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Old 11th November 2005, 06:31 PM   #1
B.I
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Question Islamic/Eastern European Crossguard

hi,
i am currently looking into the origins and dating system for this specific type of quillion block.
all books tend to assume the earliest form goes to the 17thC (and of course into the 19thC), but i wonder if this assumption is becauce few (if any) earlier examples exist. i personally feel it could go a few hundred years earlier.
please note the proportions, the rounded quillion ends and the ridge before the elongated ball-ends.
these hilts were on eastern european as well as islamic swords so i was hoping i could tap into some knowledge of other cultures on this forum.
unfortunately, this is for academic use and so hard data (in known swords and iconography) are needed as apposed to speculation.
the swords in yucels book are of no use, as the hilts of this type are of a later date.
i feel the answers may lie in eastern europe, but am hoping a mamluk or ottoman reference will show itself. the proportions have to be very similar, or at least the quillion ends (and not the width of the block).
much appreciated, as ever.
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Old 11th November 2005, 06:43 PM   #2
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Hello B.I , Is not academic in many cases just speculation by an appointed body. Is this information not easily found in museums where the qualified academics reside. Good luck with your research. Tim
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Old 12th November 2005, 10:40 AM   #3
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hi tim,
everything can be classed as speculation, as it is all down to opinion. the general consensus (in print and museums) is that this hilt form is of a 17thC date. however, i dont consider their opinion any more valid than some members of this forum, so a discussion here can unveil information that they havent accessed as yet. also, sometimes they are clouded by their own views and less likely to take a risk in assuming something that they will be asked to prove.
what i am attempting is to open up their trail of thought and push it past assumption. the only way i can do this is by finding earlier iconography, or similar forms that can to related in some way. i never rely soley on print, as i know there is much inforamtion that has never been written down. however, this is a good starting point for others to pick up on.
this happened with my islamic crossbow post, in that members pulled in all their own individual research to a common question, and i had a mass of information to back up my opinion. but, as you say this is only ammunition for my own views, but i think that is all we can offer (unless someone has a photograph taken in the 16thC, which would be great :-)
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Old 12th November 2005, 12:59 PM   #4
Jens Nordlunde
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Hi Brian,
While we are looking, you might as well ask Ann about the excavations at Merv and other places, as she may be able to come up with an early quillon block.
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Old 12th November 2005, 11:36 PM   #5
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[font=&quot]Ok, so, just to set the ball rolling, here I put some swords from the Military Museum in Istanbul that are labelled as 16th c. and that allegedly belonged to some of the Ottoman rulers of that time. Sadly, I know nothing about the reasons that may support such attributions (I suppose the inscriptions in the blade may have something to do with it) nor how reliable may they be.
In fact, I'm afraid I must confess I don't know enough about "eastern" swords of this period to really feel comfortable discussing the finer points of the origin of a crossguard typology, but I happened to have these pictures and thought they could contribute to this subject...
[/font]
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Old 12th November 2005, 11:37 PM   #6
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By the way, for more and much more detailed pictures, HERE is where I found them.
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Old 13th November 2005, 01:15 AM   #7
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Astvatsaturjan, page 85, dates first sabres of this type to XVIth century.
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Old 14th November 2005, 06:29 AM   #8
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hi,
thanks for the replies.
jens, i dont think the answer will appear in merv, but will happily ask ann. i am hoping that wolviex will join in (hint) or aqtai/kirill as i feel the answer will be in ottoman/mamluk/eastern europe.
marc, thank you for the images. the blades you show are wonderful, but unfortunately it is these swords that are leading the arguements against me. all the hilts are later. whilst i would hope the quillion blocks could have been original, the grips are definately a latr addition. the grip would have been slightly slanted off to one side with a pommel cap. btw, can you read french (an obscure and unrelated question)
kirill, this is interesting but can you expand as my 'great' library always seems ridiculously inadequate when you quote sources
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Old 14th November 2005, 08:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.I
marc, thank you for the images. the blades you show are wonderful, but unfortunately it is these swords that are leading the arguements against me. all the hilts are later. whilst i would hope the quillion blocks could have been original, the grips are definately a latr addition. the grip would have been slightly slanted off to one side with a pommel cap. btw, can you read french (an obscure and unrelated question)
(


Thought so, but I felt it was at least worth a try. I'll keep my eyes open, anyway.
Yes, I can read French if I have to and there's no hurry. Why? E-mail me, if you want, just for not adding unrelated posts to this thread.
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Old 14th November 2005, 09:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.I
kirill, this is interesting but can you expand as my 'great' library always seems ridiculously inadequate when you quote sources


Sorry about that. Attached are:
late "mamluk" (??) , and two "turkish" sabres, XVI century.
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Old 14th November 2005, 10:24 PM   #11
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This sword is attributed to the Mamluk Sultan El-Adel Tumanbay and is dated 1501 AD. The sword is of "kilij" type and is in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, although I have never actually seen it. the picture comes from Esin Atil's "Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks".



Atil describes the crosspiece as being made of gilt silver. Judging by the appearence of the hilt I have a suspicion that it may be an Ottoman replacement, although Atil makes no mention of this.

The reason for my suspicion being that this hilt is quite different to the 15th century Mamluk hilts depicted in Yucel's book.

The links below illustrate what I'm wittering on about:
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y1...S/ISAS_54_1.jpg
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y1...SAS/ISAS_59.jpg
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y1...id-15th_C_1.jpg
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Old 16th November 2005, 09:42 AM   #12
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This is my first thread here, so I would like to welcome all of You, i find this forum very interesting and profesional.

The sabre was brought to europe by a few nations (or tribes) - the Avars, Magyars, Pechenegs and the Kipchaks. Today we can find a lot of early medival (VIII - XI century) sabres in Ukraine, Hungry, Slovakia and Poland (well only two, but i had to mention ).

Below - Kirpichnikov's sabre crossguard typology XI-XIII century


A Xth century sabre from Chernihiv (ukraine)


A Magyar sabre found in Poland (near Przemyśl)
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Old 24th November 2005, 04:25 PM   #13
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Default apologies

ahem...
i really apologise for the rude habit of going missing on my own posts. thank you to all that posted.

kirill, this is exactly the type of hilt shape i am looking for, but the quillion block must be more like the one i illustrated. the flattened, eared type that you show are accepted as genuine, but the rounded 'lobed' type i am after are the ones thought to be 17thC and not any earlier.

aqtai, thanks again for the image. i believe the hilt type you show is much later, which is a shame as it is a variation of the type i am looking for.

siwy, welcome to the forum, and i have always thought the answer to this may lie in eastern europe. the examples you show are of a different type, but i still hold out hope for my polish and eastern european friends (michal?)

i have attached some early pieces from the topkapi (sorry for the poor quality). where many of the swords were thought to have later hilts, these are clearly early and more like the one i am after (although the quillions are somewhat longer).

an early mamluk/hungarian miniature would be a wonderful find!!
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Old 2nd December 2005, 03:02 PM   #14
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Astvatsaturjan is very specific in attributing the attached kilij to 16th century. I do not know if it is what you are looking for.
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Old 13th December 2005, 05:24 PM   #15
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hi kirill,
late again! apologies.
yes, this is exactly what i mean, and the sword you show is of the same ilk as the last pics i posted. i think what i am looking for is the same, but maybe a little shorter in width, and definate dating.
please keep looking.
appreciated, as always.
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Old 13th December 2005, 09:39 PM   #16
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Hi Brian,
Outstanding topic for discussion!! It seems almost ironic that specific elements of hilt construction are often ignored in discussions of the development of various hilt forms, yet they are often the most distinctive features in recognizing the forms themselves. I must admit I cannot place any examples of the crossguard you show prior to the 17th century but completely agree that they must date considerably earlier, and certainly among the sabres of Islamic regions as well as Eastern Europe. It seems that there were crossguards with langets on Turkish/Hungarian sabres of 16th c.*. It would seem the best course to follow would be the development of the langet itself.

It does not seem that the langet occurred on early forms of broadsword but later as hilts developed, a sort of rudimentary extension began to appear on lower part of the center of the guard. In some reading describing various hilts I have seen the 'slide' (langet) described specifically to secure the sword tightly in the scabbard, preventing excessive movement and dulling of the blade. This seems consistant with development of the sabres whose very effectiveness depended on their sharpness.

I agree that while the early dates of the swords seen in Yucel seem for the most part reliable, the mountings are certainly later and do not reflect the original mountings necessarily. It is difficult to rely on iconographic sources also, as the degree of license applied by the artist is indeterminable.

Although I cant offer much more here than is clearly already established, I'm glad you have brought this up, and as you have noted, the discussion can turn up compiled data from the resources among the guys here (beautifully evidenced already in the thread !

As always, in wonderland....curioser, and curioser!!!!!
All the best,
Jim

* Wagner "Cut & Thrust Weapons" p.209, plate 4, line drawings only
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Old 13th December 2005, 10:08 PM   #17
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hi jim,
glad to see you back here!!!
i too think the answer will lie in eastern europe. most people are too caught up with the little known, or too cautious to attempt to push a date back 100 years. i could be wrong, but i have scant reference outside india, so am still hoping.
although the topkapi swords have meen rehilted (most of them), some of the hilts still date to the 16thC.
attached is quite close, although the dimensions are a little different. i dont doubt that this hilt is 16thC, but still am looking for one closer to my drawing.
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Old 13th December 2005, 11:35 PM   #18
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Hi Brian,
Good to be back!! Thank you!
I am noticing in "Armi Bianchi Italiene" a number of the swords ancestors of the schiavona from 1480-90 (plates 150-162) most of which have distinct langets descending from the crossguard center. Some of these are rudimentary while others are of substantial length and suggest practical application rather than simply aesthetic application. The source for the influence of many weapons is found in early swords of Italy, since Venice was the profound superpower of trade in those times. The diffusion of these forms certainly entered the Eastern European sphere, although I am not suggesting this may have been the only possibility for the development of the langet.
Many early falchions seem to have had a pronounced central block on the crossguard, and it would seem that an aesthetically pleasing design may have evolved incorporating an interpretation of the quatrefoil, thus the addition of the upper langet. It seems that geometric harmony often found in architecture in many cases corresponds to the structure found in sword hilts, just as the stupa presumably corresponds to the domes on tulwar hilts.

Just observation for thought, but seemed plausible enough for further research.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 15th December 2005, 12:49 PM   #19
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Hello Brian!

First of all my apologies I wasn't here from the beginning as you expected, but somehow I didn't pay attention to this thread, and I've just missed it . Now seeing how many petitions were send to me, I feel honor bound to answer, but I'm afraid that knowledge and resources aren't always with willingness in pair.

It's really hard to find such hilts earlier than in 17th century, when they were spread around the world through Persia to Poland and to other countries. I always had the feeling (and maybe I'm wrong!) that dating of eastern/islamic objects is always problematic and very often not precisely, because of very preservative forms which existed through the centuries. Those beautiful sabres dated on 16th century seems to be later too (anyway the hilts seems to be later), and (knowing Museum reality) very often some objects are attributed to persons (like Sultans, Kings, noblemens, heroes) only because of the tradition. Then you can read "16th" or "17th century" even if curators are sure they're later. It only complicates even obvious facts, and is making the researches harder.

Here are two pictures. I'm not quite sure this is what you're looking for, but lets make another try in this thread. First picture is more important, because it refers to sabre from 13th century (from book: David Nicolle, Early Medieval Islamic Arms and Armour, Madrid 1973). The exact sabre is brighter. Second picture is from catalogue Orez Perski (Persian Arms and armour) by A. R. Chodynski, and is showing hilts of Persian sabres through the ages (classification made by Lech Kobylinski).
Hope it will help somehow

Regards
Michal
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