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Old 11th July 2013, 02:22 PM   #1
Dmitry
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Default Arabian shamshir with Hungarian blade

Just wanted to share the photos of this great sword with you. Even though this is not my area of collecting, I can appreciate the beauty of it. Blade is massive, 82 cm-long, almost 4 cm-wide. An interesting detail is the old typewritten label stating that someone named Frank F. Blackburn purchased it in Mozul, at the Thieves Bazar in 1930.
The blade is inscribed AUT VINCER MO HUNGARIA, which I roughly translated from Latin as VICTORY FOR MY HUNGARY, and is engraved with figures in hussar dress. Elgood describes blades like that as Majar, an Arabic for Magyar, which means 'a Hungarian' in Hungarian language. Apparently they were prized by the arabs for their quality.
I think the blade is probably earlier than the rest of the sword. I would date the sword to the 19th c., and the blade to 18th c.
Your opinions are welcome.
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Old 11th July 2013, 03:21 PM   #2
CharlesS
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I am always amazed by the endless variety of cross cultural pieces. Thanks for posting this.
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Old 11th July 2013, 05:17 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
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This is a fascinating example with some truly exciting potential!
Clearly the Syrian type hilt suggests Arabian attribution, and the Hungarian blade is well noted by Robert Elgood in his outstanding book on Arabian arms.
The collection tag is most interesting and I am curious about the rather broad assertion of being captured in 'Balkan wars' of 1800-50. I wonder of course which wars these might refer to, although obviously these were turbulent times with the Ottomans, and if perhaps an Arabian officer might have had this on campaign.
I agree with the 18th century attribution for this hussar type blade, and recall these same mounts and similarly inscribed Hungarian blades often misidentified as 18th century Hungarian sabres from years ago.

I also find the coral beads entwined in the chain guard interesting, and perhaps these offer possibility for the Balkan note as arent coral and turquoise often studded into certain yataghan hilts from those regions?
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Old 11th July 2013, 05:24 PM   #4
A.alnakkas
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A very nice example! yes there is a good representation of such blades with Arabian mounts. I have found plenty since I have started collecting. They are indeed excellent swords and no wonder that the Arabs liked them.
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Old 11th July 2013, 07:38 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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An interesting side note on Hungarian blades, few if any of these were actually made in Hungary, and I suspect many of these were actually Solingen or Styrian products.

One of these sabres is shown in 'Swords and Armour: Weapons of the Islamic World' , Riyadh, 1991, p.92, and it is noted that the hilt is in the 'Baddawi' form and blade is of type 'made in Hungary' in 17th-18th centuries. It is noted that these swords were notably for the Najdi dancing.
I am unclear on exactly what this pertains to but it is interesting to note ceremonial aspects of many Arabian swords, as well discussed with Ibrahiim on the Omani kattara and the Funoon.

I would still like to know what significance with the coral beads in the chain guard. Some of these type features seem to occur in the form of small 'amuletic' type items in the chain, but often a string of beads in specific number are seen. It seems I read somewhere this has to do with religious significance in Islamic Faith.
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Old 11th July 2013, 07:59 PM   #6
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I am not familiar with the history of Hungarian blade making, but I have no doubt that this blade was made in Solingen. It says Eisenhauer on it in large letters.
I don't think this was a dancing sword, unless it was a dance of death. One could take someone's head off with it in a split second.
It's a miracle the knuckle chain survived, most of these shamshirs that I've encountered in books and in museums had the chains missing, being delicate as they are. The beads have ornamental quality, pretty as they are, and maybe other significance, perhaps as the Islamic rosary beads?...
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Old 12th July 2013, 01:13 AM   #7
A.alnakkas
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The Ardha dance is carried out with real combat swords to this day. The weight and balance of a sword made for combat is something that an ardha player likes to have instead of a sword that waves like a crowbar.

Certain moves in the ardha dance are only done with a slightly curved blade and are not done in highly curved wootz blades for example. That move is when the sword is held over the head from the middle and is usually whirled around with agile finger movement although some would just hold it over without whirling. In my observation of the dance, I have never seen anyone hold a wootz blade over his head like that and yes, plenty of wootz blades leave the closet once its time for ardha! ;-)

Here is an example of the movement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDZcDStJPXU

1:00 +

You see King Abdullah throwing the sword up and grabbing it from the middle and whirling it. One of the best performances I have ever seen, he is a professional. Also, from the videos I watched of him doing the ardha, he would always do it with a slightly curved sword and heard from the dancers that he prefers Abu Askiri (clauberg)
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Old 12th July 2013, 04:56 AM   #8
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oops, didnt see the eisenhauer! but that pretty well cinches it. Used to love descriptions of swords noting the blade with makers name..eisenhauer

Lofty thank you for the description of this sword dance and comments on the use of these swords in them.
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Old 28th January 2018, 12:30 AM   #9
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This is a REAL sword dance, performed with fighting swords.
This is why I was always hesitant about Ibrahiim's claim that Omani kattaras were special "dancing" swords.
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Old 28th January 2018, 12:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitry


.....purchased it in Mozul, at the Thieves Bazar in 1930.




Yes, Mosul is in Iraq.
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Old 28th January 2018, 04:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitry
The blade is inscribed AUT VINCER MO HUNGARIA, which I roughly translated from Latin as VICTORY FOR MY HUNGARY, and is engraved with figures in hussar dress.


The inscription, badly spelled, should read VINCERE AUT MORI HUNGARIA -- conquer or die for Hungary. It was frequently used on northern and eastern European blades of the 17th and 18th cents. -- depending on the retail market for the blades, another country's name (frequently POLONIA) was substituted, or simply omitted. The occurrence of spelling errors may be attributed to illiterate artisans copying from pattern-books, and perhaps the general decline in the use of Latin outside of academia and the legal/medical professions in post-Reformation Europe.
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Old 28th January 2018, 07:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
The inscription, badly spelled, should read VINCERE AUT MORI HUNGARIA -- conquer or die for Hungary. It was frequently used on northern and eastern European blades of the 17th and 18th cents.


Ooopss I think that is an improper translation
Vincere aut mori is a latin sentence used by gladiators in the arena
its "Kill or die" (meaning), victory or death (litteraly)
its was then reused on many 18th European blades in French and Spanish too.
Another word was added a country, Patria or sometimes just the name of the king Roy or Rey... Then the moto became Nationalist...
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Old 28th January 2018, 11:47 AM   #13
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Excellent example and in pretty good condition!

As far as I know there were NO blade making centers in Hungary and ALL the "Hungarian" blades were made in Solingen or other places in Germany and Austria. As far as I know... but that doesn't stretch too far.

Does anybody know of any proof there were blade making centers in Hungary?
Does anybody know of a Hungarian swordsmith?
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