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Old 23rd December 2011, 12:11 AM   #1
RSWORD
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Default Afghan military saber for translation request

This is an interesting sword. It is an Afghan sword, in the military style of the late 19th to turn of the century, featuring a wootz guard, wootz tang band and the top scabbard mount is wootz. The blade is a very bold and nice pattern weld. There are a number of "seals", stamps and inscriptions I was hoping to receive some information and translation assistance with. Thank you in advance.
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Old 23rd December 2011, 12:53 PM   #2
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A very peculiarly interesting sword, ofcourse it does have a governmental seal.(why it is engraved not stamped )
On the inscription if you can get it one line at a time i can get it translated for you (the reflection is not helping). on the date it say - fee sanat hijree 1298
في سنة هجري ۱۲۹۸ , now that is in Arabic meaning { In hijree year of 1298} why would they write it in Arabic, that is why i said peculiar. Why would an Afghan governmental sword have Arabic writings it baffles me. Now the year , right now it is 1390 HS (solar) and 1433 HQ (lunar), The mark is from the time of Nader or Zaher shah, maybe Amanullah.That would put us at most to 1918, the sword is around 92 years old (if we go the solar way), which would put up around 1913. Amanullah came to power around 1918. I have not seen Habibullah's swords to be of that style, or that seal.

Correction: i just noticed that I calculated wrong, the age is right at 92 years, which puts it at 1919 which is right for Amanullah's period.

Last edited by AJ1356 : 24th December 2011 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 23rd December 2011, 11:35 PM   #3
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Salamam Aleikum ya AJ1356

I may said, that the cartouches aren't in Arabic
might be, in "patchoun" or "farsi" , I dunno

concerning the date,
it's correct to translate the mention (it's possible to translate by Arabic, due might be to some similitudes)
FI SANA HEGIRE 1298 either IN THE YEAR OF HEGIRE 1298 ... either 1880 Gregorian

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Old 23rd December 2011, 11:41 PM   #4
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Old 23rd December 2011, 11:59 PM   #5
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Thanks Rick

I'm mistaken , if I said, "great similitude" between the two swords ?

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Old 24th December 2011, 01:09 AM   #6
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DOM, the cartouches are not in Arabic but the date is written in Arabic, which is why I said it is peculiar. Also if we go the Lunar way and put the age at 1880 something (don't remember what year you wrote) then it makes the sword more suspect. Because the seal we have on the sword and this style of swords are after the 3rd Anglo-Afghan wars, which puts us at around 1919 or newer. That seal was first used by King Amanullah who became king in 1919 and subsequently started the modernization and standardization of the country and army, plus getting closer to the Ruskies, unfortunately that was his downfall since it pissed off the Brits and they used the mullahs to bring him down.
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Old 24th December 2011, 02:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1356
DOM, the cartouches are not in Arabic but the date is written in Arabic, which is why I said it is peculiar.
Hi
on mode vernacular, Arabic vocabulary is present as well as, in Persan, Pachtou, Ourdou ..and sure, some other languages
for instance, I've a "Pala" with 2 cartouches in Turkish, no understanding
BUT ... , the 3rd, a small cartouche where in mentioned ; owner name, and date, every thing it's like in Arabic, does it's Arabic really, I dunno
may be comun to all those languages
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1356
Also if we go the Lunar way and put the age at 1880 something (don't remember what year you wrote)
I'm using a "dates converter"
http://www.islamicfinder.org/dateCo...8&date_result=1

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Old 24th December 2011, 11:24 AM   #8
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The above mentioned languages is influenced by Arabic, as in Arabic or Arabic based letters are used. They are thier own individual languages and anyone familiar with them would not mistake one with another. For example Arabic has 28 letters Farsi has 32 letters Pashto has somewhere around 44 and Urdu falls somewhere between the 2. Now I read write and speak Farsi and Pashtu, with a little understanding of Arabic and much more of Urdu. The date converter is all dandy except I bet it is based on Lunar. On this side of the world we use Hijree Shamsi (Solar). As you know every 100 Lunar years equals to roughly 94 Solar years that is why ه ق is at 1433 while ه ش is at 1390 both have the same start date. I hope all this explains why I said what I said

The sword above has the blade from this type of sword, one can notice the stamped seal and also 13 for the first digits of the year. http://www.geocities.ws/ar0se/Arms/afghan/afghan.html
I still need better pictures to get to the bottom of the translation.

Addition after my correction above: I showed the pictures to someone else who thinks the sword is new not old.

Last edited by AJ1356 : 24th December 2011 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 24th December 2011, 11:59 AM   #9
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very funny ...
If neither of the Arab, the Farsi, or Pashto, or even Urdu, there is only the Turk
beside some other languages ​​using the Arabic alphabet

expecting that our "Brother" Zifir, will have some time, to give us his point of view ...
might be he has the "mouftar el bab" (the door key) ... the solution key

anyway very intriguing

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Old 24th December 2011, 12:11 PM   #10
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I actually never looked closely at the poems, I only did the date part. I was looking at it earlier and wrote it down partly, it is in Farsi. But a picture without flash or clearer would help me see parts of it better and make sense of it. I am not familiar with this poem so I can not fill in the blanks.
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Old 24th December 2011, 01:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1356
wrote it down partly, it is in Farsi.
Bravo alek
slowly, the veil began to lift up

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Old 27th December 2011, 02:42 AM   #12
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I apologize for my delay in responding. I have been away on travels. Interesting discussing so far and am happy to provide some better pictures to hopefully continue the discussion. Will do so within a few days. Cheers.
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Old 27th December 2011, 05:27 AM   #13
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Interesting to see these type Afghan swords come up, and well observed by Dom in post #5...there is indeed a powerful similitude in the sword in the photo to these.
I first noticed the same when I acquired one of these some years ago and saw this photo in a book titled "Northwest Frontier" (Arthur Swinson, 1967).
The tall man in the photo wearing the similar hilt sword is General Daod Shah, a Ghilzai tribesman and the commander in chief for Amir Mohammed Yukub Khan of Afghanistan. The photo was May of 1879 at the signing of the Treaty of Gandamak, which unfortunately did not cease hostilities forthwith.

While this particular sword has considerable embellishment, many Afghan swords, especially of this type, were stamped with a cartouche containing the mosque and mihrab facing Mecca. Though presumed to represent the Blue Mosque at Mazir i Sharif that is not definitively established, and most of the dates on the swords with the stamp range from c.1893 into 1904 with many undated.
The mosque image became the official device on the Afghan flag around 1901 but was clearly used during the reigh of Abdur Rahman Khan from 1880 unti, his death in 1901....under his son Habibullah Khan the flag was designed and used until end of the 3rd Anglo-Afghan war 1919.

During the conflicts and into the 3rd Anglo Afghan war, many of these type swords were in use, many refurbished either in the Kabul armoury and many by the tribal lashkars which augmented the regular Afghan army. This is likely the reason a number of these kinds of hilts are found on the familiar Khyber knife blades.

It will be interesting to know more on the date shown here as the character of the embellishment suggests possible influential status for this sword.
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Old 28th December 2011, 12:19 AM   #14
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Here are some, hopefully, better pictures to assist with the translation and hopefully giving us more insight into this piece.
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Old 28th December 2011, 01:09 PM   #15
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RSWORD, hopefully the earlier statements were helpfull, specially the corrected parts. Here is the final version
Sword is marked (In the year 1919) I'm leaving out other stuff since it has already been covered. That is the year it is marked to be made. The year and the seal are right with the reign of Amir Amanullah. (that is when that seal was adoped and continued of to sometime within Zaher Shah's reign It is called the Mehraab and Munbar)(Mehraab and Munbar is still being used in the Afghan seal)
Now to the poetry, on the first picture there is the last word that I am unable to make sense of.
چو مهر تیغ گذار و چو صبح غافلگیر cho mehr taigh gudaaz o cho subh ghaafelgeer
چو عقل راهنمای و چو شرع ممممممم cho 'aql raahnumaaye o cho shar' .......

مهر means sun here ,it is the old name for the sun, now Aaftaabb is used, and rays of sun are like blades that is why the word تیغ is used (just incase some one can read and not know why i translated the way I did)

Like the Sun (lets say fast with the blade pretty much what is means) and like the Morning surprising (Dude is so fast he is like the sun with the blade and surprising like the morning)
Like wisdom, guiding and like religion........( could not make that, whatever religion is let's say that)

کمال صوبتم از حیله کَسان فارغ kamaal e sobatam az heela e kasaan faaregh
بنای هِمَتم از منت خسان آزاد banaay e hemattam az mennat e khasaan aazaad

Sobat, means land and wealth or what not. Kasaan could also be read as Kusaan, but I doubt it would be used in a poem, however it would mmke for a funny translation.

My wealth is out (side the reach of) people (pussies if we choose the second way of reading)
The building of my will is free of the credit of nobodies ( Khas is a weed or string og dead grass or a pine needle, Khas or khasaan (many) is referred to someone who is a nobody)

Trying to make sense of Farsi poetry in English is hard but I hope that was helpfull. The poems are right with the date, as now adays no one is using some of these words. What makes me think the item is new is because unless this was a museum peice, there is no way some one kept it in such a nice shape, most poeple see gold and scrape it off, effectively ruining the item. Plus the blades always rust specially on governmental swords since they were mass produced and metal quality was not high. nice sword either way.
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Old 28th December 2011, 09:15 PM   #16
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Many thanks for the translation and information. It is indeed very helpful and provides some insight into this sword and perhaps who might have owned it. The sword is not new. The blade has been professionally polished which revealed a very nice pattern welded blade. Prior to that restoration, the blade had a fair bit of patina. The leather on the scabbard is old and it is missing its chape. The guard, backstrap and top scabbard mount are all wootz, not very likely in a new sword. While the majority of the ones you see are in poor condition, I would venture to say that presentation pieces like this one were held onto and preserved in much better condition. Perhaps the original owner had the means to preserve it. The person I acquired this from stated he had owned it for 30+ years and I have no reason to doubt them. In my experience of collecting these swords, including many Afghan pieces over the years, you find a wide, huge variety of condition. Everything from 200+ years old yet still pristine to 100 years old and beat to crap. Of course, I have the advantage of having the piece in hand to make many of those types of determinations and giving that I am confident it is not a newly made sword. I think it is exactly of the period suggested and most likely originally carried by a person of means. Also, keep in mind that presentation pieces were not mass produced. Much more effort and expense went into producing those, hence the better than average quality.

Given your ability to translate Farsi I have another piece that I believe is in Farsi. Would you mind having a look?
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Old 29th December 2011, 12:49 AM   #17
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Now it makes sense, mentioning that little detail in the begining would have helped. sure put up some pics and I'll translate it.

Last edited by AJ1356 : 29th December 2011 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 29th December 2011, 05:22 PM   #18
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Thanks again for your translation assistance. Here are pictures of the piece I believe with Farsi inscription.
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Old 30th December 2011, 01:20 PM   #19
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One the first pic the top one is the Shahaada, however the last part of is readable (محمد رسول الله ) Mohammad Rasoul ullah. Under it یاعلی Yaa Ali is readable. The rest, I could not make anything out of it, I tried to make sense of it in Farsi, Pashtu and could not make out anything coherent out it. Could be Arabic, but who knows. If I can't make something properly I just leave it, I'm not gonna be like this could be this or that, it wont do the translation any justice.
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Old 30th December 2011, 11:02 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1356
Could be Arabic,
unfortunately, sentence fell from the lips of my translator ... it's not Arabic
hard luck

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