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Old 17th December 2020, 06:19 AM   #1
Battara
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Default Restored Balkan Yataghan That Needs Translation

Greetings folks!

I got this yataghan in horrible condition (but I could afford it for the first time) to replace the one that was stolen from me years ago.

Here are pictures of the original condition:
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Last edited by Battara : 17th December 2020 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 17th December 2020, 06:24 AM   #2
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Here are pictures of my restoration attempt. Lots of hard work and the learning curve was a sheer cliff! I had to teach myself how to do Turkish silver filigree (which is not on Youtube nor is anyone teaching it ). It was a lot of trial and error (more error) and I had to create my own techniques. I also restored the wood scabbard top and the leather with velvet. Finally I had to re-inlay the missing brass on both sides of the blade and I had to do a little grinding and polishing to get rid of the areas of the blade that were beaten up. This took me 8 months.
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Old 17th December 2020, 06:26 AM   #3
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These are the main sections (circled in yellow) that I made from scratch:
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Old 17th December 2020, 06:27 AM   #4
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More pictures:
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Old 17th December 2020, 06:31 AM   #5
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Finally here is the inscription that needs to be translated.

Yes the blade is laminiated. And yes that is a tugra, but of which sultan?
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Old 17th December 2020, 07:06 AM   #6
mariusgmioc
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Absolutely amazing work! Congratulations!
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Old 17th December 2020, 10:17 AM   #7
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That is fantastic work! Doing the filigree from scratch must feel really rewarding.
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Old 17th December 2020, 12:23 PM   #8
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Impressive! That is a stunner.
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Old 17th December 2020, 12:39 PM   #9
Ian
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Thumbs up Great job -- museum-worthy resto work

Jose, I think this is some of your best work to date! No, I would say the best. So much was missing and damaged, and so many different techniques to manage. Wow ...
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Old 17th December 2020, 01:01 PM   #10
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Hi Battara,


Wonderful work - Congratulations!

Cheers
Chris
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Old 17th December 2020, 01:21 PM   #11
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Cool - You have skills.
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Old 17th December 2020, 01:24 PM   #12
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Really nice
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Old 17th December 2020, 05:37 PM   #13
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WOW!!! Outstanding Restoration ! Congratulations. Real Talent.

Rick
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Old 17th December 2020, 07:23 PM   #14
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Default Restored Balkan Yataghan That Needs Translation

beautiful restoration.
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Old 17th December 2020, 07:28 PM   #15
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I agree
Please tell us how you worked the silver and where you find the spare pieces!
Thanks
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Old 17th December 2020, 07:36 PM   #16
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Jose, not only is your execution flawless, but you have obviously also spent a significant amount of time and effort studying other examples, as your work is true to originals in character. I admit that if you had just shown us the completed scabbard, I would have only guessed that the velvet is replacement, but would not have been able to tell about the silver parts.
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Old 17th December 2020, 07:41 PM   #17
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Truly remarkable, meticulous and authentic piece of work. One could say that the learning experience was its own reward, but obviously the real reward is the yataghan, restored to former glory. Well done!
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Old 17th December 2020, 11:52 PM   #18
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Bravo, Bovinias!
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Old 18th December 2020, 01:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
I agree
Please tell us how you worked the silver and where you find the spare pieces!
Thanks

Well, the top part of the silver work I used patterned wire, wire I triple twisted myself, and used sheet silver underneath.

Regarding the bottom of the filigree section, well, I used sheet silver and soldered pattern wire on top. When it comes to the silver pieces, I had to make those from scratch. Let me explain. I had to make different sizes of individual little silver balls. Then I had to make twisted silver wire rings of different sizes. The diamond shaped silver pieces I cut from silver sheet. Taking square wire and twisted wire I made and soldered the "petals" of the large flowers and then the balls and wire rings on top. I also soldered the rings onto the sheet then placed the other components on top. In honesty, I did use some balled beads and some pre-twisted wire rings in some parts, but the majority I had to make by hand.

The big catch to this work, besides patience and time to make every single component (with a couple of exceptions), is making sure that the components are completely soldered without melting the pieces, or melting holes into the sheet beneath. So the right heat and type of flame applied is crucial. And finally the type of solder is important too.

TVV - you are right. I did a lot of research not only in style of Balkan (Focha Bosnia to be specific) but also in comparing Russian, Yemeni, and Mexican filigree work. Yemeni was the closest, but no one is demonstrating, instructing, or showing how to do Turkish (or traditional Bosnian) filigree work. So I had to also create my own techniques.

Bob A - you are right in that I also took this as an opportunity to learn to make filigree, something I had no idea how to do originally.

I always want to increase and improve my skills. Now I may add filigree jewelry to my sales. Nice since I also taught myself chasing, repousse, soldering, wood carving, and metal inlaying into steel.

Thank you folks!

Is there anyone who can translate the inlay inscription?
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Old 19th December 2020, 02:12 AM   #20
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Jose,

Your silver-working skills are just getting better. I would like to ask you about a feature that you did not have to replicate but is interesting to me technically. Attached is a copy of one of your pics that shows (*) two strips of what appear to be made of plaited silver wires/thin silver strips. Have you done anything like this yourself?

Also, on the inlaid sections of the blade, I can see small "knicks" in the base metal which seem to hold the inlaid metal in place. Were these features present in the original blade, or are these part of your inlay technique? I don't recall seeing them on Ottoman pieces before.

Regards,

Ian
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Old 19th December 2020, 09:43 AM   #21
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May I back up all the wow's and oh's and other compliments.

What a job. Good to read that it took you a very long time, otherwise I would turn green with envy

Wonderfull piece btw.

I am especially intrigued by the inlay restoration.
Where did you find tips/instructions to do this ?
I have tried this with pure gold on an old spear head approx a year ago and it was a dissaster.
a few milimeters would hold, and if I progressed, the piece at the start would curl up again.

Maybe I should indeed retry it with brass.

Anyway. congrats. cool looking piece. Happy to see this in these sort of boring lock down times.

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 19th December 2020, 10:54 AM   #22
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To the right of the tughra

عمل صالح

“Work of Salih”

The tughra itself is an owner’s inscription, probably

صاحب حسین

“The owner, Husayn”

There is an extra letter in there, so it might possibly also be

صاحب حسن [ابن] حسین

“The owner, Hasan [son of] Husayn”

To the left of the tughra, a Turkish phrase very common on yataghans

بجاق الده گرک دلده سبحان

“The knife should be in one’s hand, praise of God in one’s heart”

The word for knife here is bıcak
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Old 19th December 2020, 01:58 PM   #23
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Thumbs up

Thank you Kwiatek again!
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Old 20th December 2020, 01:23 AM   #24
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W W! Thank you folks! And great questions.

Kwiatek: many thanks for the translation.

Ian: Well I have tried this plaiting technique before and to do what they did here is more than plaiting but not weaving either. Also the inside is hollow, so not sure if they cut it in half, or what. Wish I had an answer for you.

Regarding the "nicks" in the inlay - that's original. With my techniques I don't do that. However, I have seen this on different Ottoman and other Middle Eastern inlaid blades before. It is the method of striking hard when engraving, especially when making curves with a big chisel. These are the hammer strikes as the large chisel digs into the blade. Then with the inlaying of softer metal, the softer metal fills into the hammer/chisel marks. I guess this method can have the effect of keeping the inlay more stable by gripping it better. This is my guess anyway, though not my method.

Asomotif: Inlay is not that easy. Looks and sounds simple but it is not. Many times one would only make the grooves and then inlay, but what you talked about will happen or they pop out. There is a whole process and many tricks that would take too long to explain here. I have been doing this for years after lots of research and study. Even some Philippine swords with original inlay had the inlay pop out. I have had to improve and modify techniques to where now I can't even get my own inlay out (accidentally inlaid a blade with some bright brass instead of silver ). So don't be down on yourself - sounds easy but I garantee you it is NOT! BTW - don't use brass if the original is in gold - brass is stiffer and much much harder to work than gold (as well as being harder than sterling). Only thing harder than brass inlay is steel inlay!

NOTE: some little tiny areas of inlay I did not attempt in fear that I would dislodge the rest of the original inlay - something that can happen easily (and does if not careful - I know from experience )

Oh BTW - I was wrong. It took me not 8 months but 5 months to restore it (double checked the auction date).

Last edited by Battara : 20th December 2020 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 30th December 2020, 07:46 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I had to teach myself how to do Turkish silver filigree (which is not on Youtube nor is anyone teaching it ). It was a lot of trial and error (more error) and I had to create my own techniques.


Respect and a deep bow to you for your filigree work, especially as it was autodidact /self-taught


Filigree, an art found mostly by seafaring nations; the Dutch coast (Sealand), Portugal and moreover mostly the Mediterranean.
Especially in their traditional ( female and wedding) jewelry of which I am a SME ever since I met the gold and silversmiths when I lived in Morocco 1980/81 and later in the former Yugoslavia 1985/87.
Hence also their decoration of arms ( cold arms and later guns; pistols and rifles) show these magnificent pieces of art..
An art which sadly has been replaced more and more by machine made items based upon costs reductions and taste ( fashion changes) during the last decades.

Nevertheless some good news for you: there still are some "majstor" (Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian for master ; originating from the ancient system of apprentice journeyman master) in Bosnia and Dalmatia (Southern Croatia) who still master the art and are able to assist and advise you.

In Sarajevo: I can advice you to look for them in the old town center called Baščaršija and in and around the Ferhadija street. Be sure to check you are dealing with a Bosnian master and not some trader....

In Dubrovnik you also can find them in the old town between the city walls (used to film GOT) in the Stradun ( mainstreet)

If they hear what you did with this yataghan and show them your pics, I am sure you will get all the support & info you need, even more for future endeavours and projects ....Good luck !
or send me a PM and I am more than happy to oblige

Last edited by gp : 30th December 2020 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 30th December 2020, 11:05 PM   #26
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How wonderful GP! I'm so glad it is not a dead art. I have always admired their work, which I find more challenging than modern Russian, etc. filigree, though their filigree is very good.

Thank you for your offer of help and may just take you up on that.

And again thank you - all of my metal work and restoration work is self-taught. Not easy but I never had the money nor time to apprentice or go to school for training.

BTW - When I was in Fez Morocco (2007), I was able to watch the brass, copper, and silver smiths at their crafts while spending time in the Medina. I said to myself that one day when I grow up I would learn how to do similar work.

Still so much to learn.
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Old 31st December 2020, 08:43 PM   #27
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here some pics of antique filigree from Bosnia; a bichaq and a belt
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Old 31st December 2020, 08:45 PM   #28
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and some pics that the art is still alive and being made to the present day, first some jewelry from Sarajevo
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Old 31st December 2020, 08:48 PM   #29
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and secondly from Southern Dalmatia ( Konavje and Dubrovnik) where these earrings are still made and given to the girls ( as I did for my daughter years ago when she became 16...)
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Old 31st December 2020, 11:51 PM   #30
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Very nice! Thank you!
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