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Old 24th November 2018, 08:49 PM   #1
William Fox
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Default Shamshir cartouche, calligraphy help

Dear Sirs,

Please see attached some close up photos I have taken of the calligraphy on a Persian sword that I own.

I was wondering if anyone can help with the translation of the various parts of this calligraphy.

Many thanks for any help.

Will
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Old 24th November 2018, 09:28 PM   #2
Ian
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Hi William.

Per Forum Policy, we require a picture of the complete sword for identifying inscriptions. Please see the sticky at the top of the Forum page.

Ian.
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Old 25th November 2018, 08:03 AM   #3
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I have uploaded obverse and reverse of the sword, and also some close ups running along the blade.

The cross guard is also made of crucible steel, but there is the faint trace of a gilded pattern on it.
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Old 25th November 2018, 04:13 PM   #4
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Fantastic sword! Maker could be Abu Zaman, compare to this https://www.instagram.com/p/BYtEF0wgUi1/
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Old 26th November 2018, 09:35 PM   #5
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Thank you. Thats a very similar cartouche. I am just hoping that someone who can translate this cartouche will see this posting. It would be lovely to know how old this blade is, and who made it. Sadly the grip plates are a badly fitting wood, which I think must be replacements. I oiled the blade with oil of cloves, and then rubbed it with Renaissance Wax. Hopefully this will protect the beautiful steel for a few more years to come.

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Originally Posted by Drabant1701
Fantastic sword! Maker could be Abu Zaman, compare to this https://www.instagram.com/p/BYtEF0wgUi1/
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Old 28th November 2018, 08:54 PM   #6
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That is a Shamshiir and is expertly done in a dominant ladder pattern. I will have my interpreter have a look at the script although it is bound to be one of the standard famous artisan style inscriptions even though to me what is just as important is the magic square treatment ...Talismanic and great to see on this blade.
I suspect the hilt has shrunk away from its metal mounting but you might be lucky in repairing that with continued treatment and oiling...
I will get back to the translation in a day or two...
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Old 29th November 2018, 06:57 PM   #7
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Some points on the Translation. As with many translation puzzles I always try to get a couple of translators to have a go at these cartouches and inlays... They are so interesting.

Firstly I have broken it down as the more difficult are in the cartouch but the lower one appears to give the makers name The Work of etc... I will try to have that done in due course...…Whereas there is Persian in the cartouche the long line of work below is from the Holy Koran and is in this case Arabic.

On the longer line of Arabic script I give an example phonetically as nasrun min allah wa fathun qareeb which means essentially ..With Gods help we will win this battle. I think that is a reasonable line of writing to have on a blade...
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Old 30th November 2018, 01:16 AM   #8
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Dear Ibrahiim,

Thank you for taking the time to help me with this, I am indebted to you.

So the Arabic script running along the blade says: "With Gods help we will win this battle."

The upper cartouche and lower cartouche look slightly more complex, but I await with great anticipation the views of your translator friends.

The talismanic square I find fascinating. At first I thought this was a date of some kind, but am now intrigued that it has a far more cryptic and spiritual meaning.

Please can you tell me something more about the use of such devices?

Kind regards

Will

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Some points on the Translation. As with many translation puzzles I always try to get a couple of translators to have a go at these cartouches and inlays... They are so interesting.

Firstly I have broken it down as the more difficult are in the cartouch but the lower one appears to give the makers name The Work of etc... I will try to have that done in due course...…Whereas there is Persian in the cartouche the long line of work below is from the Holy Koran and is in this case Arabic.

On the longer line of Arabic script I give an example phonetically as nasrun min allah wa fathun qareeb which means essentially ..With Gods help we will win this battle. I think that is a reasonable line of writing to have on a blade...
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Old 30th November 2018, 08:23 PM   #9
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Dear Ibrahiim,

Thank you so much for your kind help and interest!

I look forward to learning what the upper and lower cartouche mean, and I am also very excited to learn more about talismanic squares.

Have you got any recommendations on books published in English about the subject of Persian swords?

Kind regards
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Old 2nd December 2018, 07:48 PM   #10
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Thanks for the questions.. Essentially The man with more books than you can even imagine is Jim McDougall who has what amounts to a great big mobile bookmobile full of such publications and Im sure he would be delighted to give you some ideas. I tend to focus on the Forum Library and web which is filled with excellent papers and posts on such subjects See http://auctionsimperial.com/om-the-...of-assad-allah/ for an idea on Persian master sword makers and the apparent system of placing the makers name on high quality blades as a kind of trade mark or quality marker down the centuries … This also happened on European weapons with the name Andrea Ferrera and others …
The site owner, Lee, has a very important document on your blade with note as I recall of the Bedou or magic square format with a letter in each square and this is Talisman by nature … I tried digging it up but although I know its in there I cannot find it... Im sure it will pop up...

The reference I have given is also important as it gives another Ladder formation in a picture...on the site... The author; Oliver Pinchot, is about as expert as you can get on this weapon form and more like it.. and sets down a brilliant treatise.

Last edited by Ian : 3rd December 2018 at 06:04 AM. Reason: Correcting format of URL
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Old 6th December 2018, 07:25 PM   #11
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Thank you very much for the kind words Ibrahiim, much appreciated. I do have an accumulation of books indeed (my wife and this poor groaning RV will attest) but of course never as many as I wish.
Will, I have been remiss in not answering sooner, but I wanted to find the titles most useful to you. Ibrahiim has good connections with translation, and Oliver Pinchot is very much the authority on these....hopefully he might show up here as he does occasionally.

His article, "The Persian Shamshir: And The Signature of Assad Allah" (Vol. 40, #1, Feb.2002, 'Arms Collecting" journal....is most valuable and amazing insight into these swords and these markings. I think Ibrahim linked the article here as the journal went out of print some time ago.

An article in that same journal (Vol.12, #1) "Dating the Arms of Islam" by Pat Donnelly is also most helpful but again, hard to find.

In my opinion one of the most helpful books is "A Study of the Eastern Sword" by Kirill Rivkin and Brian Isaac (2017) which has not only a good number of Persian shamshirs and blades represented and beautifully explained as well as having sections on Ottoman, Caucasian, Mamluk, East European, Russian and others is a must for serious collectors.

This is an absolutely beautiful shamshir, one if the most enticing I have seen in a long time, and the bedu square makes it even more exciting!
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Old 7th December 2018, 02:47 AM   #12
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There is no Abu. It say Amal e Zamaan e Isfahani. the other seal says Banda e Shah e Welaayat , Abbas. please search my other posts in this regard, as I need to get back to studying, good looking sword by the way.


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Originally Posted by Drabant1701
Fantastic sword! Maker could be Abu Zaman, compare to this https://www.instagram.com/p/BYtEF0wgUi1/
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Old 7th December 2018, 05:47 AM   #13
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According to local lore, Zaman Isfaghani was Assadulla’s pupil.
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Old 8th December 2018, 02:08 AM   #14
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Reference;
A.http://auctionsimperial.com/om-the-...of-assad-allah/
B. http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/shamshir/
C. http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21078

I thought I had seen this weapon before... at Reference C. however it is nice to see such an interesting blade again … The first time round I placed the detail below which hasn't changed much.. and again to echo the point that Jim has spoken about on the magic squares … and noted in Reference B.
A superb rendition on such weapons is at Reference A.

From the original sword thread on EAA two years ago~

Quote"With octagonal grips covered in black shagreen leather, steel pommel and guard of characteristic form. The blade Shamshir (lions tail), forged of wootz steel and inlaid at the forte, VICTORY FROM GOD AND CONQUEST NIGH, together with a baduh or magic square, and a polylobate cartouche containing the maker?s name, WORK OF ZAMAN ISFAHANI, a well-known smith said to have been a student of Assad Allah. Mid-18th century".Unquote.

There is further detail on another website by the world renowned Oliver Pinchot of Imperial Auctions and this Forum where the discussion as to true signatures including Zaman Isfahan exist and the variables concerning their authenticity... and indeed if there was a sword maker called assad - allah

Please also see~
http://auctionsimperial.com/om-the-...of-assad-allah/

Indeeed it would not be the first time that a spurious name appeared and went on for several centuries for example ANDREA FERRERA...and in its many spellings. It would be interesting to discover if Zaman Isfahan was simply an extension of the expertise of one such sword making school/workshop (Assad - Allah) so that the tradition of the name on a sword was simply extended in time.

In fact looking at http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/shamshir/ this on Forum, by Lee Jones, whose detail indicates that the sword can be clearly compared. Note that the life span of the sword maker, Assad - Allah, would have needed to be in excess of 500 years !!


Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 8th December 2018 at 02:34 AM.
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Old 9th December 2018, 12:34 PM   #15
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The weapon becomes the central subject at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=2 and is answered regarding script etc at post 5..
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Old 18th January 2019, 10:09 PM   #16
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A huge thank you to everyone who commented and certainly educated me on the history of this sword and others like it.

Especially thanks to Ibrahim and Jim.

Happy New Year to you all.
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