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Old 26th September 2019, 04:20 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default Afghan/Khyber Knife

Hi
As Afghan/Khyber things seem to be to the fore at the moment I thought this may be of some interest. O.A. length 18 1/4 inches blade length 12 3/4 inches with bone scales. As you can see the sheath has seen better days.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 26th September 2019, 09:08 PM   #2
mahratt
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Hi Norman

Good khyber knife!
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Old 27th September 2019, 10:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Hi Norman

Good khyber knife!



Hi,
Thank you for your interest. I think this is probably a 19thc piece, have you any thoughts?
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 28th September 2019, 08:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi,
Thank you for your interest. I think this is probably a 19thc piece, have you any thoughts?
My Regards,
Norman.



Hi.
I think you're right and this is the middle - late 19th century
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Old 28th September 2019, 09:28 AM   #5
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Hi Norman,
This is an honest khyber, no faking here. Regretfully those Pashtuns virtually never put the date on their weapons, and there are no objective features by which we can date them. So we can only look at the condition and guess. 1840? 1940? 1980? There are pics from the times of recent Russian occupation showing mujaheddins brandishing khybers. Field conditions determined everything. Fourty years of sun, rains,cold, heat are more than enough to age and degrade all organic materials. Yours has worn out scabbard, but the sword itself is in a very good condition and although blade was cleaned from patina, the bone handle is white.I wouldn’ t hazard a guess about its age, but it doesn’t matter much: it is a true fighter that was meant to kill, not to hang on a wall.
Enjoy!

Last edited by ariel : 28th September 2019 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 28th September 2019, 02:23 PM   #6
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Hi Guys,
Thanks for your insights. I have attached a few more photos. The scales are not as white as they appear, more yellow in hand (my poor photography no doubt!) I have attached a photo that may give a better sense of scale. It's a big old knife more dirk sized. Thanks again.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 28th September 2019, 02:57 PM   #7
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Hello Norman,

Looks like walrus to me...

Elegant blade and length at the shorter range of the spectrum.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 28th September 2019, 04:26 PM   #8
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I don’t think it is a walrus. It is very possible that it is a camel.
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Old 28th September 2019, 05:46 PM   #9
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Camel, horse, cow, but not walrus or elephant.
It is a Khyber, only short. Stone mentions blade length between 14-30". I have one ( wootz) with the blade of 11.5", one 16" and one 34.5". They were handmade and there were no prescribed dimensions. Whatever the owner wanted.
The difference between them and ch'hura is that the latter has a sudden narrowing of the blade right at the ricasso and narrowing further to a needle point : ch'hura is a purely stabbing weapon, khyber ( selawa) is a slashing/stabbing one, kind of like a Bowie. You certainly can put it in a dirk category.
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Old 28th September 2019, 09:29 PM   #10
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The surface of the camel's bone is covered with a dense grid of small parallel strokes. There are similar strokes on the bone surface of cows and buffaloes, but this grid is much wider.
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Old 28th September 2019, 09:41 PM   #11
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Ren Ren - funny name you have chosen - my name is Jens, but never mind.
What I would like to know is, why do you think is is from a camel? Could it not be from a cow, or from another animal?
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Old 28th September 2019, 10:49 PM   #12
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Hi Jens! My own name is Sergey and I know that it is even funnier for English-speaking people. I took the Ren Ren nickname many years ago at the Sinologists forum, where I was led by interest in Chinese weapons. In Chinese 刃人 means Blademan.

I do not insist that it is certainly a camel bone. To confirm this, I need to see the object with my own eyes. But looking at the photo it seemed to me that a dense grid of small parallel cracks is present. And I wanted to draw attention to this. First of all, the attention of the owner of this nice khyber knife.
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Old 29th September 2019, 10:26 AM   #13
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1. I would test the blade for wootz.
2. Generally camel bone is the material of choice for hilts (but also for other artifacts) because it has higher density and is much less affected by the spongy structure of the cow/buffalo bone.
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Old 29th September 2019, 02:51 PM   #14
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The blade looks well-polished and ready for etching: it will take very little time and effort and no harm will be done. Although I wouldn’t bet on finding wootz.
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Old 29th September 2019, 03:16 PM   #15
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Ren Ren - thanks for the explanation :-).


It is said that African ivory was prefered to Indian ivory, as it was harder, and camel bone would be even harder, but do you know if camel bone was used often for hilts?
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Old 29th September 2019, 05:26 PM   #16
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Hi,
Some close-ups of the hilt which may help. Looking at the blade with a loupe I don't see anything to indicate to me that it might be wootz.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 29th September 2019, 05:33 PM   #17
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I agree it's not a walrus or an elephant, either. The handle is made of bone from the leg of a hoofed animal (cow, buffalo or camel)
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Old 29th September 2019, 09:30 PM   #18
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Even I can see that now - I am glad to say - but does anyone have a guess from which animal it could be?
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Old 30th September 2019, 11:19 AM   #19
Gavin Nugent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Hi Norman,
This is an honest khyber, no faking here. Regretfully those Pashtuns virtually never put the date on their weapons, and there are no objective features by which we can date them. So we can only look at the condition and guess. 1840? 1940? 1980? There are pics from the times of recent Russian occupation showing mujaheddins brandishing khybers. Field conditions determined everything. Fourty years of sun, rains,cold, heat are more than enough to age and degrade all organic materials. Yours has worn out scabbard, but the sword itself is in a very good condition and although blade was cleaned from patina, the bone handle is white.I wouldn’ t hazard a guess about its age, but it doesn’t matter much: it is a true fighter that was meant to kill, not to hang on a wall.
Enjoy!


Indeed dates are always very speculative.

I've a very fine wootz Choora named and dated to 1901 with a sheath in of similar manufacture... I personally find the weapons from the region the hardest to date accurately.

Gavin
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Old 30th September 2019, 11:30 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Even I can see that now - I am glad to say - but does anyone have a guess from which animal it could be?


Hi Jens
I am a biologist by profession and work at the Museum of Natural History. One of the collections that I oversee (keep) in the museum is a collection of osteology (that is, a collection of bones)
I wrote a guide to identify bones and horns in items (including on the handles edged weapons). If we are talking about the leg bone of an animal that was used in some kind of artifact (for example, a hilt), unfortunately, it is impossible to visually identify this animal to a species.
But I like Ren Ren's idea of bone thickness.
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Old 30th September 2019, 12:04 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
It is said that African ivory was prefered to Indian ivory, as it was harder, and camel bone would be even harder, but do you know if camel bone was used often for hilts?

I talked to the masters of bone carving. They spoke about the intricacies of the choice of bones of ungulates intended for carving. Bulls older than 4 years old and old cows that stopped feeding milk for 2 years (calcium from the bones partially passes into milk) gives excellent bone quality. Today, industrial methods are used in agricultural production - almost all bulls aged 2 years are sent for meat, cows are sent for processing immediately after they stop giving milk. The bones of such bulls and cows are of poor quality and significantly lose to the bones of camels. Therefore, for about 30-40 years, camel bones are very popular among carvers and knifemakers. But I have never heard that a camel’s bone is superior in hardness to an African elephant’s ivory.
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Old 30th September 2019, 12:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi,
Some close-ups of the hilt which may help. Looking at the blade with a loupe I don't see anything to indicate to me that it might be wootz.
Regards,
Norman.

Thanks for these pics, Norman!
They reinforced my opinion that the hilt of your knife is made of camel bone.
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Old 30th September 2019, 12:32 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Hi Jens
I am a biologist by profession and work at the Museum of Natural History. One of the collections that I oversee (keep) in the museum is a collection of osteology (that is, a collection of bones)
I wrote a guide to identify bones and horns in items (including on the handles edged weapons). If we are talking about the leg bone of an animal that was used in some kind of artifact (for example, a hilt), unfortunately, it is impossible to visually identify this animal to a species.
But I like Ren Ren's idea of bone thickness.

It is difficult to argue with a recognized specialist in the field of osteology. But I'm not trying to argue. I propose once again to pay attention to the structure of the camel's bone (especially with a longitudinal section). It was once difficult to distinguish ivory from an elephant and from a mammoth

P. S. Mahratt spoke very modestly about himself. He is not only the curator of the collections of the Museum of Natural History, but also an expert whose help leading museums and government agencies seek.
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Old 30th September 2019, 12:35 PM   #24
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Ren Ren, thank you for the explanation, which I find quite interesting.
I admit that I was guessing, when I wrote that camel bone was harder than ivory.
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Old 30th September 2019, 12:40 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren
I propose once again to pay attention to the structure of the camel's bone (especially with a longitudinal section). It was once difficult to distinguish ivory from an elephant and from a mammoth


That is why I said that I like your idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren
P. S. Mahratt spoke very modestly about himself. He is not only the curator of the collections of the Museum of Natural History, but also an expert whose help leading museums and government agencies seek.


Thank you for your words I considered it not modest to write this information about myself
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Old 30th September 2019, 01:59 PM   #26
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Arms and armour collectors are not stupid brutes in fact... interesting....

Kubur
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Old 30th September 2019, 04:51 PM   #27
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I would like to correct anatomical error in the description of walrus tusk written in the book on identification of various osteological materials. The author calls the inner marbled ( oatmeal-like, granulated etc.) part of the tusk a " pulp". It is not a pulp. Pulp of any tooth is a soft living tissue located in the middle of the tooth and composed of arteries, veins, nerves and some supporting soft tissue. It is locates in the so-called " pulp cavity" that originates at the basis of the root and disappears completely well before the tip of the tooth. It provides nutrients to the cells lining the dentine that are responsible for tooth growth. When we have root canal procedure, the pulp is what is removed by our endodontists:-((( The jello-like consistency of the pulp makes it absolutely unsuitable for any practical use in the process of carving.


Walrus tusk is a modified canine tooth. Its outer layer is enamel, that is worn off at a very young age. Underneath is cementum, also thin and flaky material that is removed by the carver. The rest of the tusk consists of dentine and this part is used for carving purposes. The outer layer of the dentine is homogeneous (primary dentine) and the inner part ( secondary dentine or osteodentine) is exactly the one that is erroneously called " pulp" in the book.
You can look it in the CITES book
https://www.cites.org/sites/default...Ivory-guide.pdf
and in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services book
https://www.fws.gov/lab/ivory_natural.php

Also, a pic of the cut across the tusk:C- cementum, PD- primary dentine; SD - secondary dentine. Right in the center we can see a dark irregular structure, the final remnant of the pulp.

Thus, when we discuss walrus ivory, let's use correct anatomical terminology.
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Old 30th September 2019, 08:44 PM   #28
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Thank you very much for the valuable addition taken from the CITES website.
In Russian (and the book is written in Russian for Russian-speaking specialists), the inner (oatmeal-like, granulated etc.) at the same time, the hard part of the walrus fang is called "pulpa".
If I decide to make an English version of my book on the definition of osteological materials, I will definitely describe the structure of the walrus fang, as is customary in the English scientific literature
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Old 30th September 2019, 08:55 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Arms and armour collectors are not stupid brutes in fact... interesting....

Kubur

Hi Kubur! You touched a painful point
For the sake of justice, I must say that I have met several such collectors. But they collected regular army items never ethnographic arms.
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Old 30th September 2019, 09:28 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
.
In Russian (and the book is written in Russian for Russian-speaking specialists), the inner (oatmeal-like, granulated etc.) at the same time, the hard part of the walrus fang is called "pulpa".


You are trying to wiggle out of the obvious error on your part. It ain't gonna happen: in Russian, as in every other language pulp is the soft content of the inner tooth cavity ( blood vessels, nerves etc) and is a separate entity from dentin. It pertains to every species with teeth: humans, walruses, elephants, cats etc. Basic anatomy from my first year of medical school:-)
For your benefit I am attaching a slide from a Russian source with Latin names for different tooth components ( for the benefit of other Forumites). If you do not trust it, you can consult any Russian book on anatomy or dentistry or Google it in Russian.
Just admit your goof, say thank you and that's it. The more you try to dig yourself out , the deeper you get.
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