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Old 22nd August 2019, 06:56 PM   #31
Jim McDougall
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Thank you Ibrahiim for adding your insights here to a thread which is great to see again. While they say a picture is worth a thousand words, with regard to study and discussion, it helps to know what is pertinent and what we are looking at.

The salient points of this thread were views toward the possible Bukharen connections between the Yemen and Bukhara via religious circumstances, as well as the architectural influences shared and as is often the case. It does seem that architectural features often influence decoration and motif in many cultures. In many cases these are stylized and had to adequately identify, especially for those outside the according spheres.

I recall many years ago when I saw swords identified as Bukharen which had the red backed silver banding on the scabbard similar to the examples I had seen designated as Hadhramauti. In later discussion the spherical and ovoid pommels became notable as perhaps connected.

As you say, more research well warranted!!!
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Old 22nd August 2019, 07:03 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thank you Ibrahiim for adding your insights here to a thread which is great to see again. While they say a picture is worth a thousand words, with regard to study and discussion, it helps to know what is pertinent and what we are looking at.

The salient points of this thread were views toward the possible Bukharen connections between the Yemen and Bukhara via religious circumstances, as well as the architectural influences shared and as is often the case. It does seem that architectural features often influence decoration and motif in many cultures. In many cases these are stylized and had to adequately identify, especially for those outside the according spheres.

I recall many years ago when I saw swords identified as Bukharen which had the red backed silver banding on the scabbard similar to the examples I had seen designated as Hadhramauti. In later discussion the spherical and ovoid pommels became notable as perhaps connected.

As you say, more research well warranted!!!



Hello Jim, I was only just looking at the Yemen Bukharan connection and dug out this https://visainfodesk.com/po-i-kalya...ara-uzbekistan/ where the Yemen provided the inspiration for a Great Mosque which has lasted as the main Bukharan Mosque for 500 years. Obviously with such a dignatory as this from Yemen the cultural and Religious ties must have been considerable however on the timescale this rules out certain aspects of the Sayf Yemaani ..The Old Omani Battle Sword.

The Yemeni link is important and the above reference states Quote" Mir-i Arab Madrasah (‘Arab emir madrasah’), which is still a functioning madrasah Islamic school, stands across from the mosque. The construction of the madrasah (1535 – 1536) was funded by Ubaidulla-Khan, Shaybani-Khan’s nephew. It was built for the sheikh Abdullah Yemeni, the spiritual mentor of the early Shaybanids. In order to build the madrasah, Ubaidulla-Khan had to sell 3,000 captive Persians he had as slaves. According to another source, he gave Abdullah Yemeni, Bukhara Islamic leader and his teacher, also known as Emir of the Arabs, all the loot from his raids to pay for the construction.''Unquote.
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Old 23rd August 2019, 01:03 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Hello Jim, I was only just looking at the Yemen Bukharan connection and dug out this https://visainfodesk.com/po-i-kalya...ara-uzbekistan/ where the Yemen provided the inspiration for a Great Mosque which has lasted as the main Bukharan Mosque for 500 years. Obviously with such a dignatory as this from Yemen the cultural and Religious ties must have been considerable however on the timescale this rules out certain aspects of the Sayf Yemaani ..The Old Omani Battle Sword.

The Yemeni link is important and the above reference states Quote" Mir-i Arab Madrasah (‘Arab emir madrasah’), which is still a functioning madrasah Islamic school, stands across from the mosque. The construction of the madrasah (1535 – 1536) was funded by Ubaidulla-Khan, Shaybani-Khan’s nephew. It was built for the sheikh Abdullah Yemeni, the spiritual mentor of the early Shaybanids. In order to build the madrasah, Ubaidulla-Khan had to sell 3,000 captive Persians he had as slaves. According to another source, he gave Abdullah Yemeni, Bukhara Islamic leader and his teacher, also known as Emir of the Arabs, all the loot from his raids to pay for the construction.''Unquote.



I recall in discussions as I noted, that there was a distinct similarity in the scabbard decoration of swords from Hadhramaut (Elgood, "Arabian Arms & Armour) and those of Bukhara. While it is of course a tenuous suggestion based on what would seem free association, but the religious connections and proclivity for architectural influences from Mosques and Minarets on sword decoration in these contexts is most interesting.

At the top are Bukharen swords,
To the right a sa'if from Hadhramat
Botton, a San'aa mounted sword of Yemen
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Old 23rd August 2019, 05:46 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Blalock
Period photo


Beautiful photos of Yemeni swords
There is of course absolutely no evidence of Bukharan influences.
This discussion was all made up on the forum based on nothing...
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Old 23rd August 2019, 05:49 AM   #35
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I am sorry, I fail to see the Central Asian connection either.
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Old 23rd August 2019, 12:20 PM   #36
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With all due respect to the authorities:


The most obvious place to find Bukharan swords would be in the former USSR museums. AFAIK, there are none even remotely similar.
There are plenty of old Uzbek and Tadjik swords there, but all of them are just regular shamshirs of various quality and decorative techniques. These areas were under Persian influence till the Arabs came or under Turkic Mongols, all brandishing sabers. For more than a millennium they saw nothing else. Already in the 9th century Khwarizmians were boasting about their swords in curved scabbards.

In contrast, Yemen has always been the most “frozen in time” country.
Yemeni Arabic is widely considered the closest to the purest Pre-Islamic one. Just like the Omani ones, they might have preserved the pre/early Islamic swords as well.

In short, I, just like Teodor, see nothing Central Asian here, but the Yemeni connection sounds eminently plausible.
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Old 23rd August 2019, 07:35 PM   #37
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Thank you guys, interesting views. I think what I am recalling toward the 'connection' or possible connection between Bukharen affectations on swords (in this case the spiral bands on scabbards) is the several examples of Bukharen swords in posts with this feature and described as Bukharen.

Also the similarities in the hilt elements (pommel, cylindrical etc.) were noted as with such possible connections between Yemen and Bukhara. It does not seem infeasible that religious connections between these clearly distant regions existed, and that such contacts would result in certain material culture designs or affectations. Obviously drawing such parallels would be a tenuous proposition, but to deem such connections impossible or non existent arbitrarily would be unfortunate. Theories, ideas and suggestions are pretty much just that, and not intended as conclusions.

In the photo I previously posted with the Yemeni swords with the spiral scabbards, the first image with three swords are of Buharen examples, as identified by the post I took it from (on these pages but trying to relocate).
It seems that the Persian factor in designs etc. is notably present in Bukhara and India's northern regions and Afghanistan.
In Arabian context, the same favor toward Persian design etc. is also well known.

Is it possible that such an affectation is via the Persian conduit rather than direct Bukharen /Yemen connection?
Whatever the case, it does seem, at least in what I have seen, that this particular banding on scabbards is seen (as agreed) on Yemen swords, but appears known as well on SOME Bukharen (or Uzbek) examples.

These three swords are NOT Yemeni, but Uzbek (Bukharen) and the center one is the one I refer to with the same spiral as on my Hadhramaut sa'if.
Also note the ovoid fluted shape of the scabbard tips similar to the pommel on the cylindrical hilts of some Yemeni swords.
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Old 23rd August 2019, 08:44 PM   #38
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Please see #13 where the link takes a look at the provenance of this style Quote"

A RARE CENTRAL ASIAN BROADSWORD

Description

A quite similar example depicted in the ninth-century fresco of a mounted Samanid ruler at Nishapur allows attribution of the form. The distinctive guardless hilt silvered or gilt, with an expanded ferrule and cylindrical grip, embossed and engraved overall with vinework, the bud-form pommel spirally fluted. The exceptionally long, straight, double-edged blade with evidence of wootz forging, a short central fuller to either side and a polygonal maker’s mark inscribed, WORK OF HASSAN [?] struck twice on either side. In its wooden scabbard with velvet covering, the locket and chape embossed and engraved en suite with the hilt, the suspension bands with openwork decoration. Beginning of the 19th century. Light wear, small area of pitting to blade. Very rarely encountered, probably a coronation sword.Overall length 101.3 cm. Condition I "Unquote>

What makes this sword seemingly difficult to get placed is its absence from museums although the Wallace has one... I tend to view the likelihood of a relationship to the Omani Battlesword as very tentative. The above expert portrayal pointing to 19thC seems possible and perhaps the work of Jewish craftsmen...either Bukharen or Yemeni. Some sort of very late influence from Omai Battlesword ..Sayf Yemaani to Bukharen or to Yemeni influence seems implausible..The Omani Battlesword did not influence Yemeni Battleswords 900 years after it is known to have been in service in the 11th/ 12thC. however may fit as a commissioned sword from Bukharen to Cairo for a dignitary and that may be the track of its provenance … I tend to suspect Mecca as the purchasing point for such a VIP weapon but am open to suggestions on this...

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Old 23rd August 2019, 09:35 PM   #39
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Two of these spherical pommel swords are shown by Michael Blalock on 11 May 2005. He notes these as Yemeni, but with connection to Bukhara, with explanation as follows:
" ....Mir-I-Madrasa (1535)
The Mir-i-Arab madrassah with the Mosque Bukhara's main kosh ensemble.
Under the left dome are buried Uyaydullah Khan (one of the first
Bukharen royals to not have his own mausoleum) and sheikh Mir-i-Arab after whom the madrasa is named. He is variously described as an architect, a YEMENI merchant and spiritual mentor of the early Sheibanids".

Michael here notes, "..this explains how a Central Asian sword could have
ended up in Yemen in the 1960s".

Auctions Imperial (3/16/2013, lot #230)
A CENTRAL ASIAN BROADSWORD . The description notes that this sword (of the type hilt described as Yemeni in these discussions noted in current thread) and that the item is of 19th c. and from the EMIRATE OF BUKHARA.
Supporting references are "A Song in Metal" Abdullayev, the Moser collection, Coe ("Swords and Hilt Weapons"p.141); "Szabla Wschodnia i jej Typu Naradowe" Jarnuszkiewicz, plate 11.
Also noted is a reference to a frescoe with image of a Samanid king with similar, 9th century, at Nishapur.

Yucel, "Islamic Swords and Swordsmiths", shows a 15th century Mamluk sword with this type of hilt.

To the SPIRAL banding:

Artzi (Oriental Arms) 11 May 2005, notes a 19th c. sa'if in a museum in San'a and that the original scabbards for these type swords usually include a SILVER STRIP spirally bound on them. A very similar SPIRAL binding is also COMMON ON BUKHARA swords as well as on other oriental swords.

Top images:

Left: the two swords posted by M.Blalock 2005, as Yemeni
next: The 15th c.Mamluk sword in Yucel.
" The Auctions Imperial example, 19th c Emirate of Bukhara
" My Hadhramauti sa'if (Elgood, Lebedynsky, et al)
right: one of these hilts but pommel more pointed ovoid as seen on
the Bukharen scabbard tips in my previous (one with
silver spiral band).
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Old 23rd August 2019, 10:14 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Beautiful photos of Yemeni swords
There is of course absolutely no evidence of Bukharan influences.
This discussion was all made up on the forum based on nothing...


We would have to define Bukharen influence. Is there a distinctly Bukharen character which was confined to those specific regions? As far as I have understood the Persian dynamic in such influences affected many cultures and regions throughout the Middle East, India (particularly Mughals), Central Asia and more.
The point has been that influences which influenced Bukhara may well have shared and been diffused in Yemeni designs as well.
I was once told, 'weapons have NO geographic boundaries' in discussions with an authority on Bukharen arms, and in which a sabre (of similar form to shashka) could not be determined either Uzbek or Afghan. There were elements in character of both, so classification was pretty much a toss up.

I consider the observations in the discussions on these swords as all relevant and far from being based on nothing. In fact all of the content is pertinent data toward the remarkably difficult determination of the history and development of these weapons. Classifications and historical determinations of influences may not always be finite, but reasonable plausibility is a worthwhile outcome.
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Old 24th August 2019, 07:47 AM   #41
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Hi Guys,

As always I was too short! Let me add some facts:

First as Ariel said these swords don't appear in eastern collections... strange.

Second about the pommel and even the hilt, well you can compare the pommel to any dome or minaret from North Africa to Persia and India.
The ribbed domes are not specific to Central Asia. It's easy to check, you have plenty of books on architecture.

Third Yemeni in Bukhara, since the Arab conquest Yemeni are all over the place from North Africa up to India and even China! They were very influencial in religious studies. So Yemeni in Bukhara is not exceptional and not a proof that they brought back some swords to Yemen.

Fourth spiral design is found also on Ottoman scabbards and spiral banding on Indian swords most of the time to wrap up some textiles. So there is no proof that Bukharen invented this design...

Last two men who are not newbies commented these swords as yemeni, Robert Hales and Robert Elgood (he says Hijazi).
And yes I agree with you swords have no geographic boundaries and I like this discussion. The last example is really cool, from Solingen to India and ending up in Yemen...
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Old 24th August 2019, 08:25 PM   #42
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You're right Kubur, this is a fun, and challenging discussion.
I think the case for these spherical pommel, shouldered or flared guard integral with grip swords being Yemeni is of course well known.
However, I don't think that it has been implied that somehow a Bukharen sword was brought back to Yemen, and suddenly all the Yemenis wanted such 'Bukharen' swords.

The point desperately trying to be made here is that this form of hilt was widely adopted THROUGHOUT the Dar al Islam, and examples in Bukhara, as well as through CENTRAL ASIA reflect the same styling.

While many of these examples are indeed Yemeni, they did not hold an exclusive patent on the design, and as often occurs, the influences did apparently diffuse via trade, diplomatic and other channels throughout regions from Arabia, the Middle East and Central Asia.

To reiterate, Bukhara was not the SOURCE of the designs, but ONE of the many regions which in varying degree adopted them.

In "Arts of the Muslim Knight" (ed. Bashir Mohammed) I attach three examples which show the collared hilt and spherical pommels and are identified as Central Asian and from 9th century. These are remarkably similar to the 'Yemeni' examples ; the Auctions Imperial example identified as 19th c. Bukharen; and others.

In "Two Swords from the Foundations of Gibraltar" by David Nicolle, the attached plate (#28) shows a bronze sword as late 10th, early 11th c. from a shipwreck and it is noted to likely be from Armenia or Azerbijian.
In the same article, a sword with remarkably similar style hilt is shown as Roman, 2nd c. AD.

So my question is, is it possible that the styling of these hilts developed from a quite ancient form or group of similar hilt features, became popularly known, and were adopted in numerous cultural spheres ?

So we are not saying that these hilts or affectations come FROM Bukharen influence, only that Central Asia apparently SHARED them, just as Yemen did.
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Old 25th August 2019, 08:34 AM   #43
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Thank you Jim for your precise and so well documented response as always

To your question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
is it possible that the styling of these hilts developed from a quite ancient form or group of similar hilt features, became popularly known, and were adopted in numerous cultural spheres ?


IMHO I'll say yes of course.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=mamluk
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Old 26th August 2019, 12:40 PM   #44
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These hilt styles, often made with cast parts and a "cuff" extension over the blade are part of a larger family with roots in central Asia. Similar hilts can be seen on reliefs documented in Bishapur and dated to the reign of the Sasanian ruler Shapur I (241-272). I have seen some speculation there may be a Chinese influence but I have not ever seen anything convincing on that front.

Regardless, by the 9th century, this general form can be encountered throughout the Byzantine Empire as well, including areas of influence like Ukraine and Bulgaria.

As has been already pointed out on this thread, within the Islamic world the form also became widespread including within Mamluk arms. The basic form typically sees a metal cylindrical grip, often multi-faceted, a separate pommel and a narrow guard, often with a "cuff". The components are often secured with brazing.

These are an important overarching form which sees regional variations from central Asia, to Europe to Africa. The Yemeni examples are of course simply a long-surviving branch within the family tree.
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Old 26th August 2019, 03:50 PM   #45
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Is the " Omani battlesword" a member of the same Central Asian family or a traditional double-edged straight sword of pre-Islamic/early-Islamic "Aravian" weapon? Did straight early Egyptian Mamluk swords with bulbous pommels come from Bukhara ( Khiva, Samarkand etc)?
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Old 26th August 2019, 09:10 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Thank you Jim for your precise and so well documented response as always

To your question



IMHO I'll say yes of course.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=mamluk



Thank you Kubur!
Iain thank you for entering on this, and for well illustrating that the elements and features on this form and its variants were broadly represented throughout many regions and cultural spheres over many centuries.
The key point we can take away here is that a direct link or an identifiable line of specific influence between the forms of different areas is not typically possible. This is especially the case where no linear chronological examples with provenance are extant which show such development.

Ariel, in my opinion, the Omani battle swords (sa'if Yemani) are certainly members of the same family of these type swords with the 'cuff' being a most notable feature.
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Old 26th August 2019, 10:46 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
Regardless, by the 9th century, this general form can be encountered throughout the Byzantine Empire as well, including areas of influence like Ukraine and Bulgaria.



Byzantine influence on Bulgaria is undeniable in almost all aspects of culture, especially after the conversion to Christianity in 864 AD. However, when it comes to arms and armor it was usually the Eastern Roman Empire adopting the weapons and tactics of its neighbors and enemies, many of which at one point or another found themselves in the armies of the Basileus as mercenaries.

Here is the sword from the Malaya Pereshchepina burial, associated with Khan Kubrat of Great Bulgaria before Danube Bulgaria was formed. The hilt is basically a tube made of gold, with the ring pommel typical of earlier steppe swords. It is very much a "cuff" hilt design.

Back to the topic, from Al Kindi we know that Yemen was a major sword producing center at the height of the Abbasid power - in fact, he considers the Yemeni blades superior to pretty much all others. Unfortunately he does not give detailed descriptions of the hilts, but the way the blade size and shapes are described they are very close to the older Omani saifs. Yemen's relative isolation explains why an archaic broadsword form may have survived there longer than anywhere else, along with perhaps areas in North Africa where the saif badawi and its derivatives made it to the 20th century.

In contrast, Central Asia was anything but isolated, and its arms evolution much more rapid, with the saber becoming the dominant form by the 10th-11th centuries, if not even earlier.
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Old 26th August 2019, 11:39 PM   #48
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Double posting, sorry.

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Old 26th August 2019, 11:58 PM   #49
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I cannot judge Bulgarian/ Bysantine relations, but I trust Teodor’s knowledge and judgement.

As to the Yemeni/ Omani weapons, I have already fully agreed with him based on the same considerations. These “ Bukharan” swords do not look more than 200 years old at the most, and I am unaware of anything similar in Russian museums coming out of Central Asia despite their full control of that area since mid-19th century and even despite multiple lavish gifts of the local Khans and Emirs to the Tsar: they sent khandjars and shamshirs with Persian wootz blades and gold handles. I can fully believe that similar swords might have belonged to the Sassanian era, but after that, Persians ( the main influence on Central Asia) rapidly switched to curved sabers. To the point that they had to invent “revival swords” in the 19th.
My money is on South Aravia, Yemen especially.
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Old 27th August 2019, 06:18 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
Byzantine influence on Bulgaria is undeniable in almost all aspects of culture, especially after the conversion to Christianity in 864 AD. However, when it comes to arms and armor it was usually the Eastern Roman Empire adopting the weapons and tactics of its neighbors and enemies, many of which at one point or another found themselves in the armies of the Basileus as mercenaries.


Agreed, my point was simply that in a broader sense, these hilts were being found within these areas. One was even discovered in Poland a few years ago.

Returning a little closer to Yemen, similar hilts also turned up in Dongola, from the Makuria kingdom, clearly depicted in murals. I'm attaching an example here. The form is extremely similar right down to heavily engraved metalwork on the guard.

I see no reason to doubt a Yemeni attribution, these swords very much fit into a pattern of hilts found in the region for a thousand years.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:08 AM   #51
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Thanks to all involved so far and the excellent art works attached on the broad likelihood of influence involving the various swords mentioned .

I noted earlier that the Mamluke weapons some illustrated in Yemeni museums have the sweeping wide shoulders similar to the project weapon and show that here..

The clearly later recruit to this form may well be the group of 4 weapons below with apparently later back street hilts but built in a similar fashion but added here for interest.

Yemeni Jewish decorative hilts are often found on weapons pre the Jewish exodus of 1949 as depicted in the knife hilts shown below..
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:38 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
Byzantine influence on Bulgaria is undeniable in almost all aspects of culture, especially after the conversion to Christianity in 864 AD. However, when it comes to arms and armor it was usually the Eastern Roman Empire adopting the weapons and tactics of its neighbors and enemies, many of which at one point or another found themselves in the armies of the Basileus as mercenaries.

Here is the sword from the Malaya Pereshchepina burial, associated with Khan Kubrat of Great Bulgaria before Danube Bulgaria was formed. The hilt is basically a tube made of gold, with the ring pommel typical of earlier steppe swords. It is very much a "cuff" hilt design.

Back to the topic, from Al Kindi we know that Yemen was a major sword producing center at the height of the Abbasid power - in fact, he considers the Yemeni blades superior to pretty much all others. Unfortunately he does not give detailed descriptions of the hilts, but the way the blade size and shapes are described they are very close to the older Omani saifs. Yemen's relative isolation explains why an archaic broadsword form may have survived there longer than anywhere else, along with perhaps areas in North Africa where the saif badawi and its derivatives made it to the 20th century.

In contrast, Central Asia was anything but isolated, and its arms evolution much more rapid, with the saber becoming the dominant form by the 10th-11th centuries, if not even earlier.



This is the 'Pereshchepina' sword written on in " On The Principles of Reconstruction of the Pereshchepina Sword" by Z. Lvova and A. Seminov
in "Arkheologicesksya Sbornik" Vol. 26, 1985.
It was discovered in what is described as a burial vault near Poltava in Ukraine, however no human remains were apparently found.

While this is believed to have been a gift from Byzantium to Khan Kubrat, it is interesting that the ring pommel style is remarkably similar to these featured on Chinese cavalry swords of Sui dynasty (589-628AD) and T'ang dynasty (618-906AD) well known in LoYang, Honan province, China.
The Pereshchepina sword appears 7th century and has Greek inscription.
Stephen Grancsay in 1930 wrote that there were examples of ring pommel swords with gilt hilts in these Chinese contexts (I do not have access to the article presently).

I would think this suggests the kind of diplomatic interchange across these territorial boundaries in which various elemental styles and features were diffused over vast distances and over long periods of time.

While this example IS in a Russian museum (Hermitage, St.Petersburg), therefore presumably viable as an example in this discussion, it reflects more the influences of the east and the Steppes in hilt features more than the 'cuff' design on hilts we are reviewing.
It is a fascinating example, and one that I have long considered intriguing among these swords well described in "The Long Sword and Scabbard Slide in Asia", Trousdale, Smithsonian, 1975).

Thank you Teodor for adding this here, it is great to see again!
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Old 28th August 2019, 12:14 AM   #53
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With reference to Ibrahiim post #51, in "Arts of the Muslim Knight" (Furissiya, ed. Bashir Mohamed, 2008) these two swords shown are most pertinent to examples he has posted.

The first (p.37, #8) is a Samanid sword of 8th-9th century. It is noted swords with these U shape scabbard mounts excavated at Pendzhikent in Transoxiana dating from 8th c. Wall paintings in this site also reflect these type swords carried by Arabic soldiers. Another guard from al-Rabadah in Arabia with similar features dates 8-9th c.

Next, (p.79, #43) shows an Omani sword of 17th-18th c. with these kinds of cuff type features being discussed and well known on these sa'if Yemani, or Ibadi battle swords of Nizwa.
It states, "...sword hilts of this general type were popular over a long period of time and their documented associations suggest they are ultimately based on dhu-l-faqar the Sword of the Prophet." While the reference suggests these are of imprecise origins, suggesting possibly Mamluk /North African origins , some claiming 15th c. it seems most likely these are Ibadi and of Nizwa origin.
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Old 28th August 2019, 05:30 AM   #54
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Default Some salient references to Yemeni attribution

From "Arms and Armour of Arabia " Robert Elgood, 1994 p.15
"...there are a number of Arab sword types that are loosely referred to as nimsha or sa'if which are usually attributed to the Yemen by collectors and cataloguers on the basis that the weapons of the area are not well known and they are therefore unlikely to be challenged on the attribution".

Further (op. cit.) "...it is not clear at present as to how widespread was the usage of certain types of hilt in the Arab world".

Referring to very early times, "The Armies of the Caliphs", Hugh Kennedy, 2001, p.173 notes:
" Schwarzlose has collected references to swords in early Arabic literature.
The best swords come from India followed by those made in the Indian fashion (muhannad) in Yemen which, along with Syria was the most famous center of manufacture. "

* "Die Waffen der Alten Araber aus Ihren Dichtern Dargestellt"
F.W.Schwarzlose, Leipzig, 1886

Further the author notes the 'Baylamani' swords, which were from either Yemen or India.
Then the Mushrafi which were from either Yemen or Syria.
According to al Kindi, (d.870 AD) the best swords were made in Yemen or Khurasan.

On p.175 it is noted a number of swords of late Sassanian times with straight blades apparently with no hand guards.

While it is well known that Central Asia was anything but isolated with the Silk Road and constant incursions, it does not seem that Yemen (which includes the broader southern regions of Arabia) was isolated either. If their swords (primarily blades) were so highly regarded, and apparently traded, there had to have been regular exposure to many outside regions.

The hilt styles which were traditionally known through most of these regions certainly carried certain degree of influence in these trade dealings, so may well have become established in Yemen as well as in the number of regions in Central Asia as previously discussed.

It does seem that the Central Asian presence of these type hilts is pretty well established in Central Asian context into 9th c. period, while as has been noted, there is a distinct paucity of record of hilt types in the Yemen.
This does not preclude many of these hilts being from Yemen, but neither can examples with Bukharen or Central Asian attribution as per iconographic references.
It is not a matter of which influenced the other, but that they appear to have been inspired by similar influences.
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Old 29th August 2019, 01:46 PM   #55
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Hello Jim, and thank you for the superb references and general round up with a great couple of pictures of the Omani Batrtale Sword often called Sayf Yemaani. These are sometimes referred to as related to Swords Of The Prophet and your illustrations are covered in typically Omani decoration and even a hint of a zig zag at the edge of the cuff. The three holes in the hilt handle were apparently for rivets through a central core of wood and the top hole was for a wrist cord apparently. The sword example in the Al Ain Museum has the two holes in the shoulder of each Quillon as a decorative anchor point for silver adornment. These short stiff chopping and slashing blades were used in conjunction with the famous Ters Rhino hide shield. The weapon like so many Arabian weapons didn't evolve or change since it worked thus over centuries it has remained the same except when Saiid the Great had it immortalized with the Iconic Royal Hilt in a similar way to the Royal Khanjar.
Given that this may well be a relative of the Sword of The Prophet and as you note it seems most likely these are Ibadi and of Nizwa origin. There is a strong possibility that the weapon came along with the religious form or in its wake...and that would indicate an earlier date possibly around 751AD and with Ibn Julanda the first Immam and Leader of Oman. It therefor becomes very tempting to suggest an earlier date of say another 100 years making this weapon style close to the actual passage to Oman of Islam ...and likely to be strongly associated with Nizwa the religious centre .
The other key EAA pages to consider with this conundrum are http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht=Sayf+Yemaani

I place similar Examples and one with an as yet untranslated roundel style stamp and with the zig zag line as your sword shows. The grip and Pommel follow a Mosque/ Minarette style with multiple sides and the unmistakable arched pommel dome.
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