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Old 12th September 2019, 03:56 PM   #61
mariusgmioc
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[QUOTE=mahratt]
Marius, was there no money for a small decoration on the dagger’s spine? Despite the fact that on both sides the blade is richly decorated with deep carving? I'm afraid it is this - pure speculation)))
Moreover, it is known that if a traditional blade was used on chur (as in the case of my example), then it is always decorated very roughly. And the appearance of such a beautiful, deep and graceful carving, but only on the sides of the blade is completely unconventional. Rather, I believe that someone ordered such a carving in the 1970s and 1980s, while not understanding how it should be in tradition. Moreover, this floral ornament is not very typical for Afghanistan. Although the master tried hard)))[/QUOTE:]

I believe I see your point!

So, if I would see a Japanese katana with a beautiful horimono with Yin and Yang or some Farsi script, I would definitely consider it a fake/contraption, and by no means a genuine ethnographic weapon characteristic for Japan.

The same will definitely be the case for the Khyber sword in the original posting. At least in my opinion.

And considering that deep engraving is NOT a technique traditionally used by Afghans, it becomes apparent that the choora in question is NOT a genuine ethnographic knife characteristic for its geographic region. It would be like a katana with horimono done by punching.
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Old 12th September 2019, 11:51 PM   #62
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This is amazing, always learning here!! I had no idea Persians did not use acid etching before 19th century, and thought that Qajar items of the 'revival' type included the earlier Qajar period as well (from 1789).
The Mamluks of course used the process from centuries earlier in their metalwork, and the technique became well known in the Sudan by the 19th c.

It is odd that this Khyber has this type etching, which was not something used in these or most Afghan regions as far as I have known. However, it was not used on Kalash (Kafir) weapons either (again as far as I have found).
The Kalash used these type figures and styling on material culture and even on their homes in external decoration.
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Old 13th September 2019, 02:36 AM   #63
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Double

Last edited by ariel : 13th September 2019 at 02:52 AM.
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Old 13th September 2019, 02:52 AM   #64
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In fact, Persians etched their blades for centuries: that was how they revealed wootz. They did not use deep etching, like on the Khyber in question, till they started producing “ revival” swords. Deep etching was a quick, cheap and dirty way to produce images and inscriptions, suitable for souvenir market, regulation sabers and trade with “penniless savages” like Afghanis:-) The quality of images varied widely, from acceptable to atrocious. In my guess, this Khyber’s imagery belongs to the low end of the Persian spectrum:-)
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Old 13th September 2019, 03:39 AM   #65
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Re: post # 60

Folks, I am lost.....
Need your help to understand the logic:
Read the first sentence of my quotation, first sentence of the response and then last sentence of the response: in that order.

Am I totally confused or is it an example of a “split mind” thinking?
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Old 13th September 2019, 04:23 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Re: post # 60

Folks, I am lost.....
Need your help to understand the logic:
Read the first sentence of my quotation, first sentence of the response and then last sentence of the response: in that order.

Am I totally confused or is it an example of a “split mind” thinking?


Ariel, what exactly are you not clear about? I will try to explain in more understandable words, if something seemed to you not logical. It will be more correct than if the other folks try to explain my logic to you

I apologize for my poor English.
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Old 13th September 2019, 04:51 AM   #67
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I will try to explain to you now. But if something is not clear, please ask. Do not be shy.

1) Persia is known for exporting large quantities of shamshir blades (wootz blades and simple blades) to neighboring countries. This fact is confirmed by historical documents and a large number of undoubtedly Persian blades in India, Arabia and Central Asia.
2) Nothing is known about the fact that Persia would manufacture for export weapons not typical of Persia, but typical of another country. (if there is documentary evidence that proves that I am wrong, I will be very glad to get acquainted with them)
3) In Persia (or Persian craftsmen in Afghanistan), in exceptional cases, they made Khyber knives. These khyber knives are very elegant in the shape of a blade, have a handle that differs from the rough handles of Afghan highbers, their blades are decorated in a completely different technique.
4) The Khyber knife discussed in the subject, by all its external signs, is Afghan. There are no features in it that may indicate that it is made in Persia. In addition to "acid etching."
5) Indeed, in Persia in the 19th century actively used “acid etching” to decorate arms and armor, covering their surface with images and calligraphy. But! As Marius already wrote, the Persians began to do this in the 19th century.
6) The quality of "acid etching" in the early 19th century and at the end of the 19th century is very different. In the early 19th century - with "acid etching" you get deep and clear images. At the end of the 19th century - low-quality images (similar to images on the haber from this topic).
7) In Afghanistan, “acid etching” was not used to decorate blades.
8) How realistic is the historical combination of a typical Afghan Khyber knife and a typical Persian "acid etching"? My personal opinion is that such a combination could not exist in the 19th century. But! Even if you start to fantasize and decide that some Afghan traveled to Persia and for some reason ordered a completely non-standard jewelry on his Khyber knife, then judging by the crude "acid etching", this was done at the very end of the 19th century. That is, to call such a Khyber knife - "old khyber" or, especially, "The oldest dated Khyber I can recall" - is completely wrong.

I hope now I was able to explain what you did not understand
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Old 13th September 2019, 09:27 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
I will try to explain to you now. But if something is not clear, please ask. Do not be shy.

1) Persia is known for exporting large quantities of shamshir blades (wootz blades and simple blades) to neighboring countries. This fact is confirmed by historical documents and a large number of undoubtedly Persian blades in India, Arabia and Central Asia.
2) Nothing is known about the fact that Persia would manufacture for export weapons not typical of Persia, but typical of another country. (if there is documentary evidence that proves that I am wrong, I will be very glad to get acquainted with them)
3) In Persia (or Persian craftsmen in Afghanistan), in exceptional cases, they made Khyber knives. These khyber knives are very elegant in the shape of a blade, have a handle that differs from the rough handles of Afghan highbers, their blades are decorated in a completely different technique.
4) The Khyber knife discussed in the subject, by all its external signs, is Afghan. There are no features in it that may indicate that it is made in Persia. In addition to "acid etching."
5) Indeed, in Persia in the 19th century actively used “acid etching” to decorate arms and armor, covering their surface with images and calligraphy. But! As Marius already wrote, the Persians began to do this in the 19th century.
6) The quality of "acid etching" in the early 19th century and at the end of the 19th century is very different. In the early 19th century - with "acid etching" you get deep and clear images. At the end of the 19th century - low-quality images (similar to images on the haber from this topic).
7) In Afghanistan, “acid etching” was not used to decorate blades.
8) How realistic is the historical combination of a typical Afghan Khyber knife and a typical Persian "acid etching"? My personal opinion is that such a combination could not exist in the 19th century. But! Even if you start to fantasize and decide that some Afghan traveled to Persia and for some reason ordered a completely non-standard jewelry on his Khyber knife, then judging by the crude "acid etching", this was done at the very end of the 19th century. That is, to call such a Khyber knife - "old khyber" or, especially, "The oldest dated Khyber I can recall" - is completely wrong.

I hope now I was able to explain what you did not understand


Precisely!


PS: But reading through this whole thread, it appears that the majority of people also lean towards this oppinion.
Anyhow, I loved the debate!
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Old 13th September 2019, 09:31 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Precisely!



Thank you very much!
I already began to worry that my poor knowledge of English prevented me from expressing my thoughts logically
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Old 14th September 2019, 02:19 AM   #70
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The Khyber blade is unique, and while Persia may have begun exporting trade blades at some point about early to mid 19th c. (see the excellent article "On the Persian Shamshir and the Signature of Assad Allah" Oliver Pinchot, 'Arms Collecting' Vol. 40, #1, Feb. 2002) .......they made typical sabre type blades used often on local hilts.
They were not set on producing made to order blades or weapons for trade or as far as I am aware, commissioned or custom made weapons were not a well known Persian activity. Obviously their blades and arms were highly in demand on their own..........but never heard of a Khyber blade in Persia or from Persia.

This etching is crudely done, and far from Persian quality, and the very idea of an Afghan tribesman sending a blade or weapon to Persia for etching is on the face of it, patently not likely.

The 'date' in the motif here is certainly commemorative or with some other connection, if it is indeed a date. Therefore to presume this is a date establishing a terminus post quem for the 'Khyber knife' form is insufficient.

Still this is an intriguing example of a Khyber of the 19th c. which has found its way into an unusual context, reflected by the decorative motif which has been applied to it for whatever reason. Fascinating discussion.
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Old 14th September 2019, 03:18 AM   #71
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Jim,
We will never know the precise history of this khyber. All we know that it is old and there is a Persian style deep etching on it.



Was it a special order from Persia to Afghanistan? Grossly unlikely. Or rare example of Afghani manufacture made by a Persianized Afghani master? Say, Hazara who were and still are Shia and maintain close ties with Iran? That’s more likely. There are 3 million of them in Afghanistan and half a million in Iran. More than enough to have at least several swordsmiths:-) And all over the world ethnic groups in multinational countries that are organized along tribal lines, produce their own types of weapons with their own styles of decoration.

We have a physical object with unusual feature: deep etching. But there were other contemporaneous swords with deeply etched texts all over the blade in Afghanistan.

I found the original sword in e-bay archives and gave pics to 2 of my Persian colleagues. Will see what they will read.
Meanwhile, let’s take a break.
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Old 14th September 2019, 03:46 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Jim,
We will never know the precise history of this khyber. All we know that it is old and there is a Persian style deep etching on it.



Was it a special order from Persia to Afghanistan? Grossly unlikely. Or rare example of Afghani manufacture made by a Persianized Afghani master? Say, Hazara who were and still are Shia and maintain close ties with Iran? That’s more likely. There are 3 million of them in Afghanistan and half a million in Iran. More than enough to have at least several swordsmiths:-) And all over the world ethnic groups in multinational countries that are organized along tribal lines, produce their own types of weapons with their own styles of decoration.

We have a physical object with unusual feature: deep etching. But there were other contemporaneous swords with deeply etched texts all over the blade in Afghanistan.

I found the original sword in e-bay archives and gave pics to 2 of my Persian colleagues. Will see what they will read.
Meanwhile, let’s take a break.


It is so true that while we know the typical nature of weapons and their decoration etc. in given regions, there will always be anomalies. But that is the fascination and excitement of arms history and investigation.
It is not only conceivable but likely that Persian artisans would enter Afghan regions just as they did in many others. Their style and skills then of course would diffuse accordingly.

Of course we may never know with certainty on this intriguing Khyber, why it in such an atypical state, but honestly this discussion has been fascinating and I very much enjoy the perspective, ideas and knowledge shared here.
I hope to never stop learning, and postings like this interesting Khyber are the perfect fuel!! Thank you for so thoughtfully posting this.
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Old 14th September 2019, 02:20 PM   #73
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Great discussion. Perhaps it is time to take a break, but apparently no one has considered the extensive text also etched on the blade. I suspect that there is a revealing story contained therein.

Regards,
Ed
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Old 14th September 2019, 03:09 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edster
Great discussion. Perhaps it is time to take a break, but apparently no one has considered the extensive text also etched on the blade. I suspect that there is a revealing story contained therein.

Regards,
Ed


That would be great if the text could be translated But unfortunately, these late "acid etchings" are usually meaningless. Of course, we say: "Probably the surahs of the Koran are written there". But usually on Persian items of the late 19th century and Sudanese items - "inscriptions" are not readable...
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Old 14th September 2019, 03:14 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edster
Great discussion. Perhaps it is time to take a break, but apparently no one has considered the extensive text also etched on the blade. I suspect that there is a revealing story contained therein.

Regards,
Ed

Ed,

Many pics are with my Persian colleagues for at least partial translation. Hopefully something meaningful will come out of it. Let's keep our collective fingers crossed.
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Old 14th September 2019, 10:31 PM   #76
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I look forward to hearing more from Persian speakers on possibility of actual words or perhaps phrases in this acid etched motif. While as I have stated my sense is that this is a genuine tribal Khyber which has perhaps entered the Kalash (Kafir) realm, possibly a trophy.

Since like much of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan (Bukhara) Sind and Baluchistan, who all had profound Persian influences present....this was probably quite so in the Nuristan regions. However, it should be noted that the Kalash have tried to maintain their animist religious tradition and beliefs in autonomy in the areas of Chitral where they relocated after Rahman Khans incursion in 1890s.

It is curious to see such motif and affectation applied in what appears to be regarded as in Persian style but with Kalash images coupled with supposed Persian script and dating.
Could this be some sort of syncretic anomaly?

Here I would note that with decorative calligraphy, it has often been presumed that in many cases it is in effect 'jibberish' or simply approximated lettering to achieve a provocative result in imbuement of a blade.
This was the case with the heavy lettering used on Sudanese blades in the late 19th c. known as 'thuluth'. It has been discovered however, that much of this decorative calligraphy is typically in reality select phrases or wording from Koranic Surahs in numbers of examples. This however is used in repetition and sometimes with added contemporary invocations related to the Mahdi.

In the case of Persian decoration, the well known blades of the Persian trade blades of the early 19th c. (well described in Oliver Pinchot's " On the Persian Shamshir and the Signature of Assad Allah", Arms Collecting, Vol. 40, #1. Feb.2002) he details the fact that these blades were decorated with a cartouche holding the Persian lion image to represent the famed makers name. While with scripted cartouche as well, this pictogram served as recognition visually for less than literate clientele. These were the kinds of considerations often used in decoration of these blades in these times of far broader availability of weapons.

Perhaps this 'decoration' is also in such manner, and Ed's suggestion is of course well placed. Hopefully Ariels resources will find for or against the matter.
Fingers crossed!!
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Old 14th September 2019, 11:05 PM   #77
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Guys

Just google Pamir petroglyphs or rock art, or just download the article below...
Is it possible that this sword is not from Afghanistan but from Pamir in Tadjikistan?
Or an Afghan sword decorated in Tadjikistan in the Wakhan Corridor??
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/...akhan-corridor/

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Old 14th September 2019, 11:17 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Guys

Just google Pamir petroglyphs or rock art, or just download the article below...
Is it possible that this sword is not from Afghanistan but from Pamir in Tadjikistan?
Or an Afghan sword decorated in Tadjikistan in the Wakhan Corridor??
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/...akhan-corridor/

Kubur


Thanks Kubur!

Great version! But ... Maybe someone will show items from Tajikistan with such "acid etching" on the blade? I have not seen ... And I can’t remember that in Tajikistan or in Bukhara, "acid etching" was done on the blades. But it will be very interesting for me to see such items.
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Old 15th September 2019, 01:21 PM   #79
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I agree with Kubar that the image is in a pictograph-style and Jim"s suggestion that the pictogram has a representable meaning.

How's this for an interesting if fanciful tale? Suppose a traveler during the Great Game era came across a pictogram of an ancient battle (note the curved bladed sword and rounded figures with holes in them, dead people?). Say the pictogram continued to have relevance to the locals. The traveler copied the image and had it etched into the knife along with a commemorative account of the battle in the Tadjik language which I think is a version of Farsi.

Ed
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Old 15th September 2019, 04:04 PM   #80
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A bit too many "ifs" for my taste:-)
I have no idea whether the content of inscriptions might help, but no matter what, there are other unquestionably Afghani examples with similar wall-to-wall deeply etched texts along the entire blade. They might be infrequent, but this khyber is not a "unique" example.

The really interesting question would be where were they manufactured: all over the country, or limited to the Persianized ( Shia?) enclaves?

Last edited by ariel : 15th September 2019 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 15th September 2019, 04:34 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
A bit too many "ifs" for my taste:-)
I have no idea whether the content of inscriptions might help, but no matter what, there are other unquestionably Afghani examples with similar wall-to-wall deeply etched texts along the entire blade. They might be infrequent, but this khyber is not a "unique" example.

The really interesting question would be where were they manufactured: all over the country, of limited to the Persianized ( Shia?) enclaves?


Wow. We'll see more examples of Khyberian knives with such primitive "acid etching"? I look forward to it! I think the rest of them too.
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Old 15th September 2019, 06:24 PM   #82
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While we have finally agreed that there may be some tangible message or words in the script etched onto this blade, in yet an undetermined dialect or language, it seems there is yet another factor which may be considered toward the Khyber itself.

We have agreed this Khyber is indeed of mid to third quarter 19th.c (at least I think we have) and in my opinion, these seem to have produced exclusively in Afghan regions in and around the Khyber Pass itself. It seems exclusive to the indigenous tribes of the Khyber, and as far as I have known, is not well known in the broader parts of Afghanistan or neighboring countries.

As once well expressed by Torben Flindt, ethnographic weapons have no geographic boundaries, of course an obvious axiom which sometimes seems overlooked in stringent weapon form classifications.

So I think we can agree that this Khyber was not made in Persia, or any other location beyond the sphere of the Khyber regions and its tribes.

With regard to 'if's', in my perception these are the ideas and observations that form postulations which may well become factual holdings. Just as Ed has suggested, and has recognized as perhaps 'fanciful', his idea for the possible present character of the 'old Khyber', is well ratiocinated and has compelling potential.

These Central Asian regions are some of the most traveled, invaded, and vibrantly changing in ethnic diversity in the world. The 'Great Game' is but a modern term for the dynamics that have existed there for millenia. It would be naïve to think that a weapon, even as distinctly geographically oriented as the Khyber, could not be transported into any if not many of these regions occasionally.

What is unusual, if not distinctly anomalous with this one, is not the sword itself, but the character of the motif and its acid etching application. I would join in being extremely interested in knowing of any other examples bearing this type of decoration on Khyber knives. This process is as far as I have known, as Dima has well noted, not known in the regions where Khybers are indigenous, nor for that matter contiguous areas.

While a break has been suggested, personally I find this discussion, and particularly the excellent discourse, fascinating, so I hope we can continue while hopefully finding more evidential material.
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Old 15th September 2019, 08:58 PM   #83
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Jim,
I am waiting for a word from two Iranian colleagues re. inscription.
Then I shall be able to answer your questions.

Fair enough?
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Old 15th September 2019, 09:28 PM   #84
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Jim,
Forgot to mention:
The so-called “ Khybers” were not limited to the Khyber Pass area. The best evidence is the variability of their handles: beak-y in the majority of cases, Karabela-like in the rest. They penetrated both East ( India) and West ( Iran), yet another suggestion of their widespread presence

They acquired the moniker you are talking about from the Brits who fought Afghanis there. And locals never called them “Khyber knives”, for them it was “ selava”.
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Old 15th September 2019, 10:57 PM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Jim,
Forgot to mention:
The so-called “ Khybers” were not limited to the Khyber Pass area. The best evidence is the variability of their handles: beak-y in the majority of cases, Karabela-like in the rest. They penetrated both East ( India) and West ( Iran), yet another suggestion of their widespread presence

They acquired the moniker you are talking about from the Brits who fought Afghanis there. And locals never called them “Khyber knives”, for them it was “ selava”.



Thanks very much Ariel, I knew of course the odd moniker came from the Hobsen-Jobsen of the British forces in the Khyber regions (apparently these were known locally as salwar or selava?(sic). But I had no idea of these huge knives (swords) in India or Iran.
I knew of course the 'smaller' versions in the spectrum of pesh kabz reached into those spheres, but not the huge Khyber swords.

Any chance of seeing an example of a Khyber knife (large blade) from India or Iran? Naturally I am referring to these large 'triangular' (for lack of better geometric description) blades, almost like a butcher knife.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 16th September 2019 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 15th September 2019, 11:53 PM   #86
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The beautiful one on the front cover of the “ Afghani edged weapons” book is Indian. Fiegels’ sale catalogue has a couple of Persian. I have one with deep old Indian chiseling ( thanks, Jens) and another potentially Indian with elephant ivory handle and sophisticated wootz blade.
But we are talking about Afghanistan proper , and most khybers in use there will be of local manufacture.
It’s like seeing more Fords than Fiats and Alfa Romeos in America. But move to Italy, and the proportions will flip. And, of course, their occurrence in neighboring countries is likely to be largely limited to ethic Afghans, such as Khyber Pakhtunhwa in contemporary Pakistan, formerly part of India.
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Old 16th September 2019, 12:43 AM   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
The beautiful one on the front cover of the “ Afghani edged weapons” book is Indian. Fiegels’ sale catalogue has a couple of Persian. I have one with deep old Indian chiseling ( thanks, Jens) and another potentially Indian with elephant ivory handle and sophisticated wootz blade.
But we are talking about Afghanistan proper , and most khybers in use there will be of local manufacture.
It’s like seeing more Fords than Fiats and Alfa Romeos in America. But move to Italy, and the proportions will flip. And, of course, their occurrence in neighboring countries is likely to be largely limited to ethic Afghans, such as Khyber Pakhtunhwa in contemporary Pakistan, formerly part of India.


Crossed posts! I did not realize the one on the book cover was Indian (?). Would that be in that Afghanistan in the 19th c. was considered part of India?
I do not have Fiegel handy, but again did not realize there were Persian Khyber's in it. It does seem quite understandable that ethnic persons of Khyber tribes in other geographic locales might take their Khyber's along.
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Old 16th September 2019, 10:46 AM   #88
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I'd like to clarify a little bit the words of the Ariel. Indeed, there are many Khyber knives made in India or by Indian craftsmen in Afghanistan. Such Khyber knives can be seen in large quantities in museums in India. But! Khyber knives, which we could call "Persian" (made in Persia or by Persian masters in Afghanistan) are known very little...
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Old 16th September 2019, 05:02 PM   #89
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Dima thank you for this information and clarification! I truly did not know of these Khyber swords being made in India, but I can understand that there must have been Indian craftsmen in Afghan regions who might make them.
As you well note, the idea of these often very large bladed Khyber swords being made in Persia seems very unlikely, just as the idea of Persian craftsmen in Afghanistan seems remote.

It seems well established of course that artisans of regions often move to other areas, and in doing so take their skills and styling character with them of course. It makes sense that obviously these styles, techniques and character would in degree become melded together in the examples they produced.

I think the objective of recognizing the possibility of this particular Khyber being one of these hybrids, or accounting for its unusual decoration is well at hand here. As far as I can see however, is that this example in the original post is of the commonly seen versions produced in the typical manner in Khyber regions, rather than one produced in these other areas noted.

We return to the very crudely applied acid etched decoration. We know that this technique was used in Persia, and by its craftsmen. It is possible that this technique, which became it seems more widely practiced in latter part of 19th c. (thinking of the Sudanese thuluth case) may have been carried into many regions by craftsmen relocating.

I think its crudely applied character of the decoration here, which has been the primary point of contention, pretty much renders the possibility of being done by a skilled craftsman unlikely, particularly Persian. The likelihood of the scenario proposed by Ed, a copied theme added by a tribal artisan representing local traditions or events is far more plausible.
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Old 18th September 2019, 06:57 PM   #90
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Update:
One of the " translators" sent me a message: this is written in ancient variant of Farsi, but the quality of deep etching is very poor, the letters flow into each other.
She could translate only a small fragment:" ...the king gave advice to his son..."
She is taking it to her parents ; perhaps, they might be more successful, but I doubt more and more that translation may give us any specific information: Persians were fond of general statements of literary origin inscribed on their blades. I have a Khyber with rhino handle and 4 rivets (2-1-1); the upper 2 used to be "big" , but the washers were lost. It is inscribed in old Persian with a quote from Sa'adi's " Golestan ( 13 century). Central Asia ( Bukhara, Khiva, Samarkand)? Northern Afghanistan? Iran proper?

So, one thing is clear: the etching was made by a Farsi-speaking person. Whether he was an itinerant master from Iran or a Persianized Afghani is unclear. In any case, it may explain the human figure and ,- perhaps,- the date of 1850 in Persian calendar Jalali.
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