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Old 11th April 2011, 10:48 AM   #1
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Default Taste and Collection

So, why you collect items from a certain culture? i see many westerners here who are very interested in other cultures, its nice and all but really interested in knowing why

also, how long you been collecting?

As for myself, i always was enthusiastic about swords since i was very young, especially Arabic/turkish/persian swords but that mainly got to do with the feeling that its "my culture". Also, the history of it always amazed me since i consider myself to be a student of Islam and "middle eastern" history.

Began collecting about 2 years ago and so far really enjoying it no matter how much it can be costy.
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Old 11th April 2011, 11:29 AM   #2
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I've always had the bug for military history. Swords are also of course every boy's dream. I started off in my teens with the European Medieval scene - of course antiques are bit out of the question here, so I was into reproductions and the odd bit of sparring. But I noticed I had a tendency to just admire the swords hanging on the wall.

Then I started to realize that for the money I was dumping inside reproductions I could have some reasonably nice originals from different parts of the world. It's been a long time but I think I started off with a kukri, bolo and a very rusty (but authentic) Chinese jian with a dao guard fitted to it.

From my Medieval European tastes it was a logical jump to start into takouba and kaskara. For some reason the takouba stuck with me more and along the way I developed a fascination for the local culture and history. The fact that it's a period and local relatively unknown in Europe and N. American just drew me in further. I also had exposure in my university years to a few professors interested in African history and I got something of a bug for the mostly unknown kingdoms and empires of the continent. I'm not quite sure how to describe why I find it interesting, since it's obviously not my history or my culture, but I guess part of it for me is that the scale and extent of the civilizations in the region largely go unrecognized.

I won't say how long I've been at it, but at this point the collecting is mostly a conduit for my historical interests and purchasing the items is more or less a way to try and do my part to safeguard the artifacts. To this end I try to document and put photographs online. I would think all of us to a certain extent would see ourselves as guardians for these objects. I think there is still a lot to be gleaned from hands on examination of artifacts and we are fortunate enough to live in an age where so much period documentation is available in digital form that there is still some room for learning and contributing to the general knowledge base.

Also my living room makes for a nice conversation piece.
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Old 11th April 2011, 03:28 PM   #3
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The main area that I collect, the Philippines, is part of my ethnic heritage.

The other areas - based on art and fascination, hand crafted and not machine made.
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Old 11th April 2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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I am interested in weapons to India, Afghanistan and Iran. I've always been interested in history and culture of these countries. Began collecting about 15 years Ago.
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Old 11th April 2011, 07:34 PM   #5
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In the course of my work I have to make such a lot of stuff so similar to what we see on Asian and most especially European weapons shown here. So now I am only really interested in collecting stuff is not part of my world, which I find refreshing.
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Old 11th April 2011, 09:23 PM   #6
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I'm still a youngster in terms of knowledge about ethnographic weapons. I've always had an interest in swords since fencing team days at university. However, I guess I started collecting about five years ago (or at least that was when I bought my first antique sword). I'm not sure why I drifted towards ethnographic weapons, but probably because they present more of a challenge than European armoury, being generally harder to find resources for and because they don't follow standard patterns, hence are more varied. Now I enjoy finding out about the people and times that they come from almost as much as collecting the weapons themselves, but only almost
Swords led to long-guns and I'm slowly becoming more focused on Indo-Persian and north African weapons. For the reasons above, and not least the fact that there someone as enthusiastic and helpful as Iain, I'm also developing a particular interest in takoubas.
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Old 12th April 2011, 12:04 AM   #7
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Led into it as a 12 year old by a grandfather who did not quite fit the norm, and a couple years later by a school project that got me interested in Jawa.

Still plodding away nearly 60 years later.

Probably always been a bit of "Silk Road Syndrome" there too.
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Old 12th April 2011, 12:27 AM   #8
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Default A fellow member

Near 30 years ago another member here sparked my imagination with swords. Whilst at 12 years of age I was unable to fully comprehend the complexity of cultures and the weapons or even to think to afford one other than a comic book presenting one, the exposure did run long and deep and remains a consuming passion well in to my adult life.

Whilst at most stages of my life I collected 'something', today I mainly collect sabres from many Eastern, South East Asian, Central Asian and Middle eastern cultures as to me they have some of the most beautiful forms and the history attached is complex and long standing which I find most interesting.
There is the exception of several straight sword forms in there too.
Full length spears and polearms from these regions also hold an interest for me as do certain Keris and Hudiedao variants....I am sure there are others I just haven't met yet

As an example, a couple of mine here:


Last edited by freebooter : 12th April 2011 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 12th April 2011, 01:44 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Iain
I've always had the bug for military history. Swords are also of course every boy's dream. I started off in my teens with the European Medieval scene - of course antiques are bit out of the question here, so I was into reproductions and the odd bit of sparring. But I noticed I had a tendency to just admire the swords hanging on the wall.

Then I started to realize that for the money I was dumping inside reproductions I could have some reasonably nice originals from different parts of the world.

Pretty much how I got started I always got the question "Are those real swords?" I didn't know anything about SLOs and the real deal then, but it got me curious. Then came ebay and my first KLO (keris-like object) a relatively costly embarrassment but a great lesson. That led me here and to a wonderful member here who took the time to teach me about real keris. Then the forum took over and the rest is history

I have a great interest in history and art. Weapon study covers both interests. Then the aesthetic and technological aspects took over, leading me to blacksmithing...that's burgeoning nicely now. I'm a generalist in most things so my collecting tastes are quite broad...mostly ethnographic non-industrial manufacture.

I foresee many years ahead of this hobby...if all goes well...
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Old 12th April 2011, 03:56 AM   #10
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This thread made me stop and think, as I have been collecting for around 45 years now. During that time my collection has changed directions many times. Started off with old shotguns-mainly English, because they were easy to come by and relatively cheap. Also no problems with permits. From there to English Rook Rifles, Percussion pistols and revolvers, and a large (space wise) collection of Islamic Weapons. Because of present storage space and of course the necessary $$, most of this has now been moved on and I now collect items from the Arabian Peninsula only. Why Arabian Peninsula? The craftsmanship found in these items really impresses me. I am not talking about the cheap and nasty modern "touristy" items which seem to dominate a particular auction site, but those items adorned by craftsmen who know what they are about. Generally replica items are not of interest to me, though I suppose they have their place to fill a gap which otherwise would cost the collector many thousands of $, supposing or course you could ACTUALLY find an example.
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Old 12th April 2011, 09:44 AM   #11
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I've streamlined my collection to something very specific: Modern-made Philippine blades.

My reasoning behind it is that although there are many garbage blades out there in the modern market, there ARE still quality blades being made today that are worth looking for. Panday throughout the philippines still make honest working blades and even weapon/combat-balanced blades as well. Also, being that hand-forged pieces made in more rural areas take more work than stamped-out reproductions gives me a higher appreciation for the more traditional forms and the people who insist on making them locally and for locals in a modern day context.

Finding the diamond in the pile of glass involves me doing a lot of research, making connections, and coming up with ways with which to either acquire certain pieces, or inquire about where I can find the best ones. Half the fun in collecting is the hunt, and acquiring knowledge on the way sure doesn't hurt as well! And knowing I purchased a blade made recently makes me feel as if I am contributing, even a little bit, to keeping these traditional blademaking practices alive.

My favourites so far are two Moro pieces made in the early 90's. One is a Pira made by the Yakan, and the other is a Kampilan made by a Maranao smith who goes by the name of Toks. Currently my focus is on modern visayan blades, but I am also constantly on the lookout for a good quality modern-made (90's-now is how I define it for my collection personally) Moro Kris. Preferrably Sulu, but I will be happy with anything right about now if it is good quality, intended for locals and not the tourist trade, and is of modern make.

Aside from Newly-made philippine blades, my other obsession as of late in stark contrast is vintage cooking knives from various cultures. European butchers knifes in particular at the moment, since I am teaching myself how to properly butcher certain types of animal (pork specifically).
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Old 12th April 2011, 09:51 AM   #12
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I've got more money than sense

In all seriousness, though, my proto-collection of (one, shortly to be two) jezails is probably the result of a lot of things. I've long had an interest in arms and their use, especially in warfare (as opposed to ceremonial uses, sparring, sport etc). My chosen higher education was in military history. I'd heard of the prowess of the Afghan guns of old, when I was much younger, but had largely forgotten about them (or rather, put it onto the back burners of my mind) until I actually had my hands on one at work.

Getting my grubby mitts on a jezail perhaps served to remind me of the sheer impressiveness of them. Big in proportions, heavy, often well decorated, and looking decidedly odd, they're naturally appealing to the eye; they stand out, in a manner only found among the more unusual products of industrialised arms manufacture, from the crowd. They're all individuals, too; every gun is unique. In many respects, they remind me more than a little of another love of mine, the steam engine in its many forms. "No two steam locomotives were ever alike" - so quoth a man who knew, and the same could be said of these fascinating, often deceptively finished machines.

Besides, imagine confronting a burglar with one of them...
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Old 12th April 2011, 10:56 AM   #13
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My Grandfather had a German Sawback Butcher bayonet that his elder brother brought back from the front on his first ( and only ) leave sometime 1915 / 16.
I always coveted this and Grandad promised to give it to me on my 16th birthday. He kept upping the age and I eventually got it when I was about 30 !!
It started me collecting bayonets which I did for many years until in January 1981 I started working in S.E Asia.
I sold the bayonets and became completely hooked on the weapons of the Far East. At that time there was so much available in the UK and very few people wanted it. Wonderful for the few of us that did collect at the time.

I still have the butcher bayonet, it will never be sold by me.

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Old 12th April 2011, 03:49 PM   #14
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Isn't it obvious...i was a Balinese prince in a past life...
Seriously i'm am not completely certain what has drawn me to the cultures that i collect from. I came across my first Moro kris in 1981 in an antique mall in New Hampshire and that is what started it all. Obviously i already had an interest in antiques or i wouldn't have been there. I had know idea what this sword was, but it so intrigued me (and prices for this stuff were low back then) so i bought it and began researching it. I found the Moro very interesting, but didn't really start collecting like mad, just reading what i could find (which wasn't much in the pre-internet days ).
Then i had a friend who was leaving town and had a Javanese keris he wanted to sell. I didn't know much about these at the time either, just that it looked like a baby Moro kris. So i bought that and started researching them as well. Still not a lot that i found way back then.
Then, in 2003 the internet changed my world (well, it changed everyone's world ). Yes, i was a late starter. Searching the net led me here. Suddenly i was "home". There were actually other people who where interested in the same thing i was. Not only that, i suddenly found markets in which to explore and acquire more for my meager collection. I found more books on the subject as well and began to build my library. My interests took a strong lean towards Jawa and Bali (though i still collect Moro as well). I think i am strongly attracted to certain spiritual and magickal philosophies of the area, especially the indigenous animistic ones. I also find the history fascinating, if not tragic at times. Least to say that my collection has explodedsince, at least in the area of Indonesian keris. While i can count my Moro weapons on both hands i am completely uncertain how many keris i have at this point. I once told my wife that i would stop at 21 blades and that day is long past.
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Old 12th April 2011, 04:05 PM   #15
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Inherited some "Greek" yataghans from the family when I was 16 since no one else had any interest in "these old things." Developed a life-long passion for Balkan/Islamic/Indian weapons. Multiple Army deployments to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan really helped the collection move along quite nicely.
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