently, my friend was in Uzbekistan and took pictures of knives on the market for me. There were a lot of blades of Damascus steel, in my opinion, made in India.

I completely agree with mahratt.
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Old 10th February 2020, 06:11 PM   #14
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E-bay is full of them: finished one, with or without scabbards, or just bare lades. Asking price from $7.99 to $10.99, or $92 for eight of them. Most are made in Pakistan, some are sold from the US, but the source of the blades is not mentioned.
Since I never owned one, I cannot comment on their quality. But older sources specifically mention very soft steel of the original p'chaks: sharpening them was a piece of cake, in the field any stone would do the job, at home or in chaj-khane ( Tea house) it was done against the bottom of piala ( ceramic teacup).
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Old 10th February 2020, 09:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Walrus bone was a material that was always (in the 18th and 19th centuries) brought to Central Asia from Russia. This is normal. But the shape of the blade does not quite correspond to the traditional shape of pchaks ...


I agree 100% with mahratt!!!
Nothing to do with Uzbekistan or Tajikistan
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Old 10th February 2020, 09:50 PM   #16
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These are from this region
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Old 10th February 2020, 10:12 PM   #17
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Yes, these are traditional locally-made blades.

However, I would not discard Alexís hunting knife. It is emphatically not a fake : the blade is far too obvious to suspect bad intentions of the master. He just made a hunting/utility knife using traditional decorations and the best looking blade he could find. Whether its quality in on par with the decor can be ascertained only with usage. Hope it is good.
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Old 11th February 2020, 08:37 AM   #18
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I agree, this knife was made to look in Uzbek style. The only blade is not of Uzbek form, and this only feature makes it non-ethnographic.

Marius, would you agree if the blade be of proper pchak form it'd be ethnographic knife?

Here's another blade from the same source but in distinctively Uzbek pchak shape, the rest is identical. Granted, this blade would make a better match with the scabbard, making it a modern ethnographic pchak. With the present knife, its a hybrid of hunting blade in pchak fittings.

Tim, thanks for posting your knife. similar pattern and form indeed.
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Old 11th February 2020, 09:18 AM   #19
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The inscription, judging by the mistakes and the hand, was done somewhere where the Arabic/Persian/Urdu alphabet is not in use anymore. I would not have thought it was done in India or Pakistan, where they would know how to spell names correctly and where they would not have used this kind of hand. The inscription could have been added later, of course. My guess is that it's supposed to read

((قسم وستا [کذا] (قاسم/قسیم استا(د

'Qasim Usta'

'Usta' is short for 'Ustad', meaning 'Master'
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Old 11th February 2020, 09:31 AM   #20
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Thank You, Kwiatek
This confirms the scabbard was made in Uzbekistan, as I was told it was made by a local Uzbek master, who's not native Arabic speaker of course.

The knife was also made by the same person or workshop, but not sure if they forge the blades locally or get them from India/Pakistan.
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Old 11th February 2020, 09:50 AM   #21
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You are absolutely right, Kwiatek! In the former Soviet Central Asia, Arabic graphics remained only in religious life. "Usta" (sounds like "usto") is a respectful appeal to the master knifemaker (in Uzbek "pichoqchi").
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Old 11th February 2020, 12:44 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
I agree, this knife was made to look in Uzbek style. The only blade is not of Uzbek form, and this only feature makes it non-ethnographic.

Marius, would you agree if the blade be of proper pchak form it'd be ethnographic knife?

Here's another blade from the same source but in distinctively Uzbek pchak shape, the rest is identical. Granted, this blade would make a better match with the scabbard, making it a modern ethnographic pchak. With the present knife, its a hybrid of hunting blade in pchak fittings.

Tim, thanks for posting your knife. similar pattern and form indeed.


I also collect modern knives but I do not appreciate modern "ethnic" knives fitted with blades mass produced somewhere else.

But this is how I see things with modern made knives, and should not influence you too much.

After all, even in the past blades were mass produced in one country, then fitted in an ethnic sword in other country. And you can find this almost evrywhere: Indian firangi swords; Turkish shamshirs with Persian blades; Scottish broadswords with "Adria Farara" German blades; native American knives with English Sheffield blades; Moroccan koumyia knives with French blades; etc.

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Old 12th February 2020, 06:44 AM   #23
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Good point, Marius, Totally agree with you.

Here's another vintage/modern Uzbek knife produced in Shahrihon region.

Kwiatek, please correct me if I am wrong, the inscriptions on the blade and scabbard read 'Shahrihon', right? I think the inscription on the scabbard was also done by not native Arabic speaker.
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Old 21st February 2020, 08:53 PM   #24
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Yes it says Shahr-i Khan (Shahrikhon in modern Uzbek). It is spelt correctly on the scabbard and incorrectly on the blade. Again, that kind of mistake might indicate it was made relatively recently. Itís not about the Arabic language per se but about the form of the Arabic alphabet that was used for writing Uzbek and other Turkic languages in Central Asia until the 1920s, when it was replaced with Cyrillic.
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Old 21st February 2020, 09:13 PM   #25
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Please correct me if I am wrong.
Identical words in Uzbek and Tajik sound somewhat different: Master in Uzbek- Usta, in Tajik -Usto. Same with Kard and Kord.
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Old 21st February 2020, 09:22 PM   #26
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Yes, correct. Thatís a question of pronunciation not spelling though. There is an actual spelling mistake in the way Shahrikhon/Shahrikhan is spelt on the blade - itís spelt wrong kind of letter h. Itís شهرخان as spelt on the scabbard, not شحرخان as spelt on the blade
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Old 23rd February 2020, 02:19 PM   #27
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Kwiatek,
Many thanks for your help, as always!

Marius,
Here is photo of the subject set with two knifes produced by the same workshop. One is of general 'hunting/European' form and another is of typical Uzbek pchak design. These knifes were produced in Uzbekistan, including the blades. Of course, they are mass produced, just like they were in the past... the smith forges the blades en mass, another 'Usto' carves handles, another makes scabbards and put all together... So technically, these knifes can qualify as ethnographic, but I am still unsure and must agree that variations of non-traditional damascus patterns and different blade forms set them apart from the traditional 'norm'. According to the master, this is "to show his artistic genius by blending modern and traditional", this is a common cultural trend, and certainly not to deceive or fake the original, and this makes it a 'good art' to me.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 03:03 PM   #28
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I agree that it' "good art" as well as ethnographic; however, it seems to me that there is still a quantum leap between the culture that created the kards we've seen and collected, and the current culture and its exemplars.

Much of the "draw" of ethnological edged weaponry, for me at least, is in the connection between what was, and is no more, and myself, looking back.

The idea that objects are a nexus which creates a link between disparate individuals over a distance of space and time is, of course, magical thinking. Yet it it exists, and is undeniably a powerful force. I've chafed at the reality that an old pocketknife, for example, can attract the attention of enough individuals that its value to this group is increased a hundredfold because it was once held by Lord Byron, rather than some nameless Greek gentleman.
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