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Old 16th February 2012, 12:30 PM   #1
A.alnakkas
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Default Video on Circassian Blades

Hey guys,

I was researching videos on youtube using Arabic, I found this one, thought maybe it will be interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4Q1BHMO8Mo

Its in russian though :/
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Old 17th February 2012, 10:16 PM   #2
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Very interesting, thanks so much !
Unfortunately I can't understand a word. Any chance someone here could provide a translation ?
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Old 21st February 2012, 06:55 PM   #3
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The basic thought - a shashka has occurred from a Circassian knife for cutting grapevine.
The form of hilt - roundish and doubled ears (as yatagan) - simulates a bone.
The handle rotates in a arm as though the additional joint works.
Therefore the weapon is continuation of a hand.
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Old 22nd February 2012, 07:40 PM   #4
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Even though I hadn't a clue about what they were saying, I found it very interesting
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Old 22nd February 2012, 10:36 PM   #5
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Mercenary, thanks a lot for these explanations.
Could you please explain what the woman at the end of the video is saying about the handle and the leather strap she's inserting in it ?
Kind regards,
Bernard
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Old 23rd February 2012, 11:55 AM   #6
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Bernard,
Mercenary commented about the split at the tip of the handle - it's thought to resemble the (bones) joint, thus making a handle to act more like a joint to fit more naturally to the grip. I have my own “scientific” explanation: less contact surface - less friction!!!!
The lady is a jeweler who was commissioned by a Jordanian prince Ali to supply shashkas to his bodyguards, which are traditionally formed of ethnic Cherkess. She was baffled by a complicated split design whereas it’d be much easier to make a non-split construction by welding a silver strip to the tang (similar to shamshir grip construction) and then weld sides to it. She held a leather strip, instead of silver, to demonstrate it. She also mentioned about her frustration with restorers in other countries, and lack of proper skills in Turkey, China, etc and how she approached different artists who did everything “wrong” and “messed everything up”. She learned the hard way, should have asked the Forum
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Old 24th February 2012, 01:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delor
Very interesting, thanks so much !
Unfortunately I can't understand a word. Any chance someone here could provide a translation ?


Gentlemen:

Here is a link to a version of this video with English subtitles. The subtitles are not exact, but do a "pretty fair job" of translation.


Circassian shashka
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Old 26th February 2012, 05:55 PM   #8
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Alex, Lewis, thanks to both of you.
Very interesting comments about the flexibility of the blade ! Challenging craftsmenship...
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Old 27th February 2012, 03:10 AM   #9
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I really should have posted that line the smith used: "Light as a feather, sharp as a razor, flexible as a (grape) vine." As soon as I heard it the first time, it leapt out at me, and the distinction the presenters drew between sword and knife derived long blades made quite an impression.

I have long had a suspicion that the Russian military, after the shashka was adopted as the official cold arm of the Army, might have adopted the general look of the shashka (i.e., slightly eared handle and lack of guard) while substituting a more traditionally "saber-esque" blade, i.e., starting out of fairly thick stock and exhibiting radical distal taper, but this is only suspicion.

I have always assumed, further, that there is some sort of connection between the vestigial ears of the shashka, and the more prominent ears on the yataghan. Once more, however, this is primarily assumption on my part.

I find the spread of weaponry from one place to another quite as interesting as the spread of food from one place to another. Spain's paella is quite similar to Italy's pilaf, and Russia's plov, and Afghanistan's pilau, all essentially seasoned meat (or seafood) with rice.

I am full of enthusiasm, but I have a great dearth of actual knowledge. I do have Avtatsvaturian's books in PDF format (Weapons of the Caucasian Peoples and Turkish Weapons), but I confess that although my conversational Russian is good, it's hard work reading these in Russian.
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Old 28th February 2012, 01:41 AM   #10
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The jeweler, Asya Eutych, made a set of caucasian weapons for the Circassian bodyguards of the Jordanian king. She says that that they were very, very grateful to her for re-introducing the old tradition, because they have already forgotten how the shashkas and kindjals look like.
This is an unmitigated bull. Circassians in Jordan , especially the royal bodyguards, kept their weapons since deportation by the Russians in 1870s. There are multiple photographs showing them sporting shashkas and kindjals during their guard duties for Abdulla and Hussein.
Either they were making a joke at her expense, or she was just confabulating for the local Russian audience. PR, you know.... She has to advertise herself... :-)
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Old 6th March 2012, 12:13 AM   #11
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Ariel:

Fascinating! I knew a little about the Circassian deportations, but only to Turkey (rather, the Ottoman Empire). I suppose my error was to assume that Ottoman Empire=Turkey of today, and to forget the geographic expanse that the Ottoman Empire had at the time.

Once more I find myself tripped up by my modern world view!
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