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Old 23rd November 2005, 11:56 AM   #1
eftihis
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Default Turkish sword with European influence?

Dear friends,
I bought the sword in the photos bellow by an auction house that described it as a "18th century Turkish (?) sword"
What is your opinion? The sword seems even older than that, maybe even 17th century, but where it comes from? The guard reminds me european swords of that period, so could this be a hybrid of turksh and european elements? Maybe made by a an armourer that was once Christian and then became muslim and worked for the Turks?
There is a makers mark on the blade, i hope it shows in the photo.
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Old 23rd November 2005, 01:03 PM   #2
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The blade and handle look like a saif or nimcha to me but the ring guard certainly does not fit that sword. A great find and I cannot wait to see what those who know more have to say.
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Old 23rd November 2005, 01:14 PM   #3
Jens Nordlunde
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Eftihis, I have a funny feeling that the Ďbasketí could have been added later Ė has it?
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Old 23rd November 2005, 02:31 PM   #4
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Jens,

It is a very interesting sword, probably 17th century North African work-- don't see anything which suggests Ottoman forms. It is fitted with a trade blade, earlier than average one too, I imagine it is quite long for the type. Most likely it was assembled using or duplicating a rapier-type guard which the owner found more effective in protecting his hand than a standard Nimcha guard. This guard may have been reused at some point as the knucklebow finial has been bent over a bit in order to correspond in length to the pommel.
Anthony North, formerly of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, published an excellent article on the origin of the Nimcha in Connoisseur Magazine back in the 70s. As I recall he identifies its progenitor as a little-known Italian saber of the early 16th century. It is an excellent article which proves his point admirably.

Sincerely,

Ham

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Old 23rd November 2005, 05:58 PM   #5
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I agree with Ham: nothing to suggest later soldering of the European guard on the pre-existing Nimcha guars. This sword was likely born this way. Tremendously interesting example of a "fusion sword".
Let's not forget, however, that the movement went the other way as well: the Europeans liked Nimchas so much that they produced swords with a similar guard for a long time and when David was charged with the responsibility of designing a sword for the French Revolutionary guards, he used Nimcha as an example.
Bidirectional crosspollination (rather pompous but true definition).
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Old 23rd November 2005, 06:46 PM   #6
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It is odd to see a slashing cavalry sword with a thrusting rapier type hilt but it looks like it was always made that way. It may well not be three centuries old. I can not think of many 17/18 century European cavalry swords with a rapier basket. Tim
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Old 23rd November 2005, 06:49 PM   #7
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Red face

Why then could this not be an early Italian sabre rather than an Italianate style Nimcha ?
I'm sure there's an obvious answer; but I'm missing it .
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Old 23rd November 2005, 06:59 PM   #8
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I am not an expert on European swords but I am sure this is not Italian craftmanship from the 1600s especially the sword of a wealthy man. To me it is North African 1800s why it has the rapier basket I do not know, If you look closely you can see one of the quillions has been braised back on and rather crudely. Tim
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Old 24th November 2005, 12:36 AM   #9
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I think it has an obviously North African blade. I have similar blades on Beduin and Nimcha swords.
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Old 24th November 2005, 06:03 AM   #10
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Jens,
There is also a possibility this is a Swiss saber which was regripped at some point in North Africa; it is compellingly similar to a number of published examples.

Sincerely,

Ham
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Old 24th November 2005, 12:44 PM   #11
Jens Nordlunde
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Ham, I donít know enough about European swords to be able to tell. How is the false edge on the Swiss swords you have seen illustrated?

Ariel, the blades on the Beduin and Nimcha swords you have, could they be trade blades?

Jens
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Old 24th November 2005, 07:20 PM   #12
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This is 17th century Italian work, pics from 1962 Wallace Collection catalogue. Tim
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Old 24th November 2005, 07:49 PM   #13
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Eftihis,

The blade on your sword is exemplary of the type usually found on Swiss sabers, backedge included. This link will take you to the only image of a Swiss saber I could find online-- it is the bottom one.*
http://www.thearma.org/essays/FAH/css.jpg
Please note that there are a variety of different forms of hilts and blades to Swiss sabers, this is just one. However yours falls well within the realm of its type.
The Italian saber to which North attributes the Nimcha's form is shown in Sword and Hilt Weapons, Coe et al, p. 77 left.

Sincerely,

Ham

*from an ARMA report by Derek Wassom

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Old 24th November 2005, 10:17 PM   #14
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Ham, with respect I cannot see the similarity, the Swiss blade and the one in question, to me are chalk and cheese. The number and quality of the fullers remind of some 19th century India talwars and not the best at that. The basket is far too crude for European work on a weapon of the standard requiring a basket. Tim
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Old 25th November 2005, 03:05 PM   #15
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These two are 18th century Italian. The work is so much more dramatic. Tim
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Old 25th November 2005, 05:13 PM   #16
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Tim,

There are scarce few Swiss sabers published, particularly online-- that example was accessible and reflects the form of such swords, i.e. a long, backedged blade of shallow curvature with complex guard and hooked pommel. Since all of these were made
1) from component parts
and
2) during a period of considerable formal and mechanical experimentation in ergonomics

one cannot expect precision in terms of comparison. Nonetheless, I was in Paris not long ago and saw 2 fine examples at the Musee de l'Armee, one of which is extremely similar to Eftihis' sword. These are both published in Zablocki's book CIECIA PRAWDZIWA SZABLA Pgs 337 and 339, incidentally.
As for what constitutes "Italian" swords, remember that Italy did not exist as a unified state until the latter 19th century. City states such as Venice, whence the two fine Schiavona swords you picture come, differ appreciably from those used for example, in Florence and other states-- in fact in the case of these swords, they derive from forms imported (along with their users) from across the Adriatic in Dalmatia.
While it may not be high art, I suspect that if cleaned a bit, the guard on Eftihis' sword would show to much better advantage. Bear in mind too, that it is quite worn. These swords are odd pairings of blade and hilt-- and a type worthy of greater research.

Sincerely,

Ham
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Old 25th November 2005, 06:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ham
Tim,

There are scarce few Swiss sabers published, particularly online-- that example was accessible and reflects the form of such swords, i.e. a long, backedged blade of shallow curvature with complex guard and hooked pommel. Since all of these were made
1) from component parts
and
2) during a period of considerable formal and mechanical experimentation in ergonomics


There are a few swiss sabres in the Photo Album section on myArmoury.com in the "Various European curved-bladed swords" section (http://www.myarmoury.com/albums/thumbnails.php?album=40). Very nice looking swords. I found one that had a similar looking blade and hilt, it was this Swiss cavalry sabre (http://www.myarmoury.com/albums/photo/1751.html).
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Old 25th November 2005, 07:03 PM   #18
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Yes many western and central European states were to form from principalities in the 19th century, I used Italy to ease conversation. This is an interesting topic, even the hilt form could be linked to European types if it was not such a rough example. The sword in question even has that double gillion on one side, so typical of North African swords. The blade could have come from Asia as much as Europe. The basket must surely be of European influence? The quality is just not there, you can see better quality on regulation troopers sabers. I feel if this was truly an old European influenced North African sword the quality would be there, after all many 19th century British officers swords were modelled on those of the Mamaluke. I might be persuaded that it is possibly 18th century but I doubt it. If there was a scabbard it would helpfull and I would then want it. Tim
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Old 25th November 2005, 07:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Ham, I donít know enough about European swords to be able to tell. How is the false edge on the Swiss swords you have seen illustrated?

Ariel, the blades on the Beduin and Nimcha swords you have, could they be trade blades?

Jens

Here they are. The Nimcha has an eyelash mark. They may be trade: far too uniform to derive from different localities.
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Old 25th November 2005, 07:35 PM   #20
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And here are 2 European Nimchas: the French one taken from Elgood's book, the British (dated 1617) ftom North's book. Bad quality pics but they give the idea.
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