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Old 14th June 2012, 12:18 AM   #1
Stasa Katz
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Default An immense Khyber sword

(To moderator I already purchased this item. Am putting in link from ebay. If this is wrong, feel free to delete entire post.)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...em=221024886648

Dear friends, I recently had the pleasure of purchasing this on eBay from Major Tomm.

Fascinating item. Handle is shorter than is customary for a salawar yataghan, aka khyber sword, yet the blade is 3 to 4 inches longer than is usual for such blades.

The blade has a series of interesting marks, am not sure if they are an attempt to replicate old European hall markings or not.

Animal head on pommel is another unusual feature.

Blade has the T spine, but the T structure is less pronounced, and a bit shallower than the other, more typical khyber sword I own.

Even arrived with a quite good scabbard that is probably not original but still very well made. Scabbards suffer a lot of wear and tear and sword scabbards, being much longer than knife scabbards would likely incur very much harder use as tips project out and likely to hit hard on rocks as wearer walks by. A wood core scabbard would probably have more and eventualy splitstress from the greater weight of a sword blade, making original scabbards very difficult to come by.

A most interesting beast.
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Old 14th June 2012, 03:14 PM   #2
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Hi John
a very nice Kyber sword, surely has been a faithful comrade,
for an old proud Afghan warrior
could be nice from you, to display here, your own pictures,
included the scabbard
nice caught

+

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Old 14th June 2012, 03:47 PM   #3
Norman McCormick
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Hi John,
My apologies but I have my serious doubts as to the authenticity of your Khyber knife with regard to its age. Some time ago another Forum member purchased an item from the same source which turned out to be 'less than he had hoped' although, apart from that particular one, I could/will not comment on any other items this dealer/collector has sold or has for sale. It probably does come from India but not I think from the first half of the 19thC. I sincerely hope I am wrong and I await further comments from other members with interest. If I am correct you will not be alone just joining a long list of collectors who have 'misconstrued' an item advertised by a supposed authority on the Net.
Regards,
Norman.

Last edited by Norman McCormick : 14th June 2012 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 14th June 2012, 05:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi John,
My apologies but I have my serious doubts as to the authenticity of your Khyber knife with regard to its age. ...snip... It probably does come from India but not I think from the first half of the 19thC.
Hi John and Norman
I will try to adjust it a bit, this first comment
ref. to A.C. Tirri in his book "Islamic Weapons"
most of "khyber knifes (to don't said ... all) recorded in his book, are declared 19th century
the Khyber knife displayed by John seems similar, at least by the blade, the handle, it's an other matter

I have read the following comments;
- grip are usually made of horn, bone, ivory
- blades of the better specimens are made of wootz steel
- some early versions have a slightly recurved blade
the handle from John's knife, doesn't match with general description

now where I'm backing my friend Norman, it's about "authenticity"
- unique antique Afghan Indo-Persian sword (as far as, they are hand made, all are "UNIQUE")
- surely this must have belonged to a chief or tribal leader (absolute extrapolation , without a beginning of prove)
- possibly an executionner's sword ? (pure phantasm)

in short, just sales pitches without any technical merit and without valid references

all the best

+

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Old 14th June 2012, 05:09 PM   #5
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I would simply observe that the pommel of this sword is in violation of the tenets of Islam; is it not ?
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Old 14th June 2012, 05:19 PM   #6
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Salaams all~ It looks like a real one to me ~ The wear looks uniform and the hilt seems right... I saw a load of these in Kabul (Chicken Street) Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 14th June 2012, 05:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I would simply observe that the pommel of this sword is in violation of the tenets of Islam; is it not ?
LOL
Rick in the caracter of, a .... "Great Ayatollah"
the Qajars, have had helmets with what it was supposed to be an "evil face"
as well as their mace, horned devil
in our days ... should be an other story

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Old 14th June 2012, 05:27 PM   #8
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I would simply observe that the pommel of this sword is in violation of the tenets of Islam; is it not ?



Salaams Rick, Im missing something here.. . what is the violation ...? Ah you refer to the illustration of animal form ~ That would be the case in certain parts but not Indo Persian/ Afghan regions. The artform developed differently. Ibrahiim al Balooshi

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Old 14th June 2012, 05:33 PM   #9
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I saw a load of these in Kabul (Chicken Street) Ibrahiim al Balooshi. [/QUOTE]


Hi Ibrahiim,
This possibly reinforces my point?
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 14th June 2012, 05:47 PM   #10
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
I saw a load of these in Kabul (Chicken Street) Ibrahiim al Balooshi.



Hi Ibrahiim,
This possibly reinforces my point?
My Regards,
Norman.[/QUOTE]

Its possible~ Afghans make all sorts of old new stuff.. but looking at the wear it seems old enough to include in 19th C ...Its not overdone decoratively which tends to happen to tourist knives/swords. The sword blade marks are peculiar ... Ive not seen them before which is a plus..ie not a popular copied style of blademark... The wear looks consistant but without being able to closely observe it... I think it wise to hold a decision in the 50/50 region. In Chicken Street you can commission a brand new one for about the same price...
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Old 14th June 2012, 06:21 PM   #11
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John

The hilt is all wrong never saw one like it. The sword itself lacks the quality often found in 19th century pieces. The hilt if was done in Afghanistan is not original and may have been added later in its life as a repair I think this would have been rehilted or came from Southern India due the monster head on the end of the hilt? Here are some examples of hilts for you to compare.

Lew
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Old 14th June 2012, 07:39 PM   #12
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I never like to be quick on a verdict when it comes to non standard or unusual versions of weapons. Even in stones there are old kukries with tulwar handles. In northern Indian cross over happens. I think the handle and blade are a great match and each part are surley old. What I do have a problem with is the copper clout nail uesd to secure the handle. So I really hate to say it especially as I collect the odd stuff, this does not look right. You paid handsomely for this I would piont it out to the seller.

http://www.toolstation.com/shop/p84270
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Old 14th June 2012, 08:01 PM   #13
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Not my main speciality area - but I would certainly say the brass animal head hilt part did not originally belong to the knife, and has been added at some stage, as others have pointed out.

Where and when it was added is open to question...
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Old 14th June 2012, 08:03 PM   #14
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Hi John,

Sorry to also be a little negative about this piece.
I had a good look at that piece in person when it was sold back in February at auction.
I remember that there was some movement on the hilt and the general construction with the single copper rivet appearing to hold it all together seemed inadequate for the task.
Not to mention the atypical to say the least design of the hilt and general 'feel' made me wonder if it wasn't either a marriage, 'put together' or a late piece made to impress those who travel.

The blade looked to me to be possibly older than the hilt. The stamped 'decoration' looks to have been rubbed/worn/cleaned etc, suggesting age, while the crude bronze hilt seems to have remained relatively 'as cast'.

That said, in it's defence it certainly does have a 'look' to it, and it also has size on it's side!


ATB
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Old 14th June 2012, 11:22 PM   #15
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Ahh this piece again! I too have seen & handled it a few months ago... It is certanly interesting!

My perception in hand was a recently buffed mono steel blade from earlyish 20th century combined with an interesting cast head of some form, also combined with a badly cut & decorated piece of sheet brass pinned through with a single copper boat building nail or similar. It seemed to wrap over the bolster rather than fit to it. I presumed the cast head came from some other non Khyber sword item, added to the blade & with the sheet added to pull the design together..

I guess your at least the 4th owner in 4 months which isnt so bad as at least two of the others were proffesional dealers who etched it with ferric chrloride hoping to find wootz... {I am sure incidently there both members of this forum to. } Then the acid wasnt neutralised to allow it to badley re patina { or rust.} slighty before resale to the next hopefull dealer or collector. , till finaly it reached ebay & your good self.

The handle is loose & rateley on the single nail pivot. I assumed the marrige of 3 parts was probably western due to the lack of traditional feeling. But certanly still dramatic! But I could be wrong & indeed perhaps thats the current level of some "chicken street" work, I dont know Ive never been there.

I thought it was an interesting piece , very unique head on it & certanly a "massive" piece, its value? Thats up to the person who pays for it I guess?


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Old 14th June 2012, 11:49 PM   #16
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John

Based on the feedback from your post may I suggest you contact the seller and ask for a refund. You laid out a lot of $$$ for this piece plus if you had it shipped to the USA you laid out $43 in shipping fees
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Old 15th June 2012, 12:16 AM   #17
Stasa Katz
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Default Ah well, live and learn..

Ha, this is a blade collector's version of of the Artur Schniztler play, La Ronde.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Ronde_(play)

Ah, this blade has had its travels, eh?

In consolation, I do have a true Khyber and sheath that are the real deal.
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Old 15th June 2012, 01:27 AM   #18
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I cannot recall another example of such a uniformly-negative opinion on this rather polite and placid Forum!

BTW, Lew, on the 3 from above pic you posted, the lowest khyber ( the one with virtually no pommel, - do you have any idea how old it was? I have a suspicion that such pommel-less handles are seen on really old ones. Here is the opportunity to verify my hypothesis:-)
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Old 15th June 2012, 02:12 AM   #19
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Ariel

That one is probably Indian and not Afghan. Artzi had one on his table a few year back and that was the consensus. 1825-1850 I would think? Probably belonged to someone of high status. Let me clearify Northern India AKA Pakistan

Last edited by Lew : 15th June 2012 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 15th June 2012, 03:18 AM   #20
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Well, the drag on the scabbard looks afghani to me, akin to military examples.
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Old 15th June 2012, 05:26 AM   #21
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I must agree on the negativity point as well as disparaging notes. It seems clear that John was quite pleased with this Khyber and was kind enough to share it here, then the barrage of discrediting comments certainly must have quickly taken the wind out of his sails.

In my opinion this piece regardless if relatively modernly refurbished (and John made well placed points on these common cases) remains a representative example of these weapons which of course have been used even into more current times.The blade does seem of age, and as has been noted the grip material and the cast pommel are of course replacements.
The simple motif of dots in circle are well known in Afghan items as are other features in context, and to me I see nothing suggesting this might be from Indian regions to the south.

In remote tribal regions weapons are constantly refurbished and especially during times of war or unrest, situations that have remained in flux in tribal regions of Afghanistan throughout recent history. I would consider this an interesting example of these distinct tribal weapons of Afghanistan and as been well pointed out, its rough demeanor suggests it was for use rather than tourist consumption.

Throughout the years that I collected I acquired many weapons that others scoffed at, mostly because I saw them for what they were, and even though not necessarily at the standards of others, I truly enjoyed them for what I learned from them. I also learned about certain protocols toward the weapons of others, and perhaps I am a bit too 'old school'.
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Old 15th June 2012, 05:35 AM   #22
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hi john

in my opinion the handle is not original; and was cut...and modified
What is on is that the person who sold you the sword, sells of the nine of the old ! one must be very careful...
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Old 15th June 2012, 10:08 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Well, the drag on the scabbard looks afghani to me, akin to military examples.

Ariel

The scabbard is a recently made replacement made within the last 50 yrs or so it is not original to the knife.
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Old 15th June 2012, 10:31 AM   #24
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[QUOTE=Jim McDougall]I and to me I see nothing suggesting this might be from Indian regions to the south.

Jim

The monster motif can be seen on many examples from Southern India but they tend to be in a serpent form except for the bottom one which looks like a cross between some type of tiger or lion? The only thing that I could come up with that resembles the hilt is the demon head hilt on a Bhutan sword. Patas also have similar designs on the hilt.
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Old 15th June 2012, 12:08 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew
Ariel

The scabbard is a recently made replacement made within the last 50 yrs or so it is not original to the knife.


Yes, I understand, but it means that the khyber itself was residing in Afghanistan at the end of the 19th - beginning of 20th century ( when the military khybers were abundant) and perceived as Afghani by the natives. What made people believe it was Indian? Those usually have much more elaborate handles. This one is IMHO far too simple for the indian variety. Blade, - I can see your point: chiseling, bling-bling..... :-)
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Old 15th June 2012, 01:35 PM   #26
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Northern India in the 19th century is now Pakistan and the border now is very fluid
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Old 15th June 2012, 03:46 PM   #27
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On the origin questian of Lews piece, I {I think. } Interestingly seem to recall from Eggerton that the Kabul Armouries were often staffed by Sikhs weapon smiths from the Punjab or some such?

{Havent got a copy to hand so cant quote exactly & could be mistaken perhaps? Not read it for 10 or so years.}

Just a little bit more grist to the mill!

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Old 15th June 2012, 04:37 PM   #28
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WELL THIS POST DOES ESTABLISH A PROVENANCE OF SORTS.
CONSIDERING THE STORY OF THE AMOUNT OF MOVEMENT FROM COLLECTION TO COLLECTION I WOULD SAY THE PRICE WAS VERY REASONABLE. IF IT HAD BEEN SERIOUS DEALERS EACH ADDING THEIR MARK UPS FOR PROFIT IT SHOULD HAVE SOLD FOR MUCH MORE.
THE SELLER COULD HAVE SAID SWORD HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER BY MANY. HAS BEEN IN THE COLLECTIONS OF SEVERAL NOTED COLLECTORS. UNIQUE POSSIBLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE CULT OF LEOPARD MEN, CHIEFS PERSONEL EXECUTION SWORD LARGEST EXAMPLE IN EXHISTANCE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF MANY.
DON'T LET THESE POSTS GET YOU DOWN ENJOY YOUR SWORD, IT HAS SURELY DRAWN MORE POSTS THAN MOST SWORDS AND IS CERTINALY INFAMOUS NOW , THIS THREAD HAS SET A BENCHMARK OF SORTS. YOU NOW ARE THE OWNER OF THIS FAMOUS SWORD AND NO ONE ELSE HAS ONE
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Old 15th June 2012, 04:53 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew
[QUOTE=Jim McDougall]I and to me I see nothing suggesting this might be from Indian regions to the south.

Jim

The monster motif can be seen on many examples from Southern India but they tend to be in a serpent form except for the bottom one which looks like a cross between some type of tiger or lion? The only thing that I could come up with that resembles the hilt is the demon head hilt on a Bhutan sword. Patas also have similar designs on the hilt.



Well observed Lew. While it is true that most grotesque zoomorphics are generally held to be used in 'southern' Indian motifs, it is also known that stylized versions were quite present in northern regions. The yali and makara are of course deeply represented in Hindu theology, but the applications seem adopted in other contexts as well. The diversity of influences affecting weapon and component industry in many areas in Rajasthan certainly reflected many of these kinds of representations.

The bottom sword is I believe from the western Malabar regions and perhaps into regions of the Deccan, and the zoomorphic head is most interesting as it strongly resembles 'doghead' or 'lionhead' pommels on 18th century British military swords (c. 1770s-90s).

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 15th June 2012, 05:10 PM   #30
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Hi All,
I think some folks may have got the wrong end of the stick with regard to my post. I don't think I was being disparaging or negative merely calling into question the claims made by the seller as to the age of the piece nothing more, please reread my original post for clarification. A Forum member did buy a Tabar from this seller which upon receipt turned out to be "not as described". I have watched this seller on the net from whence he started and have not bought from him as I personally have been unable to satisfy myself as to the veracity of the descriptions given that is not to say that the descriptions themselves were inaccurate or untruthful. These items are not new and are therefore subject to "opinions" as the hard facts are no longer available. I stick to my guns, this Khyber knife is not in entirety from {1800-1849}, may or may not be in entirety from {India} and is not in entirety {original}. Text/dates in brackets are the words used by the seller. I sincerely hope that John is not put off but is, as was my intention, more aware that photos and descriptions can sometimes be misleading although whether or not this is the case here is yet to be resolved. I am only too aware that personal fiscal and emotional input is a part of "our hobby" and I have written on the Forum about this before but I am convinced in this case that I was appropriately diplomatic in my statements with regard to John's purchase.
My Regards to All,
Norman.

Last edited by Norman McCormick : 15th June 2012 at 05:21 PM.
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