Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 25th July 2015, 08:39 PM   #1
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,710
Default Research

What does it mean to collect?

Does it mean to pile a lot of weapons together, asking others about them - age or place of origin, and doing nothing yourself?

Or does it mean to ask others, and at the same time research the items yourself?

Being on a forum will mean, that you will be willing to share, at least some of your reaserch with the other members.

Earlier - years ago - there was a lot of different researches shared, but lately it seems as if the questions are more commen - why is that?

Jens
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2015, 08:50 PM   #2
Tim Simmons
Member
 
Tim Simmons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: What is still UK
Posts: 5,460
Default

I cannot imagine or financially sustain collecting without research. Without research you are condemned to collecting the same old same old at ever increasing prices and learning nothing.
Tim Simmons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2015, 09:06 PM   #3
Rich
Member
 
Rich's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: comfortably at home, USA
Posts: 419
Default

I research every knife and sword I own and document them in writing and with string tags on most of them (when the tags will fit). That includes type (name), maker (if that can be determined), date, culture, etc. Without the research it is just a pile of misc. sharp pointy things. Wish I could contribute more to this forum, but my interests are pretty specialized; Nihonto and puukko (and a few other sharp pointy things).
Rich
Rich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2015, 09:26 PM   #4
A.alnakkas
Member
 
A.alnakkas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 1,248
Default

Currently doing a research on Gulf Arab arms and its far from done. But some interesting info on Saudi made swords and Omani ones that I hope to compile soon (ish)
A.alnakkas is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2015, 09:30 PM   #5
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,751
Default

Jens, you have asked a very relevant question, and one that is a constant part of my own musings on the idea of "collecting", however, might it be possible to define what the word "research" means in the minds of our colleagues?

I personally believe that intelligent research can generate more questions than it answers, and as you point out, the nature of both questions and comments raised our Forums does seem to have become of two major types in recent times:-

show and tell & classification

If useful research is being done, I would expect it to generate some debate, but I very seldom see debate at any level here.

Do we already know everything, or are we too occupied with other things to give the necessary time to research?
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2015, 09:46 PM   #6
Shakethetrees
Member
 
Shakethetrees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 364
Default

Collecting without research is like going to a banquet without eating!

True, it takes a certain knack to ferret out and find what it is we seek, but at this point it's just accumulation.

The pursuit of knowledge raises this to a higher level. When a body of knowledge is built up over time true scholarship is the result.

Our recently deceased friend Michael was a perfect example. He observed objects in public and private collections, found items one at a time and slowly built his own collection based on what he learned over the years, all the while doing further research. The gathered body of knowledge he posessed is, to anybody who followed his efforts, astounding, and represents true scholarship.

While there are a lot of highly intelligent and passionate members of this forum, none have come close (IMHO) to his depth of understanding.

He can never be replaced.
Shakethetrees is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2015, 10:15 PM   #7
Rick
Member
 
Rick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,925
Smile

Gentlemen,
I think we have been down this particular road before .
There is in fact a vast amount of knowledge stored here (and in other forums) free for the seeking .
In this time in which we live our interests are, in many circles, nay, as viewed by the vast majority, deemed politically incorrect, wrong somehow .
Let us not by denigrating 'show and tell' discourage any future Matchlocks from participation .
One never knows where or when a fire may be lit by a simple inquiry .
Rick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2015, 10:32 PM   #8
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,260
Default

You ask some very valid questions here, both Jens and Alan. How do we define the term "research". I generally attempt to find out what i can about any keris i collect, but i'm not sure it is fair to call it research per se, certainly not by any academic standard. I am fairly limited is my resources for one. I can attempt to draw knowledge from the many books i own on the subject (and related subjects of Indonesian cultures) and quite frankly depend on the "kindness of strangers" that i might feel are wiser or better informed on the subject than i to broaden my understanding. But if by "research", Jens, you mean real field research i am afraid i do not have the time, money or resources to fly to Indonesia and really study the keris in the manner that a full accounting of the subject deserves. To truly research keris as i believe it should be done i should probably learn the Javanese language for one and make regular trips to the region to get closer to the source of my study. Yes, i do ask others both on the forum and outside of it about keris, others who i have come to trust for their much greater knowledge of the subject and hopefully i learn and retain what i am told and possibly even use that gained knowledge to formulate my own theories and ideas from time to time. But i am afraid that it is not really within my means to write a dissertation on the subject that would be worthy of sharing with my fellow collectors on this forum and i don't really feel that it is the responsibility of members here to produce research of that type for the benefit of the forums as a whole. Of course, if you do, it would certainly be nice if you share it. I do what i can and may argue a question based more upon a developed sense of logic about the subject than any hard dug research. I am more than sure that we don't know nearly as much as we should about these weapons. I have plenty of questions and not nearly enough answers. But i do believe that asking the right questions can be almost as valuable as providing the right answers sometimes. So perhaps it might be fair to say that i study keris more that i actually research them.
I am not convinced that my collection of keris could ever be a "miscellaneous pile of pointy things". These weapons hold far too much beauty and excellence of craft to ever be deemed as such. They have "personalities" which elevate them beyond the status of mere objects for me. However, my appreciation of them certainly increases exponentially with each bit of new information i gain about them.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 03:30 AM   #9
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,160
Default

Jens, a very well posed question, and I think interesting to see the wide diversity here, not only in fields of study, but in the degree of study and research into the arms and armour we all collect, study and cherish.

When I first began in these forums, one of my foremost goals was to learn, and to do that by talking with others who were often more experienced and who had collected many more weapons than I. For many years here, there was a great deal of camaraderie, and genuine sharing of information and discussion as new examples were acquired by members. Each new item brought often profound observations by those participating, and considerable advances were made in our knowledge of many weapon forms.

Among our membership and these pages, many weapon forms long either misidentified or relatively unknown became at last distinctively classified and our collective knowledge became a growing and valuable resource.

It does seem that in recent years, many changes have become apparent in the demeanor of participants in many threads with unfortunate results. Too often differences in opinion or personal matters have caused a great deal of friction and conflict. This has often diminished the potential of threads which might have offered the discussion needed to constructively analyze examples, data and observations.

The numbers seen in a thread as far as the number of posts versus the number of views or hits is staggering. Clearly many people are viewing and find the material useful, but obviously most simply watch the dialogue of participants without offering what could be key to advancing the discussion.

Often someone simply posts an item, without offering any information about it, asking participants here to completely pour information into their query, and in many cases, these slide away without even a thank you, let alone any reciprocal dialogue.
On one hand, it is often useful that we have an opportunity to discuss and learn from an item. On the other, it is annoying that the initiator of the query has not bothered to even seek the slightest information on the item in many cases.

The 'show and tell' texture of things, while entertaining, by the same token is disappointing, at least in my opinion. It is of course wonderful to show a new acquisition and have a host of people green with envy, but it hardly offers much to those who deeply wish to learn more on that form or weapon itself.
Naturally, the often heard refrain is, I don't know anything about those, so I couldn't really add anything. If one is unfamiliar with something, why not just look into a reference (nowadays online sources are incredible) and get an overview, then ask a tangible question?
There are so many weapons discussed in our pages, it is impossible to know everything (obviously), but it is incredibly exciting to seek more on the topic, jot some notes, and read the posts and interaction.

I have always believed, there are no 'experts', just a wide scope of students, and learning together in their shared interests.

I think Rick said it best........who knows when a fire my be lit by a simple inquiry. We've had lots of pretty good blazes here!! where intense and exciting discussion focused on sharing and learning, and anyone who sees our archives will know how much was accomplished here by many who have come and gone, and many still here. Our discussions and studies are constantly tapped by others seeking information to learn on arms in online searches.

I cannot go without noting our own Michael, Matchlock, researcher and scholar extraordinaire, who spent his life in the study of medieval and renaissance arms. ....and who we lost just days ago.
Now THERE was a researcher!
His quintessence in that, and his passion for learning and sharing will stand always as an inspiration .

I cannot think of a better note with which to close,

Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 04:16 AM   #10
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,153
Default

As someone who spent 40+ years of my professional life engaged in "academic research," I believe that research is simply the methods by which we acquire new knowledge. The final goal is to arrive at a better understanding of the issue. One line of scientific research requires that we propose an hypothesis and then test it to determine whether or not it is likely to be false (and therefore possibly true)--this is the hypothetico-deductive form of reasoning that is de rigeur for the physical, chemical and biological sciences. A second approach is empirical research, which emphasizes collecting as much data as possible on a subject and then trying to make sense of it by looking for associations and grouping of various pieces of information. Empiricism tends to be decried by "true scientists" because it relies on inductive reasoning.

Unfortunately, for so many of us, we are not in a position (not enough time, money, or training) to undertake rigorous field investigations of our hobby. One person who comes to mind who has undertaken solid scholarly research efforts is Robert Elgood, but folks like him are few in our field.

I would suggest that cataloging the various items in our collections is not really research. It makes us somewhat better informed but it seldom enlightens the field. We are not making new discoveries, but rather rediscovering what others have already reported. That is helpful and enlightening for us, and maybe for others, but I would not call it research.

In nearly 50 years of collecting edged weapons, I doubt that I have made more than a handful of astute original observations about them. Everything else I know has been the result of reading or listening to people who have more experience than I do. I would say that listening carefully to knowledgeable individuals within and outside the cultures that make the weapons of my interest has been the most important source of information for me. Some of my scientific colleagues say that this is unsubstantiated hearsay, others say it is good ethnographic research. Several of my best friends are anthropologists, and they understand the difficulties in doing solid research on weapons.

I don't think it is a bad thing that much of what we discuss here is "show and tell." If that's what the active membership wants, then that's what it gets. Also, trying to find out the what, where, when and how of the weapons we collect is only natural for the avid collector. The overall expertise here helps provide those answers.

However, I do agree with Alan when he says that the Forum has lost a little of its solidly based discussions, such as those on wootz steel (to name one example), that were present a decade or so ago. One solution may be for some of our very experienced members to write more articles that Lee can publish on these pages.

If you look at the statistics of who is using the forum (on the home page of this site), you will see that, of those logged on at any one time, registered members account for only about 10% of those looking at these pages--the substantial majority are visitors. Perhaps some of those who are not members could help make our discussions more factual by becoming members and participating actively. I can think of several folks whose opinions would be very helpful in our discussions, but they choose not to do so.

Ultimately, the output of this Forum depends on the input of its participants.

Ian.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 05:27 AM   #11
kahnjar1
Member
 
kahnjar1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: CHRISTCHURCH NEW ZEALAND
Posts: 2,584
Default

As a collector currently of (mainly) Islamic arms.....(My collecting has been thru many changes over the years)......I have found this Forum a mine of information which is not generally available from other collectors in the region where I live. Added to that is a small but useful library of related books.
My research is certainly more basic than some, but I do like to find out as much information as possible about any item I have in my collection.
Sometimes a post querying an item meets with silence even though the post has been viewed many times. I am not entirely sure why this is.....lack of interest?......not sure about that, otherwise why would one bother to view? Perhaps the viewer does not think that the information he has is valuable.
I believe that in this game, ALL information is valuable, as it raises discussion, and that is how results are achieved IMHO.
Also I am more than well aware that there are no experts out there. We are all still learning, and need to analyse the information coming our way, to sort out fact from fiction. Don't be afraid to publish your thoughts please.

A word to the young and up coming collectors.....PLEASE, PLEASE glean all the information that you can now, as many of those who post here, myself included, are probably getting on in years, and unless the information is passed on now, it will be gone for ever. If you have questions, ask them now.
Stu
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 08:02 AM   #12
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,751
Default

"show & tell" is a catchy little phrase that many, if not most, people couple with junior school. This is probably an accurate alignment of ideas, but my use of it in my earlier post does not imply any denigration at any level.

If S&T is what people want to do and want to see, it has its own value.

I've spent in excess of 60 years in keris study, both field work and looking at the work of other people. It would be reasonable to assume I know a little bit about keris, and yes, I do, but really only Javanese keris, and Balinese keris in so far as they impact on Javanese keris. The stream of "show & tell' items that I meet with in this forum assist my knowledge of keris types of which I have only slight knowledge.

So:- nothing wrong with S&T.

But it would be really nice if we could sometimes see a few more perceptive questions, or well stated disagreements.

As David has written:- "--- asking the right questions can be almost as valuable as providing the right answers---"

The foundations of my profession rest upon the construction of questions that will provide the "right answers". I'm an auditor. Constructing the right question can be incredibly difficult. I've struggled frequently in trying to get a question just exactly right. Questions are not easy, they can be extraordinarily difficult to frame. But it would be nice to see a few piercing questions in our Forums, from time to time.

Some months ago I published an article that looked at areas of Javanese keris knowledge that had never been previously touched upon. I expected that it would generate a storm of disagreement and protest. It has now been read by a good cross section of keris conscious people. I have yet to hear anything except nice, friendly compliments. It is a trimmed down version of my original article, and because of this, I , myself, can find holes in it. But it seems nobody else can. To me, this is disappointing.

Thus, when Ian suggests that we write articles so that those articles can generate discussion, I am not really convinced that too many people are prepared to read, think, and question. I feel that most people read for entertainment only.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 08:21 AM   #13
carlos
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 705
Default

Sometimes the research is very difficult by the language. The most information in books and in web is in english. My level of english is low. To me is more easy read than write.
I try to contribute to forum sharing my pieces and sometimes I tried to answer some post.
I,m very happy to be a forum member. The forum and some books are my main research.
Thanks
Carlos
carlos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 09:15 AM   #14
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,710
Default

When I turned my computer on this morning, I was overwhelmed to see all the posts, and to see how serious, you all had taken my question. Thank you very much.

In one of the posts it is mentioned, that many of the members are not quite young, and when they let go of the handle their knowledge is gone. I too belong to this group, which is why I have started to write a catalogue over my collection, with all the information I have so far about my weapons, including some articles on weapons, which I have researched further than some of the others. None the less there is still a mountain of research ahead.
In a post somewhere on the forum someone wrote a while back, that it was very smart to make a catalogue, as it would add to the value of the collection. Maybe it will add to the value of the collection, and maybe not, but the reason for doing so, could also be to pass the knowledge you have gathered so far on to others.

I have been asked what kind of research I do, and a bit shameful I must admit, that I have not done any field research. I have done museums and their reserves, private collections which very seldom/never are open for anyone but te owner and a few friends, and then I have a lot of books, old as well as new and reprints as well.

Some weapons are easier to research than others, as they may have a name or a stamp which can be traced. While other may get the 'label' Rajasthan/Mughal or Deccan probably 17th century.
When researching I also find it important, if possible, to comment on if the decoration is of the same age as the weapon, as it was often redone later, either to strip it for a thick layer of gold, and add a thinner layer, or to adapt the decoration to a new fashion.

Thank you for the posts and the interest.

Jens
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 02:18 PM   #15
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,160
Default

Jens, this has been a wonderful thread, and what a brilliant and thought provoking idea to start it! Not only has it given me, but clearly many others out there, pause to think about what we do here, and why.

It is amazing to see very deeply stated views and perspective as being shared by all of us, helping us understand each other better, our views, and perhaps even ourselves. This reminds us that we are all actually quite different in our approaches to the study of arms, but that clearly the one common denominator is the passion for them.

I must note that Stu's mention that many of us are indeed getting up there in years is poignant and quite true. Like many of you included, I have spent most of my life studying arms in many ways. While I am certainly far from an academic or scholar, my study has been passionately undertaken with the sincere desire to learn, and to share what I have learned in any way I can. Every so often, I try to sort through the decades of notes and files from it seems every imaginable form of mostly swords and edged weapons, but the task of making tangible sense of it all seems hopeless.

The most important thing I have had in the years since I joined this forum, is that I loved to write. As most of you know, my posts and their detail are typically pretty heavy. Actually, these became my 'journal', and virtually the result of my 'research' on each weapon or topic (as well pointed out by Ian, this is probably better described as 'compilation' as it is simply gathering data from various sources). Thus, in effect, and in my own perspective, this huge corpus of my ramblings are I believe my own legacy, and which I have faithfully placed on these pages so as to share the results of my study here.

My purpose was always not to claim authority nor recognition as much as to generate discussion and further study by others, so that we might find any flaws in the data and advance our knowledge as a team. As Alan has well pointed out, it is almost welcoming to have disagreements or alternate views placed toward what has been entered, as it reveals that the material has been properly read and any weaknesses can be remedied.

To me, our long standing efforts here are together are as has been noted, a monumental repository of knowledge shared by all of us as a group, and for the benefit of us all, as well as those who will come. We know there are always new collectors and students joining us, and we welcome them, and invite them to ask their questions, and most emphatically to become one of us. Seek information wherever you can, and enter it here to be shared, discussed, evaluated and above all, preserved, along with the ever mounting corpus of data we have spent so many years building.

As we agree, these historical weapons, and often even the more modern ethnographic examples, are a reflection of history and traditions and culture themselves. They all have stories to tell, and this is what we do.....we look to them to tell us what we want and need to know. It is incumbent upon us to listen and seek and find answers to the many questions that come as these arms become our charge. Then to preserve that very material as the legacy others will follow, much in the way we have followed the brilliant students, writers, collectors, curators et al long before us......Demmin, Burton, Egerton, Stone, Oldman, Oakeshott, Blair, North and so many others.

So the message is....follow your own path in the study of these arms, but whatever that way is......engage, participate, share, research, compile, admire, learn......but do so with the excitement and passion we all share together. We are all part of the legacy.
'Quid pro Quo'
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 03:37 PM   #16
trenchwarfare
Member
 
trenchwarfare's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 385
Default

Great thread. I thought I might add this...
I have observed over the years, being a member of several forums, that new members are usually given a warm welcome, but not the same amount of attention to their posts, as the veterans get. (unless they're female) Especially, if they post pictures, and ask questions about something that is very elementary. I'm talking about items, that a one minute google search, will produce all there is to know. It also happens, if something extremely rare, and obscure is posted. This happens with knowledgeable new members as well. Before you know it, discussions are only between new members, and the old hands, just sit back and observe. Until, one them post a new thread. Then, it's all hands on deck. This forum isn't as nearly bad as some others. Some are just a group of crusty old know-it-all sharks, just waiting for the next feeding frenzy.

As far as "show 'n tell", isn't that what this is all about? If I post what I think is a really unique item, I'm not saying "Nanny nanny boo boo, look what I have." I'm saying, "Hey guys, check this out! Ain't it cool? Whatizzit?" Or, what can you tell me about it. We don't know all there is to know about anything. But, some dialogue on an unknown item, might accidentally produce the key, that unravels the mystery.
trenchwarfare is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 03:42 PM   #17
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,710
Default

Yes Jim is a dedicated researcher - taking notes and keeping them for decades :-).

Some time back I wrote an article How Old is the Katar? published in The Royal Armour Journal.
Untill then Ibn Battute's (14th century) description of a katar, being used to kill a travelling companion of his, was the first known description of a katar.
In the article I have taken it back to the 10th century Orissa. I only had a drawing to show in the article; now I have also found a photo of the statue with the katar. But there is a gap from the katar I wrote about, to the katars we have in our collections - although I have a very early one, there still seem to be a gap.
To day I may have found one of 'the missing links'. I have not seen any pictures so far, but if I am correct it is from the 12th century. I do hope I am correct, as it would show the development of the katar, from the 10th century to the katars we now know.

Research can take a long time, and sometimes when you have finished, something new comes up. Research means to keep you mind open, and to be able to change your mind when new things suddenly appears.
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 06:15 PM   #18
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 5,053
Default

There were several "research" papers published here. Some were incredibly sophomoric and some had logical and factual holes size of Great Lakes.
I wrote comments, pointing out to these gross deficiencies and trying to be as polite as possible.
I was sternly reprimanded for discouraging the novices from posting their ideas and for pointing out their errors.
Since then I am trying to keep very low profile.

If this Forum wants academic discussions, then it should adopt the " no holds barred" approach.
Being a current Assoc . Editor of 2 major scientific Journals, as well as Assoc Editor or Editorial Board member of a dozen more in the past I can assure you that the level of criticism in the real academic world is several orders of magnitude more severe than here, and that any self-respecting scientific journal rejects at least 80% of submissions.

The Forum has to choose between being an academic resource and a mutual admiration society.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 07:22 PM   #19
David R
Member
 
David R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 679
Default

Once upon a time, there was no internet, no collectors forums, no Google and no Wikipedia. Now there are!
I have been collecting for 49 years, starting with some absolute rubbish and working my way up to desirable and well researched rubbish. Research was done in Libraries and Museums and pumping the more knowledgeable I met in the shops and at the Fairs. Dear God how I bent the ears of those poor dealers and other collectors!
Rejoice in the vast resource we now have, and have sympathy for those who now enter the Maelstrom of collecting, for just as there is more information easily available, so are there more opportunities to come a cropper, Ebay and Alibaba you know who you are......
I could not collect the way I do now without the internet, I also use it to research beyond my comfort zone, and elsewhere I happily share what I have learned with others. The medium has changed, but it is still the same hobby. Pay it forward.
David R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 07:29 PM   #20
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,007
Default

I think all has been said. I would like to add that the research's world is not an ideal world. Most of the researchers are not looking to improve knowledge. Most of them are very confortable with little ideas and little projects. Most of them are reproducing knowledge, very few are doing real research. The ones who are doing real research are fighting against windmills.
Best,
Kubur
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 07:49 PM   #21
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,153
Default

Jens:

What you describe is the type of original contribution to the field that does not come to many of us. Tracing the origins of past weapons is important historical research that defines the diffusion of styles through trade and warfare that also reflects other aspects of human history. The history of weapons has not received the same attention as, say, the history of jewellery, pottery, art, or even personal items such as belt buckles or hair combs. And yet, the type of weapons we explore are historical artifacts.

Recently I purchased through online auction a 300+ year-old, SE Asian sword in excellent condition for less than $200. This is uncommon, but would be almost impossible to find at this price if we were talking about other significant items (e.g., jewellery) of similar age and quality. The point I am trying to make is that important historical weapons are still available to the collector--we can make contributions by posting these here and putting them in an historical context.

Like Jens, I search for drawings and photographs from various sources, visit museums and galleries, read the accounts of earlier travelers in the lands I am interested in, and visit field sites when I can. The information and ideas come slowly. Perhaps that is why this type of collecting seems to be an "old guys" hobby.

Ian


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Yes Jim is a dedicated researcher - taking notes and keeping them for decades :-).

Some time back I wrote an article How Old is the Katar? published in The Royal Armour Journal.
Untill then Ibn Battute's (14th century) description of a katar, being used to kill a travelling companion of his, was the first known description of a katar.
In the article I have taken it back to the 10th century Orissa. I only had a drawing to show in the article; now I have also found a photo of the statue with the katar. But there is a gap from the katar I wrote about, to the katars we have in our collections - although I have a very early one, there still seem to be a gap.
To day I may have found one of 'the missing links'. I have not seen any pictures so far, but if I am correct it is from the 12th century. I do hope I am correct, as it would show the development of the katar, from the 10th century to the katars we now know.

Research can take a long time, and sometimes when you have finished, something new comes up. Research means to keep you mind open, and to be able to change your mind when new things suddenly appears.

Last edited by Ian : 26th July 2015 at 08:12 PM. Reason: Seplling
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 08:10 PM   #22
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,153
Default

Ariel, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Henry Kissinger. When asked, "Why do academics fight so viciously?" he is reported to have responded, "Because there is so little at stake."

As academics, we are trained by our mentors to attack without mercy (in the name of objective criticism) and to defend at all costs. After battling the wild rapids of academic discourse, it is sometimes difficult to adjust to a quiet backwater like this forum. Here we are more often dealing with civilians than combatants, and need to adjust accordingly. There are ways of pointing out errors in logic, assumptions, biases, etc. that are not perceived as "hostile." After all, there is so little at stake here too. We can have spirited and lively debate here, and often do, and I see no reason why discussions based on academic principles cannot be conducted here--just in a more gentle and polite manner than in the academic sphere.

Ian.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
There were several "research" papers published here. Some were incredibly sophomoric and some had logical and factual holes size of Great Lakes.
I wrote comments, pointing out to these gross deficiencies and trying to be as polite as possible.
I was sternly reprimanded for discouraging the novices from posting their ideas and for pointing out their errors.
Since then I am trying to keep very low profile.

If this Forum wants academic discussions, then it should adopt the " no holds barred" approach.
Being a current Assoc . Editor of 2 major scientific Journals, as well as Assoc Editor or Editorial Board member of a dozen more in the past I can assure you that the level of criticism in the real academic world is several orders of magnitude more severe than here, and that any self-respecting scientific journal rejects at least 80% of submissions.

The Forum has to choose between being an academic resource and a mutual admiration society.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 08:19 PM   #23
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,710
Default

Ariel,
Thanks for your post, but you must remember that this forum is not only for scholars, it is also for new collectors, who understand very little when they have just started.

David,
We have been collecting about the same number of years, but apart from you, I was lucky as The first tulwar I bought, which still is one of my best, was chosen for me by the dealer Helge Broens Hansen - so I was very lucky to have my first tulwar to look at when I wanted to buy another one.

Kubur,
Please remember that most collectors concentrate on a very small field, but in that field they are mostly very good, and have a very big knowledge.

Ian,
I always like your mails, so thank you for writing.
I recently got a tulwar - with a shamshir blade. There was writing on the hilt telling me that it must have belonged to a Shit, but there was also a name on the blade. I was half up the wall when I found out that it had belonged to Saadat Ali Khan Bahadur - the first nawab og Oudh.
Under Muhammad Shah he was one of the most powerful men in India, but he died the day before Delhi was sacked by Nadir Shah of Persia.
I am sure you, and many others know how I felt, when I found out - and the following research. Yes it took some time, and I am not sure I am finished yet.

Thanks for all the posts

Jens
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 08:47 PM   #24
CharlesS
Member
 
CharlesS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Greenville, NC
Posts: 1,780
Default

My interest in cross cultural items from throughout the Islamic world often comes with very little research done on it. That's why it is important for me to know at least something of the weapons of a variety of cultures...at the very least enough to recognize the very nature of the "cultures crossed" by some unique piece.

I think it is both fun and important to record the seemingly endless possibilities, and that's why I do it here.

For me it's all about accumulating as many pics as possible...old catalogs, old photos, old auctions, web sites, and of course old and new books.

I can remember a debate on here some years ago regarding the origins of what we now call the "Black Sea yataghan". Essentially one photo in one Russian publication about 10 years ago ended the debate! Pics as well as info are essential...no matter how old or seemingly out of context they may be.

Last edited by CharlesS : 26th July 2015 at 10:51 PM.
CharlesS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2015, 08:55 PM   #25
Rich
Member
 
Rich's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: comfortably at home, USA
Posts: 419
Default

Ariel wrote:

"The Forum has to choose between being an academic resource and a mutual admiration society."

I would respectfully disagree. This forum has been doing quite well for a long time for both newbies and seasoned collectors. Let's just keep it polite and civilized. I too am a scientist and academic with numerous papers under my belt. I've had to defend my results in front of large groups of my peers; sometimes it does get "no holds barred", but it is civilized and polite - I think we are capable of doing that. Cool it and have fun and enjoy what we learn and/or share!
Rich

-------------------------------------------------------
Rich S, PhD, FAIC

Japanese Sword Guide
http://japaneseswordindex.com/nihonto.htm
Rich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th July 2015, 02:27 PM   #26
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,153
Default

Good points Charles. Cross-cultural pieces are indeed fascinating and again speak to diffusion of styles among different cultures that reflect other sociological/anthropological interactions. It would be a great addition to the forum, I think, if we had some social scientists participating here who could speak to some of these cross-cultural influences.

We also get a lot of information about changes in a particular weapon over time by discovering "transition pieces," those that seem to fall between two identified forms of the same weapon, within the same culture. We had an example on the Forum just recently in a discussion on Tunisian daggers (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=20240).

While many of us tend to focus on the blade of an edged weapon as its main defining feature, there is important information too from a study of guards, hilts, scabbards, belts and other suspension devices. Although such fittings may be replaced over time, they can tell a lot about the particular culture in which that weapon was used or re-used.

For those who collect antique firearms, I'm sure there are similar approaches and issues to address. Those topics are way outside my comfort zone so I'll let others comment on firearms research.

Ian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
My interest in cross cultural items from throughout the Islamic world often comes with very little research done on it. That's why it is important for me to know at least something of the weapons of a variety of cultures...at the very least enough to recognize the very nature of the "cultures crossed" by some unique piece.

I think it is both fun and important to record the seemingly endless possibilities, and that's why I do it here.

For me it's all about accumulating as many pics as possible...old catalogs, old photos, old auctions, web sites, and of course old and new books.

I can remember a debate on here some years ago regarding the origins of what we now call the "Black Sea yataghan". Essentially one photo in one Russian publication about 10 years ago ended the debate! Pics as well as info are essential...no matter how old or seemingly out of context they may be.

Last edited by Ian : 27th July 2015 at 04:38 PM.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th July 2015, 04:43 PM   #27
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 5,053
Default

I am not advocating aggressive, personal and insulting remarks.
However, I was,- and still am,- a bit disappointed by the insipid nature of comments. Even when the thesis advanced is plainly illiterate, the general rule is to say something along the lines " Oh, very interesting, nice job" and avoid addressing obvious deficiencies of the argument.
There are plenty of people here who have more than enough smarts and knowledge to negate the wrong data and fallacious conclusions in a polite but firm way.
If they remain silent, the rest of us have no opportunity to learn.

Enough said.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th July 2015, 05:39 PM   #28
spiral
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,712
Default

Interesting thread Jens...

I guess in this age of closing library's being replaced by the internet as "The learning medium." for many, It shouldn't surprise me that for some the full scope of research & indeed the first step of research is to post something & says "whats this"

I guess some are happy just to collect & be told what something is, others get part of the pleasure of collecting from researching , I guess that's those amongst us who have a thirst for knowledge not just a plain possession.


Spiral
spiral is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th July 2015, 06:27 PM   #29
Tim Simmons
Member
 
Tim Simmons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: What is still UK
Posts: 5,460
Default

Even the most basic show and tell can lead to discovery to new collectors and dare I say "academics" they do not always know what things are until it is in their face. If you read stuff about becoming part of the forum, " a middle ground is sought " lets keep it that way.
Tim Simmons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th July 2015, 07:43 PM   #30
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,710
Default

When I research I also read a lot of history, some geography, a bit about mining and so to give me an idea of what life was then.
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 08:54 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.