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Old 13th May 2012, 03:39 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default Pala Kilic Wootz? with European Hilt.

Hi All,
New aquisition, blade length 29 3/4 inches 35 1/2 inches overall. I think an Ottoman/Turkish blade mounted with a European hilt possibly Austrian or perhaps Swiss and with a purpose built metal European style scabbard with slot to upper part and suspension ring to accommodate the curve. Do you think this is a trophy remounted or a European style mount commissioned by an Ottoman officer? As you can see there is Arabic script on the blade, presumably Turkish but maybe not, a translation by our resident team is much looked forward to. The blade itself has a pattern and I would be grateful to the experts in this field as to how I should go about bringing out the best that the blade may have to offer. I look forward to all opinions and thoughts.
Regards,
Norman.

P.S. I will endeavour to get better photographs soon.
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Old 13th May 2012, 03:43 PM   #2
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Hi,
Here is a similar item from the Higgins tagged as Austrian C1845. The basket hilt is not exactly the same and the blade maybe of European manufacture influenced by the Ottoman style. I have also seen a British General officers Mamaluke hilted sword with an Ottoman Kilic blade.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 13th May 2012, 04:02 PM   #3
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A very fine sword indeed Norman. Did you have to remortgage the farm for that one??

Looks pattern welded and not wootz to me.
Be careful with any etching as you of course also have western military type etched designs.

A very, VERY light etch with warm vinegar might show more, but be careful.
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Old 13th May 2012, 04:11 PM   #4
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Third pic shows some pseudo-arabic gibberish. I am sure the blade is not eastern of whatever origin: european imitation. Very nice and unusual sword. Would be interesting to now whether it was a regulation pattern, place of manufacture etc.
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Old 13th May 2012, 04:13 PM   #5
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Hi Gene,
Many thanks for your thoughts. I thought about it being a European blade but the patterned steel, the Arabic script and there is a hint of the etching having been gilded, small amount of gold where the hilt touches the blade, made me think it was Turkish. This is out of my comfort zone so I'm 'stabbing' in the dark. Thanks again.
My Regards,
Norman.

P.S. Yeah it wasn't cheap.
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Old 13th May 2012, 04:16 PM   #6
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Hi Ariel,
Thanks for the reply. Would a European blade sport 'star and crescent'
other than the earlier style sun, moon and stars motifs?
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 13th May 2012, 04:17 PM   #7
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Nice one. I really like the blend! The inscription at the top says "bashir almumeneen" (bring glad tidings to the believers. Quranic verse) the bottom one says "hibir/hisir (?) albab" (I think its either a name or a sufi reference albab means door)

What about the latin inscription? I cant read it... Maybe some date is there?
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Old 13th May 2012, 04:24 PM   #8
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Hi,
Many thanks for your comments and help re the translation, I'm a bit lost as to the Latin inscription, which text do you mean?
My Regards,
Norman.




Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Nice one. I really like the blend! The inscription at the top says "bashir almumeneen" (bring glad tidings to the believers. Quranic verse) the bottom one says "hibir/hisir (?) albab" (I think its either a name or a sufi reference albab means door)

What about the latin inscription? I cant read it... Maybe some date is there?
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Old 13th May 2012, 11:04 PM   #9
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Hi,
Sword sold by Christies described as an Austrian officers presentation sabre .
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 14th May 2012, 12:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi,
Many thanks for your comments and help re the translation, I'm a bit lost as to the Latin inscription, which text do you mean?
My Regards,
Norman.



Hey mate,

I meant the 3rd picture. Seems like latin letters to me.
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Old 14th May 2012, 02:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
I'm a bit lost as to the Latin inscription
Hi every body
no Latin inscription, the alphabet used seems to be Cyrillic
may be "Serb" or "Macedonian"
when we'll know from where this alphabet,
we'll know, from where it's came from, this beautiful "Pala"
we dunno at all to read Eastern languages

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Old 14th May 2012, 02:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom
Hi every body
no Latin inscription, the alphabet used seems to be Cyrillic
may be "Serb" or "Macedonian"
when we'll know from where this alphabet,
we'll know, from where it's came from, this beautiful "Pala"
we dunno at all to read Eastern languages

+

Dom


Salam Alaikum Bro!

Well done. Could this be from albanians maybe? No idea, i am just guessing, highly doubt that Serbs will quote Quran so it could be muslims speaker of the language.
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Old 14th May 2012, 02:44 AM   #13
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Ain't no Cyrillic. It does remind some Cyrillic letters, but no more than Arabic ones.
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Old 14th May 2012, 02:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Ain't no Cyrillic. It does remind some Cyrillic letters, but no more than Arabic ones.


who ever made the etching have normally used Arabic on one side. Makes no sense if he/she would etch pseudo Arabic gibberish on the other side. Imho, there is a 'k' and '5' on the other 'latin' inscription but I could be wrong. Interesting piece anyways!
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Old 14th May 2012, 01:01 PM   #15
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An awesome sword Norman, thanks for sharing!

Gav
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Old 14th May 2012, 03:32 PM   #16
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Hi Guys,
Thanks to all for your continued interest and comments. Am still searching the net etc. for more answers. Please feel free to chip in with any ideas.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 14th May 2012, 04:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Hey mate,

I meant the 3rd picture. Seems like latin letters to me.



Hi,
See what you mean but not Latin, am thinking from somewhere possibly in the Eastern part of the Austro-Hungarian empire but am a bit stumped at the moment. Looks for all the world like a set of three initials and a date????
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 14th May 2012, 05:26 PM   #18
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It occured to me that the crescent moon with three stars might pertain to a particular part of the empire. That might help to ID the script?
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Old 14th May 2012, 05:31 PM   #19
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Just noticed the crescent and stars. Reminds me of my straight Yemeni Karabella..
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Old 14th May 2012, 05:51 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Just noticed the crescent and stars. Reminds me of my straight Yemeni Karabella..



Three crescent moons and three stars.... interesting.

Wasn't that the first flag of the independant Egypt a crescent moon and three stars??

Edit: add flag.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:F..._Egypt_1922.svg
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Old 14th May 2012, 06:14 PM   #21
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Hey Gene, How you doing? :-)

I have suggested this before in a discussion with Iain (or Gav, cant remember) I think the stamp is Egyptian khediwi symbol on my sword. Could this be the same for Norman's pala? Maybe its european made for Egypt when the army was being standardised there.. Just guessing really ;P
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Old 14th May 2012, 07:47 PM   #22
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Hi Guys,
See what you mean about the Egyptian connection but a couple of things bother me about that. The configuration of the crescent and stars are not the same and more than that, generally the hilts on military swords especially of the 19thC denote the country of origin by some symbol or design on the basket, in this case the shape and design of this particular 'honeysuckle' basket says to me Austria, Austro-Hungarian empire or possibly Switzerland or even Southern German States although of course an emerging military anywhere could use a readily available design. The aforementioned doesn't explain the Koranic verse on the blade which, of course, tends to point to an Islamic state as an origin although this would not necessarily discount European provenance as the 'Orientalist' taste was very popular in 19thC Europe. I'm convinced that the sword is certainly mid 19thC give or take a bit. Thanks to all for their input so far.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 14th May 2012, 07:55 PM   #23
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Hi,
Hilt on Austrian sabre C1850. Photo from sabres.cz site.
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Old 14th May 2012, 09:02 PM   #24
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I have seen genuine Oriental blades in British hilts, I have seen genuine Turkish barrels mounted as Austrian hunting rifles. Prior to the 1830s and even later, Eastern blades and barrels were often seen as superior to the Western product. I see this as a genuine Turkish blade , mounted at the time as an Austrian service sword, perhaps via another country like Greece or Montenegro.
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Old 14th May 2012, 10:41 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
I have seen genuine Oriental blades in British hilts, I have seen genuine Turkish barrels mounted as Austrian hunting rifles. Prior to the 1830s and even later, Eastern blades and barrels were often seen as superior to the Western product. I see this as a genuine Turkish blade , mounted at the time as an Austrian service sword, perhaps via another country like Greece or Montenegro.


Hmm, I would have fully agreed if the etching wasnt present. The fact that the Arabic inscription is etched in european style makes me think its a european production. Koftgari seems to be the way to go for turkish arms so doubt they'd use such etching.
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Old 14th May 2012, 10:51 PM   #26
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I remember seeing a shamshir here in Kuwait, it had a european clauberg like blade but the fittings were typical Persian style. The crossguard had Quranic inscription. The blade was very interesting, it was etched in european style, at the ricasso it says "constantinople" and through out the blade maybe about 3 inchs shy from the tip its fully etched with motifs, upon viewing it from certain sides it reflects the Aya sofia which was really nice, I never seen a blade with such a visual trick. The other motifs I think are of old constantinople, european style archticture and walls, maybe some heraldic symbols.. I thought the blade looks alot like a clauberg trade blade because it had 2 shallow fullers and on the top fuller there are 3 deep fullers. There was no clauberg knight stamp.

I somehow was silly enough not to take a picture of it, maybe because I was busy admiring the wootz shamshir which I have bought. When I visited later it was sold to a Saudi, maybe if I meet him I would ask to take pictures.
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Old 15th May 2012, 12:14 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
mho, there is a 'k' and '5' on the other 'latin' inscription but I could be wrong. Interesting piece anyways!
Salam Aleikum my Brother
you are nearly right
- the "k" seems to be really a "k" ... but the "5" I have a doubt

I practiced a little bit the paleography with French documents for genealogical purpose,
with this experience, I think that may be;
-
-
-
-
Serb alphabet extracted from Wikipedia
Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
highly doubt that Serbs will quote Quran so it could be muslims speaker of the language.
it sure, that the Serbs wasn't Arabic speakers, but part of them was (are, still yet) Muslims
the Ottoman empire was until Vienna's gates, for a long time
as you know, it was always more Muslims than Arabic speakers, as well as now
also nothing strange, to find Islamic mention on weapons not Arabic

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
The inscription at the top says "bashir almumeneen" (bring glad tidings to the believers. Quranic verse) the bottom one says "hibir/hisir (?) albab" (I think its either a name or a sufi reference albab means door)
may I suggest you, what my translator ... read
BASHIR AL MUMENEEN, KHAYR AL BAB either (but may be you could be better than me for that ...) GIVE THEM THE HOPE TO GET THE PARADISE
as far as I understood; "khayr al bab" it's the best door of the paradise, who has several


enough ... that's set for today ...

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Old 15th May 2012, 09:08 PM   #28
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Hi,
Thanks guys for your continued input.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 16th May 2012, 03:34 AM   #29
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Hi Norman,
Excellent discussion and fascinating sabre! and nicely done research in the entries by all on a topic I had not really encountered before. This is the first Ive seen of these apparantly Austrian sabres with pala blades. I agree this blade appears European interpretation of these Ottoman forms.

I would suggest this Austrian pattern officers hilt post 1845 with this unusual blade may be associated with diplomatic or presentation circumstances during the early years of the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1878 until WWI. This was undertaken with concerns with the decaying Ottoman control and strategic location, and possibly the Islamic motif had to do of course with Bosniak matters there, perhaps with military officer in Austrian service. I am not familiar with the alphabet of these regions but perhaps the letters may correspond to that period in these regions? The stars and crescent may also have to do with device in the developing Bosnian flag or insignia. I had originally thought of these symbols used as mentioned in Egypt and Arabian context, as well as shooting stars and crescent used by Solingen later in the 19th c. but as yet unclear on those possible connections.

Just a theory, but seems plausible that further research might reveal some connection, and as already noted, this sword likely quite important to that historical period.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 16th May 2012, 02:48 PM   #30
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Hi Jim,
Just a quick note. Thanks for your input re this unusual piece. What I have not said before is that there is clear evidence of the sword having been used, not abused, combatively i.e. small nicks on the edge where one may expect them and some small 'cuts' on the upper edge consistent with edge contact/parrying with another blade. I'm not sure about the date to the latter half of the 19thC I'm pretty sure the hilt pattern had changed by then. Thanks again for having a look. I would be interested if anyone could comment more on the make up of the blade re the obvious pattern, is it definitely a pattern welded blade?
My Regards,
Norman.
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