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Old 20th January 2005, 09:30 PM   #1
Jens Nordlunde
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Default The Moser Collection 1912

Here is a picture from Henri Moser’s catalogue from 1912, showing part of his collection.
Henri Moser von Charlottenfels gave his big collection of oriental weapons and other things to Historisches Museum in Bern, Switzerland in 1914. Henri Moser, although Swiss, grew up in Sct. Petersburg, where his farther was watchmaker of some renown as Fabergé used his watches. When Henri was old enough, he was sent to school in Switzerland, and returned later to Russia. As he found watch making a bit dull, he joined the army, and started travelling in Russia and other countries, after he had been promoted lieutenant. In the foreword to the 1912 catalogue he writes, that some of the weapons he bought for a bottle of Vodka. The main part of his Indian collection he bought in London.
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Old 20th January 2005, 10:33 PM   #2
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a really fascinating man, jens. he and his wife both travelled east many times. there is a great image of him and his wife at a bazaar (in klays biography), with the sellers laying their wares out on front for them to browse and choose. it was the time to collect. i'm sure he participated in the the retrieval of pieces from st. irene when it was transfered to the military museum, hence the great ottoman pieces (armour). a man of great taste, although he tended to aim for the more ornate. as all the books i have on him are written in german (very annoying as they are well studied books), i was unaware that he bought in england. i assumed that most eastern pieces came from source, and through the parisian sales of the time.
like stibbert, he had an inclination to wear his collection on a regular basis
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Old 21st January 2005, 02:44 AM   #3
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Thank you for sharing this with us, Jens. Once again, you tempt me with Indian delicacies!

I can only assume such richly dressed weapons were reserved for the nobility. Are similar items still seen on the market?

Best,
Andrew
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Old 21st January 2005, 03:27 AM   #4
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Andrew, I can answer that question with a yes but...at such quality, up to $10,000+
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Old 21st January 2005, 09:14 AM   #5
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Like Battarra says, pieces like this can still be bought, but they are far apart, and the price is very high.
Here is another one.
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Old 21st January 2005, 03:48 PM   #6
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I believe the 2nd picture grouping are Bhukaran examples. Lovely and quite rare. The piece in the middle with the large Rhino horn handle is especially lovely.
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Old 21st January 2005, 04:22 PM   #7
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The collection covers a very big area, but most of the illustrations are in b/w. MOser had also a fair amount of krises.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 11:07 AM   #8
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Hi Jens,
Are the color photos you are showing in the catalogue of Moser ?
Did they make that good color photos in 1912 ?
I have almost the same photos, but not as good, in the book :By Shah Emir und Khan by Roger Balsiger und Ernst Klay. 1992 Meier Verlage. (unfortunately in German)
There are extraordinary photos in this book but the colors are not as good as yours.
The wife of Henry Moser, Marguerite Schoch is part of my family ( as his sister Henriette Schoch, as he married the daughter of his half sister) , that however did not help me find a copy of Moser's catalogue or his book :" A travers l'Asie Centrale", at a decent price .(it was quoted at 710.- $ in 2000 in London ! far beyond my possibilities )
I recall only two kris in my book, may be you have many more in the catalogue ?
Thank you for these excellent photos
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Michel
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Old 22nd January 2005, 01:32 PM   #9
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I'm fairly sure those are black and white photos that have been "tinted".
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Old 22nd January 2005, 01:53 PM   #10
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Hi Michel,

The Moser catalogue from 1912 was printed in Leipzig in a very limited number. 125 German copies, 100 French copies and 75 English copies. The size is big 42 * 53 cm. It consists of loose pages, a few printed in colour and the most in b/w. There is a foreword by Henri Moser and a short text to the plates. You are right, the pictures, especially the colour pictures are indeed very good.
Yes, some of the illustrations are shown in By Shah Emir und Khan by Roger Balsiger und Ernst Klay, you will no doubt recognise this one, shown on page 134. It is true that the book never was translated into English, I don’t think they would be able to sell enough books, and besides, then the French speaking would say why is it not in FrenchJ.
The Moser catalogue from 1955 is very difficult to find, and will if you succeed be very expensive.
Did you know that Henri Moser gave two blades – I think – to scientists so that they could analyse the steel?
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Old 22nd January 2005, 01:57 PM   #11
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Here are five different kinds of damascening, all blades from the Moser collection, the 1955 catalogue.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 02:13 PM   #12
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To expand, I'm not 100% certain, but I think that colour photography per se did not exist on Earth in 1912.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 02:24 PM   #13
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Hi Tom,

The colour plates are chromolithographs and the b/w plates are monolithographs.

Jens
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Old 22nd January 2005, 06:52 PM   #14
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Default The Moser collection

I had the privilege to visit the collection in 1994 with a colleague collector, while a small part of it was still on display at the entrance hall of the Museum. With the kind permission of Mr. Ernst Klay, the curator of the collection at that time, we were also allowed to visit the museum cellars, were most of the collection is housed. Incredible. I think it was the most exciting experience of my life as a collector of blades. The quantity and variety are beyond perception. We usually see in the reference books only those items of exceptional quality like the ones shown above, but the collection also includes thousands of rather simpler, more common items. Needless to mention that the collection also includes many examples of decorative arts of Central Asia. Best of the best, nothing to do with arms and armor. Unfortunately I understood that the display is now closed. “Lack of interest” so the museum says.

The 1912 catalog is indeed a rare fine book to have, but its cost is extremely high. The last one I believe was sold last year for 5000.00 Euro or so.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 07:57 PM   #15
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Jens, thank you so much for sharing pages from this rare catalog. I'd love to see more when you have the time. Unfortunately, I'm essentially a spectator, so will have little to add to any discussion. (Other than "oooh" and "ahhh" ).


Artzi, nice to see you.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 09:02 PM   #16
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Hi Andrew,

Maybe you can be ‘trapped’ into the Indian area; there are still many parts of witch you have not seen.
I will bring more pictures to show you what you have ‘missed’. I am crying for you – but it is you choice.

Jens
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Old 23rd January 2005, 04:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Hi Andrew,

Maybe you can be ‘trapped’ into the Indian area; there are still many parts of witch you have not seen.
I will bring more pictures to show you what you have ‘missed’. I am crying for you – but it is you choice.

Jens


Hi Jens,

I'm not in any danger of abandoning my dha, but you do know my weaknesses.

In the black and white photo towards the top of the thread, I note an unusual "hooked" bladed katar. This configuration seems counter-intuitive for a punching weapon. Have you seen or handled one like it?

Best,
Andrew
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Old 23rd January 2005, 09:51 AM   #18
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Hi Andrew,
The ‘hooked’ katar is indeed a most unusual katar type. Unfortunately I have only seen this type on pictures, and Moser has written very little about it. ‘Hooked katar with pierced side guards’. One thing you can be sure of is, that next time I get to Bern to see the collection; I will be looking for it.

Hi Artzi,
You are right, Henri Moser had a fantastic collection, 1300 weapons, and about the same number of manuscripts, textiles and other artefacts. It is a pity that Ernst is not at the museum any more, and that they have taken the exhibition of the weapon down – who knows when ti will be on exhibition again.
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Old 23rd January 2005, 02:48 PM   #19
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the wootz samples are interesting. Note the rungs do not go all the way across on the Kirk Narduban example; the notches appear to have been forged down in making the curve/bevel. I notice the hooked katar is the kind with a rivetted blade. Thes blades are often or usually remounts from other sources (commonly cut up obsolete European swords though of course that is not the case here).

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Old 24th September 2017, 07:59 AM   #20
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Does anyone have other Moser images?
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Old 24th September 2017, 08:15 AM   #21
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More.
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Old 24th September 2017, 12:49 PM   #22
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Oh yes, I have the catalogue of 1955
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Old 24th September 2017, 01:34 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
Oh yes, I have the catalogue of 1955
corrado26
Thanks, hard to believe that there are so few images available and I can find none from the actual collection, just the catalogs.
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Old 24th September 2017, 01:52 PM   #24
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Old 24th September 2017, 02:10 PM   #25
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Fantastic thread!

For the first time I see a photo of the famed Kara Khorassan type of wootz.
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Old 24th September 2017, 04:01 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Thanks, hard to believe that there are so few images available and I can find none from the actual collection, just the catalogs.



Do you want to have more fotos?
corrado26
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Old 24th September 2017, 10:39 PM   #27
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I have the 1923 and 1955 editions. The 1912 was well above my pay grade: marital bliss is more important.

But, BTW, I just caught my better half reading ( not leafing through!) Kirill Rivkin's book on Eastern sword! All is not lost:-)
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Old 24th September 2017, 11:04 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
Do you want to have more fotos?
corrado26

Of course, I have searched in several languages but not much shows up.
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Old 25th September 2017, 10:52 AM   #29
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With 12 years delay :-))) my comment on Tom Hyle's doubts re. color photography in 1912: yes, it existed. Google " "Prokudin-Gorsky".

He was a Russian photographer and made color pictures of different areas of Russian Empire between 1905 - 1915. His pics of Central Asian persons show local weapons in great detail.
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Old 27th September 2017, 07:32 PM   #30
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Default Visit to the Moser collection

Several photos from my visit with colleague collector to the Moser collection in the cellars of Bern Historisches Museum, April 1994. I do not have good photos of specific items but one can be impressed from the magnitude and variety of the collection.
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