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Old 16th February 2016, 04:06 PM   #31
Emanuel
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On another note, the lithograph below is attributed to Prince Grigory Grigorievich Gagarin and supposedly dated 1839.
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O...ograph-gagarin/

I've tried tracking down the original publication by the French publisher Roger & Cie. but no luck. This would make it the earliest dated illustration of Zeibek costume and gear and would push much further back the dates of these yataghan. Gagarin dies in 1893 so that would make a more plausible date
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Old 17th February 2016, 01:41 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel
On another note, the lithograph below is attributed to Prince Grigory Grigorievich Gagarin and supposedly dated 1839.
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O...ograph-gagarin/

I've tried tracking down the original publication by the French publisher Roger & Cie. but no luck. This would make it the earliest dated illustration of Zeibek costume and gear and would push much further back the dates of these yataghan. Gagarin dies in 1893 so that would make a more plausible date


Emanual I have been looking for earlier dated info on Zeybek as well, this painting by Charles Gleyre (1808-1874) is supposedly dated 1834,
"Zeibeck of Smyrna". Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
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Old 17th February 2016, 02:29 AM   #33
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Interesting.... The pommel is not a typical Zeybek. The pants are not right..

Either Zeybeks changed their appearance and weapons, or .... can we trust iconography?
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Old 17th February 2016, 03:17 AM   #34
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Ariel, it is not a strict uniform, just the local costume. And not specific to zeybeks either. This is mostly similar to most town folk wore in Ottoman Anatolia and Balkans in 19th century.

And that so-called "Zeybek" yatagan with T shaped ears. That is not specific to zeybeks either. It is just easier to make than a real ear shaped handle. And in late 19th century-early 20th century small town blacksmiths were not expert swordsmiths like in earlier times, so most made those ears T shaped because it was easier to make. Some yatagans that were made earlier also got those T shaped pommels when their original fancy handles got fallen apart and their owners or the local knifesmith made these simple handles for them.

Zeybek yatagan is just a name given by contemporary antique dealers, just to make it easier to classify and make it sound more important.
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Old 17th February 2016, 03:43 AM   #35
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True enough. But all photographs ( not paintings) of Zeybeks show typical T-formed ears. Can you show a photograph of Zeybek with the yataghan handle of the pattern shown in the pic by Gleyre?

I have a healthy ( or pathological :-) doubt about paintings. Just my personal IMHO. Ready to change my mind, though.
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Old 17th February 2016, 09:51 AM   #36
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I understand that. As an art historian I know especially orientalist paintings have a great notoriety for being unreliable; it is to such a degree, it became one of the definitive aspects of orientalist european art. It seems artists that travelled "east" for insipration, did not find "east" as "oriental" or "exotic" enough, so they took the artistic licence to a whole new level, like using objects together that had nothing to do with each other, changing architecture, flora and fauna(basically putting Magribi horseshoe arches, palm trees and camels everywhere) as they wished.

But I wouldn't be so quick to trust photographs either. Especially the kinds of photos taken in studios. Let me give you some context: Photography came really early to Ottoman empire, earlier than even most European countries and it spread like wild fire. There were photo studios in almost every city, even some towns. studio of Abdullah Brothers(Frers Abdullah) of Istanbul being the most famous.

And almost all studios had a very large costume department. Customers, usually Western tourists, used to come to these studios to be photographed with those local exotic "oriental" clothes and props in front of painted fake background, making their visits immortalized. Also postcards were made for purchase in these studios, and again, local people were paid to wear different costumes and their photos were taken, being sold under titles like "an oriental harem woman" or "a notorious zeibek" something fancy and exotic like that.

And as you can imagine, those costumes and props were designed to be fancy, colourful, exotic,intesersting. And many were mismatched, from different eras/places were worn together: a circassian overcoat with a Moroccan fez, or a Bosnian jacket with a Turkistani fur hat and a black sea yatagan etc.

So most people in those Zeybek photos are likely either tourists or just amateur models, instead of the real deal.
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Old 17th February 2016, 10:00 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancar
So most people in those Zeybek photos are likely either tourists or just amateur models, instead of the real deal.
Do you have any proof of that..."most people"...is a very vague term, can you show some examples of what you consider to be "tourists / amateur models? What about first hand descriptions from travelers to the region during the 1800s to eatly 1900s, are they unreliable as well?

People make the exact same statement about photos taken in Japan of samurai during the late 1800s, they say that they are studio models but that is not accurate as many photos are authentic, as with anything you have to use some judgement.
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Old 17th February 2016, 11:11 AM   #38
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Sancar,

I never thought of that.
Thanks.
Come to think of that, you might be partially correct: there are plenty of pre-WWI Russian studio photographs from the Caucasus with similarly incoherent exotic portraits, such as plump Slavic women dressed in Cossack garb and armed to the teeth etc.
Still, I would believe that most pictures from everywhere were authentic in regard to accoutrements. Posing is another cup of tea:-)

Last edited by ariel : 17th February 2016 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 17th February 2016, 11:16 AM   #39
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Well, I can refer to several books that I read about history of photography in the Ottoman Empire, but all are in Turkish I'm afraid. Even if they were in English, I doubt you would be satisfied until every person in every photo is proven beyond reasonable doubt to not to be a zeybek; confirmation bias is tricky like that.

I can't disprove those were not zeybeks, but keep in mind, those zeybeks were outlaws who could not easily walk to a big city photo studio with all their weapons for their photos to be taken. Not to mention, since the usual way to become a zeybek was either running from the law for murdering someone in their "civilian" life, or deserting from the army(both crimes punishable by hanging) those people wouldn't prefer to let their faces to be known by authorities. Actually most of them lived in mountains and rarely even go down to rural villages because they would be risking their lives, (being ambushed by soldiers or rival gangs, or even villagers themselves) every time they leave those mountains. There are some photos of famous zeybek leaders(Efe) but those were taken either after they were arrested, or pardoned(for volunteering to join Ottoman army with all of their forces for war).

So, as you say, using our judgement, which possibility is more likely?
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Old 17th February 2016, 11:18 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Sancar,

I never thought of that.
Thanks.


You're most welcome, Ariel
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Old 17th February 2016, 12:01 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancar
Well, I can refer to several books that I read about history of photography in the Ottoman Empire, but all are in Turkish I'm afraid. Even if they were in English, I doubt you would be satisfied until every person in every photo is proven beyond reasonable doubt to not to be a zeybek; confirmation bias is tricky like that.

How about posting some examples of these supposed zeybek, you must know of some that you personally think are not authentic, do not worry about whether or not I would be "satisfied", it is your belief so support it.
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Old 17th February 2016, 01:18 PM   #42
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Eric,

I recall that some of the zeibek pictures you added to your Pinterest thread had captions like "western man in zeibek costume with harem woman" or something like that. The photos by Pascal Sebah and his sons for example, they had a studio in Istanbul and produced some of the Zeibek postcards from 1857. Actually a lot of these shots come from Pascal's "Les Costumes Populaires de la Turquie en 1873" published for the Vienna Expo 1873.

http://www.luminous-lint.com/app/co...uie_en_1873_01/

Sancar it makes sense to me that the simple T-pommels are later replacements of broken ears, however I am surprised that it became so standardized. These must have been produced in a very localized geographic area. As for the sizes of the blades, some of these are clearly early 19th, not late. Contemporary with other Balkan yataghan at a time when they were used, not just as a symbol.

Emanuel

Last edited by Emanuel : 17th February 2016 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 18th February 2016, 06:47 AM   #43
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Sancar, you make these types of statements and then you do not supply ANY references to back up anything you say. You dispute photos, drawings and first hand accounts, why is this, who can take anything you say seriously when you make statements and then just disappear without ever making an attempt to back up what you say???

In my opinion you are wrong on ALL accounts here, zeybeck were not simply bandits and irregular rural militia, there is a lot of evidence that they actively worked with the Ottoman goverment and the later Turkish government on many military fronts right up to the 1920s. Zeybeck were a recognised group and you did not just become a zeybek by murdering someome etc. They did not dress in the same way as everyone, that is pointed out by multiple first hand descriptions from many sources and they were not just hiding away afraid to be seen as many first hand accounts show. I do not know were you are getting your information from but it does not mesh with what people who lived in that period of time say.

As for the yatagan grips, many other ethnic groups such as Samurai, Albanians and Circassians etc were known for wearing specific types of clothing and carrying certain types of weapons, they did this on purpose, it was a UNIFORM that allowed people to recognise them as a specific group. Not all of members of these groups dressed exactly the same but enough did so that there clothing and weapons became a trademark. The zeybek were no different, they for the most part wore distinctive clothing and weapons so they could be identified.

The photos and drawings and first hand discriptions over and over show a distinct way of dress, just like Samurai, Albanians Circassians etc and this can simply be ignored just because you say so, please come up with some proof or stop posting unsubstantiated beliefs as though they were known facts. While some photos are certainly not authentic there are enough known authentic photos and descriptions to show that Zeybek did dress in the way shown photos and drawings, at what point in time they started doing this may be questioned.

You have not mentioned the fact that first hand accounts show that in some military fronts thousands of Zeybek are said to have fought, this is not just a gang of men who joined the military to keep out of trouble. Zeybeck were part of a planned force of men who were openly allowed to murder, pillage, rape and assist the regular Ottoman / Turkish military on many occasions, why are you ignoring this???


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancar
I hope you allow me put some historical context to the discussion: zeybeks were mostly active at the end of 19th century-early 20th century in Western Anatolia as irregular rural militia at best, but in reality mostly as cutthroat bandits. They can be likened to "cowboys" in American wild west. So as you can see, they mostly lived in a time period where importance of a bladed weapon faded quite fastly.

In that era, zeybek or town folk gentry, most people carried those so-called "zeybek yatağan"s as part of their costume,and as a sign of prestige(like court swords-smallswords) so the blades got longer and longer, well in to the 20th century.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancar
Ariel, it is not a strict uniform, just the local costume. And not specific to zeybeks either. This is mostly similar to most town folk wore in Ottoman Anatolia and Balkans in 19th century.

And that so-called "Zeybek" yatagan with T shaped ears. That is not specific to zeybeks either. It is just easier to make than a real ear shaped handle. And in late 19th century-early 20th century small town blacksmiths were not expert swordsmiths like in earlier times, so most made those ears T shaped because it was easier to make. Some yatagans that were made earlier also got those T shaped pommels when their original fancy handles got fallen apart and their owners or the local knifesmith made these simple handles for them.

Zeybek yatagan is just a name given by contemporary antique dealers, just to make it easier to classify and make it sound more important.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancar
keep in mind, those zeybeks were outlaws who could not easily walk to a big city photo studio with all their weapons for their photos to be taken. Not to mention, since the usual way to become a zeybek was either running from the law for murdering someone in their "civilian" life, or deserting from the army(both crimes punishable by hanging) those people wouldn't prefer to let their faces to be known by authorities. Actually most of them lived in mountains and rarely even go down to rural villages because they would be risking their lives, (being ambushed by soldiers or rival gangs, or even villagers themselves) every time they leave those mountains.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancar

So most people in those Zeybek photos are likely either tourists or just amateur models, instead of the real deal.
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Old 18th February 2016, 09:43 AM   #44
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estrch, there are many mixtures of truth and misinformation, and tons of orientalist bias in those quotes you post (even that "Zeibek, the name of a Turkish tribe in the region of Smyrna" quote make me want to choke myself to death, to be honest). I can try to explain and correct them one by one.There is a great deal of historical and socio-cultural context to this subject that can help to correct some misconceptions, and I can try to write for hours to try to give a brief summary of it, but I won't.

Because it feels really really really frustrating to try to explain something that is such a common knowledge, to a foreigner. And whatever I'll do, I feel it will turn personal and unpleasent. Because I feel like I'm trying to prove the sky is blue or water is wet, and even though you have every right to ask for sources, I feel no answer will satisfy you and even though if I can dig up some sources that are half-correct and non-biased, I can't just explain the whole socio-cultural and historical context to you without writing a whole book about it. There is just soo much confusion, misconception and bias already I wouldn't even know where to start even if I wanted to.

And that is exactly why I always have a tendency to refrain from commenting to threads that involve my own culture. It feels like I'm giving directions to my home and you're asking for proof.

So, why don't you feel free to disbelieve the information that I wrote and we just agree to disagree? Let's just say I'm just b.s.ing from the top of my head and let's not further this discussion in any way. If you agree let's move on and don't even feel the need to answer this post.
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Old 18th February 2016, 10:09 AM   #45
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Estcrh,
Having read the references you cited, I can't help but notice that they seem to support every point mentioned by Sancar and are contradicting your conclusions.
I think Sancar is right: let's drop it and keep our own interpretations of facts and events.
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Old 18th February 2016, 01:01 PM   #46
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Guys:

If this continues, the personal comments and attacks here are going to get this thread closed and significant restrictions handed out to the offenders. I have edited the more egregious exchanges. Knock it off or face the consequences!

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Old 19th February 2016, 02:26 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen

About 95cm total length looks typical for Persian shamshirs, so not that different. Also not too hard to find Indian swords of similar length (e.g., khandas and tulwars) but these are perhaps longer than usual for the types (but some types were often quite a bit longer, e.g., firangi, pata). You might not call those infantry swords, but they were used on foot.

As for technique, try this:

Start with the hilt back, near your shoulder. Hold the sword with a fairly relaxed grip. Elbow downwards, forearm approximately vertical. Then push the sword forwards. Don't make a big effort to swing the sword. Put a little effort into swinging it, and a lot of effort into just moving it forwards. As your arm approached full extension, your hand will slow down, and the hilt will slow down. Let the sword pivot about where the ears are against your hand, and its forward speed will convert into a fast rotation into the target. Maybe as the blade is about to hit the target, you should tighten your grip on the hilt and help push the blade into the target. After hitting the target, pull down on the ears, draw-cutting across the target.


Timo, I tried variations of your method and eventually I found that by facing a target sideways and holding the sword blade parellel with the ground it was very easy to pivot with a thrusting motion into the target. Using this method on a large box it seemed much easier than trying to thrust with a straight sword without feeling off balance, over a certain amount of curve makes it hard to do the same thing with a convex bladed sword.

Below is a comparison view, while some are very near the yatagan in size many are not. You have to look at what types of sword the Zeybek may have encountered when in Turkey and in the military conflicts they participated in against Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks etc, most if not all would have been convex bladed swords.
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Last edited by estcrh : 19th February 2016 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 19th February 2016, 02:35 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel
Eric,

I recall that some of the zeibek pictures you added to your Pinterest thread had captions like "western man in zeibek costume with harem woman" or something like that. The photos by Pascal Sebah and his sons for example, they had a studio in Istanbul and produced some of the Zeibek postcards from 1857. Actually a lot of these shots come from Pascal's "Les Costumes Populaires de la Turquie en 1873" published for the Vienna Expo 1873.

http://www.luminous-lint.com/app/co...uie_en_1873_01/

Emanual, this may interest you, it is an essay on Zeybek postcards, mostly in Turkish.

Quote:
Kartpostallarda Zeybek ve Başıbozuk İmgesi
The Zeibek and Başıbozuk Image in the Postcads

Abstract
Zeybeks became an interest to the West, this was part of a general interest for the East. This article shows postcards of zeybeks who are sometimes named as başibozuk. These postcards mostly concentrate on the clothing of zeybeks and are often photographed in studios.
Keywords: Efe, zeybek, başibozuk, postcard, drawing, painting.


http://actaturcica.com/_media/2014-07/vi_ii_27.pdf
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Old 20th February 2016, 11:05 PM   #49
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Thank you Eric.
The majority of these seem to be mid-late-19th century though.
We don't have much to go on for earlier accoutrements and weaponry.
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Old 21st February 2016, 05:07 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel
Thank you Eric.
The majority of these seem to be mid-late-19th century though.
We don't have much to go on for earlier accoutrements and weaponry.

Emanuel, actually I was hoping that someone could translate what was written about these zeybek postcards, maybe there is some additional info as to their authenticity etc. As for early info, that seems to be rather scarce, there is some reference to a Zeybek revolt in 1829 but other than some short remarks it seems that they did not get much early written attention until they started to be used as an irregular armed suppliment to the Ottoman/Turkish military. Their involvement in certain regional military conflicts has been noted but as far as any detailed examination of their origins and weapons etc I have not seen that.

Another problem is that there are many different versions of their name, you have Zeybek, Zeibek, Ziebek, Zeybeck, Zeibeck, Ziebeck, in addition they have been lumped into the term "bashi bazouk" and while some Zeybek were bashi bazouk, there were many other groups and segments of Ottoman society who were also bashi bazouk. Unless a discussion of bashi bazouk specifically mentioned Zeybek or included an image or costume description it is impossible to know exactly who was being called a bashi bazouk.
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Old 22nd February 2016, 11:38 PM   #51
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Eric, let's see if Sancar can assist
Hopefully there's something relevant in there. Agreed that an understanding of who was identified as Zeibek at different times and places is tricky.
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