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Old 23rd April 2018, 07:26 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 23
Default Stamp on Aphgan saber

Hi folks.
I recently bought an Afghan saber. The ricasso has a stamp in the form of a lion's head. I've never seen such a stamp before. Can someone tell me about this stamp?
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Old 25th April 2018, 12:09 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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I have never seen a similar stamp either.
But I am not surprised: these sabers were manufactured from a variety of trade blades of a bewildering number of lengths, fullerings, curvatures and sources.
The only more or less unifying feature was the handle, a homage to British Baker and later Brunswick bayonets. These became used primarily as colonial models with some variations, and the Afghanis used them left and right.

There was a notion that these medium and longer versions should be properly referred as “ Afghani regulation sabers” or even as “Afghani regulation Khybers”.
Nothing could be further from the truth: their blades have nothing to do with Afghani National Choora ( Salavar Yataghan or, locally, Selaava). By definition, regulation weapons are highly standardized and their design is approved by a local Ministry of War ( or whatever those were called in different localities). Many of the locally-assembled ones carry a stamp of Mazar-i-Sharif Mosque, a national Afghani emblem. That led to a notion that they were all manufactured at the so-called Mashin Khana, a hodge-podge of workshops in Kabul. But many recorded examples were made well before the opening of Mashin Khana. Conceivably, that might have been a stamp of one of the Afghani arsenal’s, but the manufacture was performed all over the country. Afghanistan was not a well-organized industrial country, they had to rely on what was available on the market and on the small village workshops.

Yours is interesting exactly because of the stamp: nothing to do with
arsenal affiliation. Some small workshop managed to acquire blades from an unknown source and used them to create their rendition of a saber. Good find!

Still, even with such meager manufacturing resources and with backyard technological capabilities, Afghanis managed to successfully fight British and later Russian and American forces. What they lacked in their technology, was well compensated by their fighting spirit. Not for nothing Kipling admired and respected them.
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