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Old 18th November 2013, 12:13 PM   #1
ALEX
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Default Historic Saudi sabre sells for $1 m

A nice saif. Likely 19th C Syrian indeed. The typical combination of "Ya qadi al-Hayat"(O Giver of Life) and Assad/Lion cartouches. Most likely a wootz blade. The silver scabbard looks gold-washed/plated(?). Let's refrain from making value-related comments and admire the meaningfulness and value placed on such weapons.
Congratulations to the new owner.
Here's news article..

Paris (AFP) - A rare sabre considered a "historic testimony" to the creation of modern-day Saudi Arabia sold for more than $1.2 million at an auction in France on Sunday.

The 24-carat-gold and steel sword, with an ivory handle and long curved blade, was bought for 955,400 euros over the phone "by a mysterious buyer who entered bidding mid-sale," said auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat.

The sword was a gift from Saudi King Abdul-Aziz bin Saud to Prince Ahmad Shah Khan in Afghanistan to mark the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on May 5, 1932.

The sabre, which has a blade nearly 79 centimetres (30 inches) long, was later sold to a private buyer.

It had been valued at between 800,000 and 1.2 million euros ahead of Sunday's auction. The sale provoked "very lively interest among collectors in the Middle East," the Osenat auction house said.

The sabre could be of 19th-century Syrian origin.

"The symbolism of the sabre is important in Arab countries," said Osenat's Jean-Christophe Chataignier.

"To offer a sabre is an act of definite friendship, loyalty, confidence and mutual protection between provider and beneficiary."
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Old 19th November 2013, 01:04 PM   #2
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To be honest, I don't think it is necessarily 19th century or Syrian. It looks to me like a very nice, but not untypical, Saudi Arabian presentation sword of the mid 20th century. The blade is probably Caucasian or Persian and the mounts most likely are Saudi Arabian manufacture. Similar swords were also given as gifts by the Emirs of Bahrain and probably other Gulf rulers.
Nevertheless, I would love to have it!
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Old 19th November 2013, 01:28 PM   #3
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WOW, the price ofcourse. At first when I saw it I thought, wow another stolen item from Kabul museum.
The blade is of the Safavid royal work shop with the royal lion seal, has nothing to do with Assadullah, his name could be on the other side but still. It is a nice piece non the less.
If I remember correctly, the only Prince Ahmad Shah I can think of was the son of Zaher Shah, which would have been very young to not being born yet in 1932.
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Old 19th November 2013, 06:27 PM   #4
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Old 19th November 2013, 06:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1356
WOW, the price ofcourse. At first when I saw it I thought, wow another stolen item from Kabul museum.
The blade is of the Safavid royal work shop with the royal lion seal, has nothing to do with Assadullah, his name could be on the other side but still. It is a nice piece non the less.
If I remember correctly, the only Prince Ahmad Shah I can think of was the son of Zaher Shah, which would have been very young to not being born yet in 1932.



Salaams AJ1356 ~ (Both paragraphs below refer to wikipedia pages on the subject Prince Ahmad Sah Khan and Saudia Arabia)

1.The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (known for most of his career as Ibn Saud) in 1932. The sword must have been presented later...

2. Ahmad Shah, Crown Prince of Afghanistan (born 23 September 1934) is the second son of Mohammed Zahir Shah, the former King of Afghanistan, and the heir apparent to the throne of Afghanistan. Thus certainly after 1934 at least !!

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Old 19th November 2013, 07:10 PM   #6
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Providence means everything!
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Old 20th November 2013, 06:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams AJ1356 ~ (Both paragraphs below refer to wikipedia pages on the subject Prince Ahmad Sah Khan and Saudia Arabia)

1.The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (known for most of his career as Ibn Saud) in 1932. The sword must have been presented later...

2. Ahmad Shah, Crown Prince of Afghanistan (born 23 September 1934) is the second son of Mohammed Zahir Shah, the former King of Afghanistan, and the heir apparent to the throne of Afghanistan. Thus certainly after 1934 at least !!

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.


Salaams Ibrahiim, If you look at the picture, it clearly shows an Afghan dignitary setting next to the Saudi King, and at the end of the caption it says 1932. The text is partly blocked by the sword. What I am saying is it might have been presented to the guy in the picture, not to prince Ahamd Shah.

Fun fact I went to the same school as Ahmad Shah, except I did not get thrown out of school, like he did. {apparently he kept failing} What a douche.
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Old 20th November 2013, 02:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1356
Salaams Ibrahiim, If you look at the picture, it clearly shows an Afghan dignitary setting next to the Saudi King, and at the end of the caption it says 1932. The text is partly blocked by the sword. What I am saying is it might have been presented to the guy in the picture, not to prince Ahamd Shah.

Fun fact I went to the same school as Ahmad Shah, except I did not get thrown out of school, like he did. {apparently he kept failing} What a douche.


Salaams yes I saw that it is in two languages French and English...It refers to the date 1932... The birthdate of the Saudia Arabia formation. Not to the presentation date perhaps ~ but I am searching to find a picture of Ahmad Shah. Funny they chucked him out of school ! Anyway they posted him off to Oxford university later...I wonder if this is his brother in the picture?...checking...no its not him; Muhammed Akbar Khan was only a year older than him and died when only 9 years old... perhaps then it is the old king himself ? Anyway here is a picture of Ahmad Shah.

The sword looks like a Straight Street Damascus job... or could quite easily be a Saudia production. I have one like it worth a whole lot less!! but the price on your presentation subject is entirely ruled by the ruler giving it away in the picture.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 20th November 2013, 03:52 PM   #9
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I showed the pic to some old dudes, and they were like from the hat it seems to be before Zaher Shah's time, since people did not wear those kinds of hat during his time. They said it could be one of his in-laws.
As far as the saber itself, it is a re-hilted Safavid blade.
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Old 20th November 2013, 04:00 PM   #10
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for those who're interested in associated history, here's more info and some documents that were part of the lot
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Old 20th November 2013, 04:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1356
I showed the pic to some old dudes, and they were like from the hat it seems to be before Zaher Shah's time, since people did not wear those kinds of hat during his time. They said it could be one of his in-laws.
As far as the saber itself, it is a re-hilted Safavid blade.


That is interesting ... are you dating the blade as Safavid by the cartouche?
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Old 20th November 2013, 04:10 PM   #12
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the blade, and cartouches, are much later, likely 19th C. The later fittings are likely 20th C as Richard commented. The rehilting could have been done anywhere, Damascus or SA. Here's similar Arabian saif.
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Old 20th November 2013, 07:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
To be honest, I don't think it is necessarily 19th century or Syrian. It looks to me like a very nice, but not untypical, Saudi Arabian presentation sword of the mid 20th century. The blade is probably Caucasian or Persian and the mounts most likely are Saudi Arabian manufacture. Similar swords were also given as gifts by the Emirs of Bahrain and probably other Gulf rulers.
Nevertheless, I would love to have it!
Regards
Richard


This is true. Below are similar saifs gifted to Harry S. Truman by the royal family of Saudi Arabia, now on display in HST Library in Independence, Missouri.
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Old 21st November 2013, 01:26 PM   #14
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Default Safavid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
This is true. Below are similar saifs gifted to Harry S. Truman by the royal family of Saudi Arabia, now on display in HST Library in Independence, Missouri.




Salaams Alex... So true about the presentation nature of this great sword design/style. Here is Wikipedia on Safavid;


The Safavid dynasty (Persian: سلسلهٔ صفويان‎; Azerbaijani: Səfəvilər imperiyası, صفویلر) was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Persia (modern Iran), and is often considered the beginning of modern Persian history. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires after the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim history. The Safavids ruled from 1501 to 1722 (experiencing a brief restoration from 1729 to 1736) and at their height, they controlled all of modern Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia, most of Iraq, Georgia, Afghanistan, and the Caucasus, as well as parts of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey. Safavid Iran was one of the Islamic "gunpowder empires", along with its neighbours, the Ottoman and Mughal empires.

The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the Safaviyya Sufi order, which was established in the city of Ardabil in the Azerbaijan region. It was of mixed ancestry (Azerbaijani, Kurdish Persian and Turkmen, which included intermarriages with Georgian and Pontic Greek dignitaries). From their base in Ardabil, the Safavids established control over all of Greater Iran and reasserted the Iranian identity of the region, thus becoming the first native dynasty since the Sassanid Empire to establish a unified Iranian state.

Despite their demise in 1736, the legacy that they left behind was the revival of Persia as an economic stronghold between East and West, the establishment of an efficient state and bureaucracy based upon "checks and balances", their architectural innovations and their patronage for fine arts. The Safavids have also left their mark down to the present era by spreading Shi'a Islam in Iran, as well as major parts of the Caucasus, South Asia, Central Asia, and Anatolia.

Please see below for the Shah Abbas Sword. Taken from the picture by Nasser-sadeghi at https://www.google.com/search?q=saf...lient=firefox-a

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 21st November 2013, 02:32 PM   #15
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The presence of Shah Abbas, Assad-Allah, etc. cartouches does not imply Safavid origin. this has been written and discussed so many times before So many of those cartouches were added later. The blade of presentation saif above is not Safavid. The one with two gold inlaid cartouches is more likely. but could be anywhere of 18-19 C i.e. early-late Qajar period.
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Old 21st November 2013, 06:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
The presence of Shah Abbas, Assad-Allah, etc. cartouches does not imply Safavid origin. this has been written and discussed so many times before So many of those cartouches were added later. The blade of presentation saif above is not Safavid. The one with two gold inlaid cartouches is more likely. but could be anywhere of 18-19 C i.e. early-late Qajar period.



Salaams... Oh yes quite absolutely ... Like many masters his name was appearing on blades for a few hundred years..The subject blade has a couple of cartouche but I can't make out the words...which may lead us to discover the makers name? Not frankly that it makes a lot of difference...anyway I cite the detail on Safavid so that Forum library ... and those members wishing to refresh on that detail can easily do so.

I find the price tag interesting since the detail appears incorrect ... and for that money I would want a certain degree of accuracy...since clearly it is the photo and accompanying documents that have pumped the price.

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Old 22nd November 2013, 12:02 PM   #17
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In the second picture of King Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh in 1942 you will see most of his courtiers are wearing very similar swords.
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Old 23rd November 2013, 05:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
The presence of Shah Abbas, Assad-Allah, etc. cartouches does not imply Safavid origin. this has been written and discussed so many times before So many of those cartouches were added later. The blade of presentation saif above is not Safavid. The one with two gold inlaid cartouches is more likely. but could be anywhere of 18-19 C i.e. early-late Qajar period.



Salaams ALEX ~ As we understand it.. There was a lot of copying of the name of the great Syrian Sword Maker who was then employed at the Safavid Royal Court...in about 1600... and whose name appeared on blades and the name of the Safavid ruler whose name also appeared on blades. Assad Ullah the sword maker and Shah Abbas the ruler. I have to say I had to dash into my library and seek out The Safavids in a bid to half buff up on that difficult period.

If the sword is not Safavid can you id its provenance?

I hope someone may clarify who the Gentleman is being presented with the sword.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 23rd November 2013, 06:27 AM   #19
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AFAIK, swords of Safavid era had no fullers.

Swords of that region were re-hilted and re-decorated with new cartouches, signatures or just phrases on multiple occasions. There are tons of fake Assadulla's and Kalbe Ali's swords made between 17th and 19th centuries, with signatures of Assadulla made on monosteel or Sham blades:-) That is why Figiel was so fastidious about high-class wootz patterns. Recently, I even saw pictures of a khanjar signed with Assadulla's name, even though swordmakers and knifemakers in Iran belonged to different guilds and were not on speaking terms with each other:-) An inscription on the blade proclaiming attribution to a famous master or personality almost always means nothing: it could have been incised centuries later.

The story of Assadulla being a Syrian rather than Iranian master is still very popular in Arab countries. I guess local patriotism plays not a small role :-)
The same about Safavid Iran being a " gunpowder empire": on the contrary, Safavids lacked artillery and that was the main reason why Ismail and Tahmasp were beaten by the Ottomans. Shah Abbas created artillery force only under British instruction, just like most of his army was composed of Turkish and Caucasian ghulams and led by Caucasians.
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Old 23rd November 2013, 09:25 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
AFAIK, swords of Safavid era had no fullers.

Swords of that region were re-hilted and re-decorated with new cartouches, signatures or just phrases on multiple occasions. There are tons of fake Assadulla's and Kalbe Ali's swords made between 17th and 19th centuries, with signatures of Assadulla made on monosteel or Sham blades:-) That is why Figiel was so fastidious about high-class wootz patterns. Recently, I even saw pictures of a khanjar signed with Assadulla's name, even though swordmakers and knifemakers in Iran belonged to different guilds and were not on speaking terms with each other:-) An inscription on the blade proclaiming attribution to a famous master or personality almost always means nothing: it could have been incised centuries later.

The story of Assadulla being a Syrian rather than Iranian master is still very popular in Arab countries. I guess local patriotism plays not a small role :-)
The same about Safavid Iran being a " gunpowder empire": on the contrary, Safavids lacked artillery and that was the main reason why Ismail and Tahmasp were beaten by the Ottomans. Shah Abbas created artillery force only under British instruction, just like most of his army was composed of Turkish and Caucasian ghulams and led by Caucasians.


Salaams Ariel, Yes the Assadulla story stems from Straight Street Damascus and the sword-makers therein...It is true that "gunpowder" is a very odd nickname for such a dynasty when it perhaps should have been called virtually cannon-less except for a few siege cannons they just never got into tactical battlefield cannons... but fought in what they considered the old chivalrous ways with bow and arrow and blades.

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Old 23rd November 2013, 10:05 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams ALEX ~ As we understand it.. There was a lot of copying of the name of the great Syrian Sword Maker who was then employed at the Safavid Royal Court...in about 1600... and whose name appeared on blades and the name of the Safavid ruler whose name also appeared on blades. Assad Ullah the sword maker and Shah Abbas the ruler. I have to say I had to dash into my library and seek out The Safavids in a bid to half buff up on that difficult period.

If the sword is not Safavid can you id its provenance?

I hope someone may clarify who the Gentleman is being presented with the sword.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.


The signer of the accompanying document in French, post #10, Homayoun Shah Assefy, states that the sword was presented to his father (i.e. H.H. Sardar Ahmad Shah Khan (1899-1951), Minister of the Royal Court (1929-1951), a member of the Afghan Royal Family).
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Old 23rd November 2013, 11:53 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
... There was a lot of copying of the name of the great Syrian Sword Maker who was then employed at the Safavid Royal Court...in about 1600... ...
...
If the sword is not Safavid can you id its provenance?
...


Hello Ibrahiim,

Certainly, the famous AA signature was copied for centuries and cannot be taken as a sole attribute of provenance, the blade comes first. As for the subject blade, it is of later form, the cartouche is crude and typical Qajar combination of Lion and "O Giver of Life" (or "O Fulfiller of Needs" as per other version of the same translation).

I recommend the great Mr. Oliver Pinchot's article "The Persian Shamshir and the Signature of Assad Allah", it should still be available on-line

Below are few relevant examples: AA cartouche on late Persian Kard, and an ineligible attempt to copy (Shah Abbas? IMHO) on a Qajar blade.
Any ideas on what this cartouche could say? Most cartouches were copied with well known statements, so it's strange that someone just created ineligible/ unreadable one.
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Old 23rd November 2013, 06:12 PM   #23
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The signer of the accompanying document in French, post #10, Homayoun Shah Assefy, states that the sword was presented to his father (i.e. H.H. Sardar Ahmad Shah Khan (1899-1951), Minister of the Royal Court (1929-1951), a member of the Afghan Royal Family).
Regards,
Andreas[/QUOTE]


Salaams Andreas, That is amazing and well noted by you..Thank you so much.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.



Wikipedia notes that Quote "In the Royal Afghan Kingdom, the original Nishan-i-Sardari (Order of the Leader), founded by King Amanullah in 1923, was bestowed for exceptional service to the Crown by the Afghan monarch. Recipients enjoyed the titles of Sardar-i-Ala or Sardar-i-Ali before their names and also received grants of land. The original Order was disbanded in 1929, and was later revived by King Muhammad Zahir Shah. In addition, several important tribal leaders and chiefs in Afghanistan, were also designated as 'Sardars'." Unquote.
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Old 24th November 2013, 05:19 AM   #24
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Salaams all~ Key detail is contained under the Asia Section on Shamshir at http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/shamshir/index.html

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Old 24th November 2013, 07:34 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
Hello Ibrahiim,

Certainly, the famous AA signature was copied for centuries and cannot be taken as a sole attribute of provenance, the blade comes first. As for the subject blade, it is of later form, the cartouche is crude and typical Qajar combination of Lion and "O Giver of Life" (or "O Fulfiller of Needs" as per other version of the same translation).

I recommend the great Mr. Oliver Pinchot's article "The Persian Shamshir and the Signature of Assad Allah", it should still be available on-line

Below are few relevant examples: AA cartouche on late Persian Kard, and an ineligible attempt to copy (Shah Abbas? IMHO) on a Qajar blade.
Any ideas on what this cartouche could say? Most cartouches were copied with well known statements, so it's strange that someone just created ineligible/ unreadable one.


Salaams~ Yes there is some meaning such as in the two cartouches the above appears to say Abbas, Shah Wallah. and Ali Assadullah (under..) ie Lion Of God..So you are on track with that.
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