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Old 9th March 2012, 08:02 PM   #1
SERGIU
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Default yataghan fencing

serbian realist painter Paja Jovanovic created some fantastic works about Balkan "wild east"- including this image showing a fencing lesson given to a young boy by his father and grandfather .Note the belosapac yat and the long qama or kindjal used by the kid, and the short bichaq in his shiloh.

the second painting is "The return of the montenegrins from battle", also great accuracy in depicting weaponry and clothing.The harambasa in front carries a long djeferdar rifle on his shoulder, and a pair of rat-tail albanian zlatka pistols from prizren plus a belosapac yat in his shiloh. Behind him, two turkish foot soldiers ,hands tied and another prisoner on horse far behind.

the third image shows a wild fellow dancing with yats .Again, a pair of zlatkas on his waist. The old man clapping hands on the right has a shishana janissary musket.

Paja Jovanovic-remember him
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Old 9th March 2012, 08:29 PM   #2
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Great pictures - closest we have to a fencing manual for yats!
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Old 9th March 2012, 09:21 PM   #3
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Very strange: the attack and the parrying are edge-to-edge. This was universally avoided in all "fencing" cultures I know of.
In the second pic, the length of the yataghan is extraordinary. Any actual examples of similar ones?
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Old 9th March 2012, 10:10 PM   #4
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I would be careful with realist paintings, as their authors worked in an era of rising nationalism and their works were aimed at portraying a rather romantic and epic picture of a bygone era. The level of accuracy in the description of the arms is not surprising, as the arms survived in museum collections and were readily available to the artists. As far as the usage of those arms, well, I am not sure how much of that Jovanovic was able to see first hand in his time.
Now, I am sure that there were certain techniques for fighting with the yataghan that were studied and practiced by men in the Balkans. From all the memoirs of haiduts who used it, I have been able to derive very little, and it mostly comes down to some very energetic swinging and chopping away at close quarters, when it has become a weapon of last resort. Given the emphasis on ambushing tactics in the mountainous and heavily wooded Balkan terrain, my impression is that sharpshooting with firearms was given a lot more practice than fencing, with skirmishers preferring to snipe at each other from long distance.
Regards,
Teodor
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Old 10th March 2012, 09:34 AM   #5
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Thanks for the beautifull paintings! I have to strongly agree with Teodor's comments. We should not take these paintings as "photographs" of real situations... Another aspect that we have to take in account about some orientalistic paintings (not these ones!), is that they have been made in a western city by painters that sometimes have never travelled to the eastern places. The weapons are depicted accurately, because they bought real examples from bazaars, but their mixture is sometimes strange! For example caucasian pistols, together with african weapons and persian helmets!
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Old 10th March 2012, 12:53 PM   #6
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interesting middle picture. it seems very accurate. note the round tower upper left with the gun protruding from the firing slit. also note the opening to the left and down which appears to be the opening for a garderobe (latrine) with it's accurately portrayed stains

the main figure's yat does appear to be longer than normal. as does the one in the dancing painting's leaping dancer.

the upper picture with the lad being shown how to parry, to me at least, looks like the blade contact is with the flat rather than the edge or spine.

all in all, a great set of paintings, glad you posted them, Sergiu!
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Old 10th March 2012, 05:44 PM   #7
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jovanovic noticed the interest of western Europe for the wild Balkans and created a great number of paintings with this theme.He travelled in the Balkan region taking sketches and reaching the ottoman lands and even North Africa(1880-1883).
His workshop in Vienna looked like our museum arsenal, dozens of yats and shamshirs, lots of long tancica and roga rifles ,shishanas and some superb djeferdars. Walls were full of coats of arms, pairs of pistols and garderobe included toke vests in silver.I looked for the pictures of his workshop but no avail-I saw those pics in a book about Jovanovic printed in his hometown Vrsac I will post them later
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Old 10th March 2012, 06:08 PM   #8
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Interesting pictures. The postures in the first picture raises some questions about the authenticity of the depiction. Especially the child's posture (which seems the invitation in first) reminds Western style fencing and I doubt it would be hardly useful with a yatağan.
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Old 10th March 2012, 06:18 PM   #9
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more great pictures. i also wondered at the position in the 1st picture, a simple move of the seated old guy's hand bending the wrist down to slide his blade along the lad's, and there would be young fingers on the floor (and a couple old ones from his assisting mentor). the lad's blade is not poised to be able to do the same.

i note the yataghan of the posturing man in the newer series of pics again is quite a large one. either that or the man is quite small

when i was measured as a cadet for my coast guard officers sword prior to commissioning , the required length was chosen by measuring from my hand vertically to the ground such that the blade tip would not hit the ground during saluting & flourishing it at drills & parades. mine was 28 inches (71.1 cm.) which was about a half inch short of hitting the deck if i pointed it down while at attention...

the man is shown with his yat tip on the ground, blade at an angle & his wrist seems relaxed with his arm also not vertical. this geometry suggests the blade is well in excess of 28 inches, or he is considerably shorter than my 5 ft. 8.5 inches (172.7 cm) height.


p.s. - one of my classmates borrowed a sword for a parade (we had them every saturday morning prior to being let off on liberty), while flourishing it in salute, the tip did indeed hit the ground (grass parade field). there was a loud 'TINK' as the blade broke at the hilt & he was rather embarrassed to have to carry the bladeless hilt around during the pass-in-review parade before the admiral as if it it had an imaginary blade. i was very glad that was not me! taught me that parade swords made of stainless steel were not a good idea. when i bought mine, i paid extra for a real heat treated carbon steel blade. (the tv shopping channel video on youtube of the salesman breaking a stainless chinese katana also comes to mind )

i also recall another cadet officer who managed to skewer his hat off his head as he raised his sword in salute when passing the admiral taking the review. the peals of laughter from not only the watching families and friends but the marching cadets who saw it happen was never commented on. much. how i managed not to do a similar feat i do not know. maybe being the varsity epee team captain helped.

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Old 10th May 2020, 10:36 AM   #10
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One has to look at Jovanovic's paintings in their historic context:
first the rise of the pan-slavism in the Balkans after 1867
secondly the insurrection in Herzegowina in 1878

So when he painted "the Fencing lesson" in 1884 and "The Sword Dance" in 1890 he did so with some enthusiasm and a little artistic artistic freedom to emphasize the visualisation of the stories of independance and resistance these peoples grew up with. A certain Gavrilo amongst them...
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Old 10th May 2020, 10:43 AM   #11
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One has to look at Jovanovic's paintings in their historic context:
first the rise of the pan-slavism in the Balkans after 1867
secondly the insurrection in Herzegowina in 1878

So when he painted "the Fencing lesson" in 1884 and "The Sword Dance" in 1890 he did so with some enthusiasm and a little artistic artistic freedom to emphasize the visualisation of the stories of independance and resistance these peoples grew up with. A certain Gavrilo amongst them...

He also made "Furor Teutonicus " a monumental oil painting (24 square meters) made in 1899 describing the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.
It went missing after being in the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts, thought this sketch has survived.
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Old 11th May 2020, 04:28 AM   #12
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How on earth could the museum lose a 24 sq. m. picture?
4x6 meters!

One can make a blockbuster movie out of it.
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Old 11th May 2020, 10:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
How on earth could the museum lose a 24 sq. m. picture?
4x6 meters!

One can make a blockbuster movie out of it.


That's only 1/10000 of a square mile. Hardly big enough to decorate Michael Jackson's smallest downstairs toilet.
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Old 11th May 2020, 10:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
How on earth could the museum lose a 24 sq. m. picture?
4x6 meters!

One can make a blockbuster movie out of it.


Corruption, bribery or political influence.
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Old 11th May 2020, 10:40 AM   #15
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Termites
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Old 11th May 2020, 01:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren
Termites


Termites don't fence with swords, they use flame throwers.
Термиты не используют мечи, они используют огнеметы.
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Old 11th May 2020, 01:56 PM   #17
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The artist repainted his oils at least twice.
See color illustrations numbered in the order of appearance:
#3 and #6
#4 and #5
Added something, removed something.... But the central figures and some of the secondary ones are virtually identical. Probably, he made multiple copies with the aura of originality for different customers.
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Old 11th May 2020, 07:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
The artist repainted his oils at least twice.
See color illustrations numbered in the order of appearance:
#3 and #6
#4 and #5
Added something, removed something.... But the central figures and some of the secondary ones are virtually identical. Probably, he made multiple copies with the aura of originality for different customers.


Reminds me actually of "Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi at the Uffizi Gallery in Firenze and Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Napoli at around 1598-99
( although slightly off topic being no yataghans...)
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Old 16th May 2020, 07:28 PM   #19
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Some more on the painter : He was actually Sane gjaki/Sandjaki, which is a corridor region created as a buffer caused by the fear of panslavism in which the majority of to the Islam converted people live when the Ottoman empire had to withdraw from South East Europe conform the Treaty of San Stefano:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_San_Stefano
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanjak

Hence he was not a Serb as such and his name was Paja Jovonovi, which slavesized became Jovanovic
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Old 16th May 2020, 08:09 PM   #20
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After looking at this again, I will admit that in this picture, the boy does look like he is being instructed in espada y daga:
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Old 17th May 2020, 01:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Very strange: the attack and the parrying are edge-to-edge.


Really Ariel? I think we have this discussed before, I doubt that by a real fencing where it going about someones life that you can be able to avoid edge-to-edge parrying.

See for example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5w2Mh6CyXo

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 20th May 2020, 06:36 PM   #22
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Itís all fair in the heat of a fight. Instruction of a child is a different ball of wax.
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Old 20th May 2020, 06:54 PM   #23
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Yes, Jovanovich was not the only painter reproducing his paintings on more than one occasion.
Perhaps, the saddest story was the life of a Russian painter A. Savrasov.
By all accounts, he was not great; rather pretty middling artist. But his oil " The rooks have arrived" became a sensation in 1871. It was so famous that the Tsar's family ordered a copy for their private collection. Neither before, nor after that did Savrasov paint anything even remotely comparable.
Unfortunately, his severe alcoholism and likely inherent mental illness destroyed him completely. He was known to paint copies of his famous painting for a glass of vodka in a span of 2-3 hours. There are many authentic copies of it of different orientation , vertical and horizontal, different sizes, - all according to the specifications of a prospective buyer.

He died on the streets.
Tragic story....
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Old 20th May 2020, 07:33 PM   #24
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This is how they fight
but i prefer love...
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Old 21st May 2020, 03:01 AM   #25
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The Yat of the left hyanded guy seems a bit distorted, the scarf tied around his hand seems logical tho, in lieu of a sword knot.

Took me a minute to see the lady was carrying a Yat too.
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Old 21st May 2020, 04:35 AM   #26
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I'm wondering why he didn't just plug the other guy with the Gasser that's stuck in his sash. Now he's about to get an uninvited ear wax removal because he didn't.
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Old 21st May 2020, 08:02 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I'm wondering why he didn't just plug the other guy with the Gasser that's stuck in his sash. Now he's about to get an uninvited ear wax removal because he didn't.


Either not loaded, or dropped after he fired it after using it to fire his last charge.
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