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Old 25th January 2018, 07:28 PM   #31
Kubur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
So, for you, a knife is "better" if it is older.
A knife is "better" if it is intended for use by people living in the area where it was made.


Not all the secrets revealed in one day!

I don't think that older is always better
for example, I like knife 12, probably more than 6...
Sometimes, at least for me, aesthetic can prime.
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Old 25th January 2018, 07:57 PM   #32
A. G. Maisey
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Ian, yes, agreed, my questions could be interpreted as worth related, but I have most definitely not related my questions to worth.

My objective is as I have stated:- I am interested in the thought processes that result in ranking something as "better" than something else.

I have no intention at all of getting involved in any discussion or debate about which of the knives in this thread is "better" than any other, I simply want to understand how people can look at a photo of something and determine that it is "better" than something else.


Kubur, as I have stated, I'm not interested in a popularity contest, my questions are simple ones, and all I'm really interested in is the way in which experienced collectors arrive at their opinions.
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Old 25th January 2018, 08:14 PM   #33
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as i have said before, i'm leery of any of these indian arms with hex nut tang terminations. i suspect they are mid 20th century at best, the ones with long ricassos with vrious simple mottos etche in and sold as middy dirks especially. i do have one, think i paid £5 for it at at a car boot sale. (flea market) the older pesh did not have these nasty rat tangs and nuts. i offer two of mne for examples below, one the green/white stone grips, the other very much similar with a proper wood grip. the jade-ish one has a field repaired scabbard, so is not a diagnostic aid, the wood grip one has a nice older scabbard. Also a smaller one with a guard that is more of a paper kinfe as it's too small to get your finger inside the knuckle bow, no scabbard.

I also last show my nutted 'naval dirk POJ (piece of junk) as a caveat. It was sold as a sikh 'kirpan'. Says 'Victory in the etched side panel of the ricasso.
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Old 25th January 2018, 08:30 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I asked the question because I felt that I needed to understand the reason, or reasons, why two experienced people should select the post #6 knife as "better" than all others.


Hello Alan, like said already in my previous response, the words "better" & "older" I use in comparison to the three pieces at the right from Ian in post #1 with the one in post #6, I've handled some pieces similar to the 3 (let me call them "tourist" dagger) from Ian, they look nice but all is very cheap worked and I doubt that a dagger like this is usable.
The other shown examples seems to be very well worked, no question, the T-spine blades are well worked from the view to look at a usable dagger, a very nice to look at and for sure workable weapon. The handle is an intricate small work of art. But again I think that the dagger in post #6 is older and was for sure intended for use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Why is it "better"?


Because, and here I speak for my own taste/sensation, it's a used ethnograhic dagger!

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
What makes it "better"?



I am nearly sure that it will have a very well worked (maybe laminated) blade, the signs of use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
What does "better" mean?


My personal taste, again the curiosity to see and work at the blade, the clearly signs of use.

I hope to have answered your questions in a way you want to know.
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Old 25th January 2018, 08:42 PM   #35
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Sorry Alan, I did not wish to imply "worth" in terms of monetary value, but rather worth in terms of intrinsic merit or "worthiness"--i.e., what is "better" in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 25th January 2018, 10:24 PM   #36
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Thank you gentlemen.

Kronckew, yes, I do agree that some examples of this style of knife are of rather poor craftsmanship, and that retaining nuts on tangs and blades etched with "Victory" are hardly indicative of ethnographically accurate Indian cutlery.
Detlef has already clarified the "all" word, so that sort of limits the field a bit, but using objective comparisons, perhaps not.
Detlef also makes it clear that he has expressed a personal opinion, not an objective judgement, and from that perspective, well, we're all entitled to whatever opinion we wish to hold. But it is still interesting to try to understand what drives an opinion like this.

Ian, thank you for your clarification, yes, I did misunderstand your intent. However, if somebody thinks of something as "worthy" , how was that opinion formed? Why is it "worthy"? This is what I am attempting to try to understand.

Any of us can form an opinion, and we are entitled to that opinion, but there is always a reason for the opinion. That is what I'm trying to get at.

The responses to my initial question seem to be tending in a general direction of age and ethnicity, rather than any idea of quality of craftsmanship. For me, this is a very interesting way of thinking.

Actually, I think that possibly only Marius has tried to address my question in an analytical fashion. I did not intend to start a popularity contest as to where each knife ranked in terms of "betterness", but Marius has succeeded in giving reasons for his opinions, so he has clarified for me how he is thinking and why, and that is what I am trying to understand.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 26th January 2018 at 05:01 AM.
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Old 27th January 2018, 08:11 AM   #37
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Dear Mr Maisey,

As you seem to have some stringent criteria for what constitutes a user-friendly description of a rational process for the evaluation of these items, it might be useful to hear about your own processes and criteria for evaluating Kris.

That would also provide a framework for other commentators to provide the answers you seek.

I agree with comments that age should not preceed quality in terms of evaluating an item, but age can be a useful thing to note during evaluation, as for example a 17th C. piece of low quality would be less likely to survive 'till now.
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Old 27th January 2018, 09:45 AM   #38
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Jon, I regret that I have been unable to make the objective of my questioning clear, so I will try again:-

I am not in the smallest degree interested in which of the knives shown in this thread is "best".

I am not interested in attempting to promote nor to establish any method to be used in appraisal of these or any other knives.

I am only interested in the way in which the experienced collectors who decided that the post #6 knife was better than all the others reached that decision.

In fact, the two experienced people who gave the original judgement that the post #6 knife was better than all the others have already responded to my question, and in their own ways have provided very clear indications of the way in which they think.

One other gentleman gave a measured and reasoned response, and I appreciate that addition to the discussion.

My interest was in the way in which people think, my interest was not at all in the knives themselves.

As for the way in which I appraise a keris, that is a very difference game to appraising a knife such as those shown in this thread. In fact, this is far too broad a subject to be dealt with in this thread. If you care to open a thread on this subject in the Keris Forum, I am fairly confident that you will get input not only from myself, but from other people as well.
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Old 27th January 2018, 11:44 AM   #39
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Alan,
Allow me to add my 5 cents worth of purely personal perspective.
IMHO, there are as many collections as there are collectors. We all have different criteria, and the general statements such as “ Genlemen prefer blonds” just do not apply.

Some go for quality blades, some go for the baubles ( Al- Sabah collection), some for historical connections ( I am still sore for missing a sword gifted by Mohammed Ali), some ( I am sure) collect anything in pink or chartreuse.

Personally, I like simple fighting weapons, rare examples, old ( even worn), unusual, showing features of penetration of a different culture. Not into daggers for some reasons, although I have a Kindjal signed by Iosif Papov( there are probably less than 10 with his full signature in the world) and am a sucker for the Afghan and Central Asian ones.
Mass-produced, regulation and “ tourist” items do not interest me, as are newly-made reproductions of even high artistic or mechanical level. I am not into Kris ( sorry), simply because they were not so much weapons as accoutrements. But I understand people who collect them for their artistic and mystical value.

My criteria virtually guarantee an impossibility of recouping my expenses. Few people may be interested in a Tulwar with a handle that was illustrated in Hamzanameh and vanished since, even though it was featured by Elgood in a separate chapter as “important”. But collecting is a purely emotional issue, and the best ( for me) it does, it forces ( me) to buy books.



“Better” just has different meaning for different people.
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Old 27th January 2018, 02:20 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
...

Personally, I like simple fighting weapons, ...

“Better” just has different meaning for different people.


Me. My main criteria is would I have taken this into battle. Is it suitable for it's intended purpose. And do i like it.

Pretty, Old, Rare are secondary to 'Could i bet my life on it'. I do have a general preference for naval connections, but that's not too important to functionality. Even rusty is OK if it's functional under the old warhorses age mottled skin. Being a bit unusual helps too.

In the worlds of WW2's Mad Jack Churchill "Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed". (I'll leave off the longbow tho.)
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Old 27th January 2018, 06:48 PM   #41
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Precisely Ariel.

As I said:- my question was directed at the way in which two people thought.

In the absence of a qualifier, the word "better" is all inclusive.

So why was the #6 knife "better"?
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Old 27th January 2018, 06:55 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

So why was the #6 knife "better"?


Because of the eye of the beholder!
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Old 27th January 2018, 09:05 PM   #43
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Alan,

I fear you are starting to get circular answers.

Let me move sideways a little and comment further on the original examples that I posted. I agree with those who say the three on the right lack some refinements, especially in relation to their blades and sheaths. But the hilts are a bit more interesting and, I think, well made (even allowing for the screw nut on the end). The late 19th/early 20th C--the late Victorian/Edwardian era in Britain--coincided with the Art Nouveau period in fine art and the decorative arts, a period where there was considerable experimentation with different materials in art and architecture.

The hilts of the knives I showed have geometric mosaic designs of mother of pearl interspersed with jet (I am quite certain the black material is jet). Jet was a semi-precious gem during the Victorian era and Queen Victoria had several items of jewelry, including beads, made of jet to match her black mourning attire following the death of her husband Albert.

MOP and jet were not commonly seen in Indian art, let alone on knives, up to that time. Perhaps the appearance of these materials on Indian knives intended for British/European consumption had something to do with the Art Nouveau influence. The fitting of MOP and jet on the handles of these knives shows some skill IMHO, and the slim handles and flowing lines of the curved blade also seem to fit the artistic period.

To follow a little of Alan's theme, just because a knife is designed for a foreign market and made in large quantities does not mean it is without merit. I like these knives for the story they tell about the period they were made. I also like them because they have a touch of European refinement in an Asian setting, Anglo-Indian as I mentioned at the top of this thread--a cross-cultural item that benefits from both its heritages.

To bring this back to Alan's question of what is valued in a knife, I would add the expression of the culture(s) from which it comes and the period it was made. For me, this transcends the materials used and the quality of the workmanship, although both of those undoubtedly contribute to the overall quality of the piece.

I'm abstaining from ranking dissimilar items as better or worse.

Ian.

Last edited by Ian : 27th January 2018 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 28th January 2018, 08:27 PM   #44
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Yes Ian, the discussion is getting circular. It has gone right away from my original intent when I first asked my questions.

In fact, the two gentlemen whom I addressed have both answered me well, in their own fashion, and I now believe I understand how they were thinking when they declared that the post # 6 dagger was "better" than all the others.

Their "better" meant according to their own personal preferences.

It was not an analytical, reasoned, objective opinion, it was an emotional, subjective opinion based their own personal preferences.

That was really all I wanted to understand.

I did not set out to start a discussion on how knives are, or should be, assessed or appraised.

I only set out to understand how two experienced collectors thought, and those two gentlemen have given me more or less what I wanted.
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Old 29th January 2018, 01:35 AM   #45
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Ariel, I was going to let a remark of yours slide, but I've had three emails this morning that have urged me to respond your slightly slanted comment.

Your comment was this:-

I am not into Kris ( sorry), simply because they were not so much weapons as accoutrements. But I understand people who collect them for their artistic and mystical value.

I do sometimes wish that the people who send me these emails would simply join the Forum and make their own comments instead of sending emails to me --- and possibly other Forum members as well --- but they are not members, and I guess they have their own reasons for that.

In any case, very briefly and to the point, yes, I agree, the keris can be regarded as an accoutrement, but only when it is used as an accoutrement.

The keris is primarily a weapon that does have various natures dependent upon the use to which it is put, and the way in which it is understood. It has many aspects, one of which is as an item of dress, or accoutrement.

There is ample evidence in the literature that demonstrates the weapon function of the keris, and this weapon function has persisted from at least the 10th century through into the 20th century.

Is it still a weapon in the 21st. century?

I know of no instances since the turn of this century that would provide evidence of its use as a weapon in the 21st. century, but I know of several instances during the final 20 years of the 20th. century where the keris was used as a weapon, and many instances of its use as a weapon during earlier years of the 20th. century.

Yes, it is an accoutrement, when it is used as an accoutrement --- but that does not exclude it from being other things as well.
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Old 29th January 2018, 05:53 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
In fact, the two gentlemen whom I addressed have both answered me well, in their own fashion, and I now believe I understand how they were thinking when they declared that the post # 6 dagger was "better" than all the others.

Their "better" meant according to their own personal preferences.

It was not an analytical, reasoned, objective opinion, it was an emotional, subjective opinion based their own personal preferences.


According to your own judgmental opinion only!

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I only set out to understand how two experienced collectors thought, and those two gentlemen have given me more or less what I wanted.


I gave less because I knew where we were going... nowhere...
I also think that this post is going to an end unless we come back to the anglo-indian knives...
Its the main problem of this forum, some members are placing themselves above the others. I hope that my post wont be censured there no reason to do it!

By the way, an old rusty Viking sword will always be more valuable than a very nice Indian sword.
Why? Because it's all about quantity and rarety, its the rules of the market.
More its difficult to find, more the price will be high.
So yes old is better because more expensive, more valuable, all the dealers on the forum know that well. Beauty is opinion. Better is not, its a value of something compared to something else.
Now of course you can discuss the value or the criteria of this "better", but I won't, I'm not interested in this debate. It's the reason why my posts are normaly short.
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Old 29th January 2018, 06:35 AM   #47
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Thank you so much for your additional input Kubur.

I do seem to sense a slight touch of aggression in your most recent post, something I find difficult to understand. If you feel that I have slighted you in some way, I most sincerely apologise for whatever I may have written that has caused this offense.

I asked a couple of questions, I got adequate answers, both from you and from Detlef.

I felt that I understood how you both decided that the post #6 knife was better than all the others, and you have confirmed my original impression.

It is as I have kept on saying:-

I was interested in the way that two experienced collectors thought; how they decided that one thing was better than another, I was never interested in the knives shown, only in the thought patterns.

Thank you so much for providing me with a more inclusive understanding of the way in which you think. I appreciate your input greatly.

I never at any time had any intention of initiating a discussion on how knives or anything else are appraised or should be appraised, and if you care to review my posts you will find that I have already said this, probably more than once.

As for your rather strange ideas that there is a debate going on here, I'm afraid I cannot detect any debate, and I for one am most certainly not debating, I'm not even discussing, all I've been doing is asking questions, with the objective of understanding how people whom I identify as "pure collectors" think.

You see, it is important to me to understand these thought patterns. Even though I have been dealing for about 50 years, and dealing internationally since 1978, I am still sometimes surprised, by the way in which some collectors think. I took what I saw as a golden opportunity to further my understanding by asking you and Detlef a couple of simple, straight-forward questions.

There is no judgement going on here. None at all. Everybody is entitled to an opinion, and I respect yours.
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Old 31st January 2018, 06:08 PM   #48
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This has nothing to do with the "better" discussion, Im just adding som eye-candy. I was sitting looking through some vacation photos from last year. I went to Hallwylska museet in Stockholm. It has very impressive collection of european weapons, but also some interesting ones frome other parts of the world. The collection was testamented to the Swedeish state in 1920 and the museum opened in 1938.

When looking at the photos I discovered one of these Anglo-Indian knives. Since it is part of the collection I am asuming that it was collected before 1920.

Im also adding some more photos from the museum as a bonus.
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Old 1st February 2018, 05:22 PM   #49
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Drabant:

Thanks so much for adding those pictures. The example that you post of an Anglo-Indian knife is again of the somewhat curved, pesh kabz, variety. These do seem to be the more "valued" form of these knives.

The rest of what is shown is pretty spectacular in its quality. Thanks again for sharing these pics.

Ian.
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