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Old 20th February 2021, 03:15 PM   #1
Mefidk
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Default "Eastern Sword" Szabla for comments

Hi folks
I just today picked this one up from a local auction and would be glad to hear what you think to it. The lot was entitled Eastern Swords and contained two swords, the second of which I will post later in a separate thread. There was also another lot which I sadly did not win containing an almost relic version of this sword and a Khevsur sabre which looked very nice (can we hope someone else on here picked them up?)

The blade is seriously clean, and for sure (at best) this has been taken out of the hilt cleaned and remounted with cutlers resin. There are now a few small rust marks forming on the blade. Towards the end of the blade there are still some depressions left from rust marks that were not completely polished out otherwise I would be sure the blade was new!

There are no stamps, marks or other identifying features to the blade, but the form is really special - I tried to show the thickening before the kilij starts.

Anyhow comments as to authenticity and other information about these swords would be very welcome.
/Chris
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Old 21st February 2021, 04:33 AM   #2
Philip
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Sorry to say, and I wouldn't mind if someone else out there disagrees, but my gut tells me that this is a recently-assembled composite of new and old parts.

The proportions of the guard, and its filework, don't sit well with me and I have seen and handled many in the depots of Polish museums, not to mention having collected this type of saber for some decades. Most Polish hilts are of iron (although scabbard fittings were frequently of brass). The rivet holding the rearward langet to the grip looks rather "fresh" . Leather, though wrinkled in areas, doesn't seem to show the signs of extensive wear and age-related deterioration one would expect on something like this.

The type of blade, with its prominent yelman and multiple narrow fullers, is of the same style as seen on many Indian talwars of the 18th and 19th cent. I know of a restorer and maker of replicas, specializing in Eastern European weapons and armor, who in fact routinely used such Indian blades to build reproductions of szablas and karabelas on hilts that he skillfully made, although to his credit he usually didn't clean them to the degree seen here.
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Old 21st February 2021, 07:33 AM   #3
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Here is the second sword, what looks like a karabela. This one has less aggressive cleaning and less of a the yelman is less pronounced with a more normal profile. There is a Maltese cross near the guard (pictured).
On this one its clear that the wood has been replaced and therefore the normal rivets are replaced with simple domed ones. The blade has less cleaning and at least shows some patina. All I did since getting the sword was to remove some of the brass/metal polish which was quite thick in some places.

When I first picked this up I was happier about it than the szabla due to the more obvious age of the blade, but now having handled it I have more doubts - particularly about the cross. The wood being replaced on such an old sword would I imagine be a common occurrence assuming that these have had a long life and were not always valued. Now with Philips comments I am even more suspicious.

Again very interested to hear what you think, what might be original and what not.
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Old 21st February 2021, 07:49 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments Philip. For sure the szabla has been dismantled at some point. The rivet would have been replaced then, hence why it looks odd. Perhaps this happened a while back, and the leather could have been replaced at the same time (hence lack of age).
I don't own very many European swords with age and leather, one Danish sword I have from 1845 is in much better condition wrt leather (and I am certain genuine). So based on my admittedly extremely small sample size I say the leather here was not put on in the last few years, but I would be astonished if it was as old as the sword should be. If it were genuine I guess this should be 18C?

Btw I did not pay Bohmans karabela prices for these, so nobody robbed me
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Old 27th February 2021, 04:13 PM   #5
Norman McCormick
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Hi Chris,
I have to agree with Philip as to the question marks re these swords. The fittings do not sit well with me and the 'antiqued' brass work reminds me of the fittings on so called 'antique' Indian furniture sold in some shops here in the U.K. The blades do not have the normal Indian type ricasso but I suppose that feature could have been ground out. I really like the shape and look of the blades regardless of origin but as I said the leatherwork and the furniture just don't look right.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 28th February 2021, 08:22 PM   #6
mariusgmioc
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The hilts are very crudely made and assembly is very sloppy.
The way the disproportioned hilt of the second sword is riveted is appalling, with the rivets protruding like bad jokes.

In my opinion they are modern, low end, wall-hangers/tourist stuff/fakes (albeit the blades might be functional).

Regarding the "aging" of the second sword... well... keep a brand new sword unoiled for a couple of years in damp environment and you will get that "aging."

I hope you didn't pay much for them...


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Old 1st March 2021, 01:34 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I agree that the hilts on both of these are a long way from original. I'm not sure I would say modern or tourist (at least they have been together for some time), but 20th C I would guess.
The blades are probably a different matter. These are really heavy duty blades, and I would say high quality. It would be really interesting to figure out the origin of these. My current feeling is that these come from a heavy duty blade such as a dussage. I attached a couple of possible sources e.g. Sinclair Sabre. This type of blade came from Styria and surrounds, but was based on Turkish types. I don't know where these might have travelled afterwards, and am not aware of the possible Indian sources (although Europe to India is also possible I assume unlikely).
Regarding the Indian blade idea I would say though that if a ricasso was originally on the blade then it was removed with a great deal more expert skill than was used to make and fit the rest of the furniture. If this was the case it is even more a pity since there would be no way to return the blade to its original Indian state either.

Marius - no fears, in the end I paid nothing for them, having returned them to the auction house today. But it would still be interesting to nail where the blades came from if possible.
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