Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 27th May 2019, 08:45 PM   #31
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,382
Default

Thank you Evgeny for that vital bit of data with suggested provenance for this sword, which helps a great deal.
Here I would note that 'Copa' (Slavyansk na Kubani) which is actually located on the Protoka tributary of the Kuban R.) was indeed a Genoan trade colony from early 15th c. for the prominent Jewish Genoan family de Ghisolfi.
However these regions in the Taman Peninsula were seized by the Crimean Khanate in 1483, and these settlements largely abandoned until the Khanate built a fort in the 'Copa' area in 1747.

In 1783, the Ottomans took over.

This seems to be well in accord with Teodor's note on the possibility of a Maghrebi sword as far east as these Black Sea regions, thus quite feasible.
While the quillons on this example (and the tang holes in the blade) may not be entirely in line with most 'nimcha' examples, it must be remembered that these Maghreb swords typically used European blades.

In looking at the possibility of this being a Genoan sword in entirety, I looked at "Armi Bianchi Italiene" (Boccia & Coelho, 1975) and found three 17th c. Italian swords (#543,44, 547) with similar quillon arrangements. While similar they are not necessarily convincing.

The Maghrebi nimcha did evolve from Italian hilt forms it seems, and there are variations of both their prototypes as well as those in North Africa. There are differences in the number of quillons beween Moroccan and Algerian (if I recall Louis-Pierre's paper) not to mention those with guard ring, pitons etc.

If the Genoan character in this region was diminished as reflected by the history of this area as described, especially by the 18th century period which seems to be that of this sword, then why would it be Genoan? The seeds for such influences had widely diffused into these areas as well as into the Caucusus (the 'gurda' sickle marks on Chechen blades).

By 1783, it sounds as if the Ottoman presence and ultimate conquest of this area (and others in Black Sea) was profound thus the presence of a Maghrebi sword in this context and period sounds quite logical.

The similarity to the North Italian (not necessarily Genoan) hilt forms shown is notable, as well as the fuller character is much as seen on many Italian blades of the 17th into 18th c.However, it must be remembered that the earlier import of blades from Italy (often Genoa) into the Maghreb had become such a tradition many blades were simply labeled 'Genoan' even if they weren't.

I remain with the idea that Genoan classification to this sword is not necessarily the case just because the area was once a Genoan trade location, and the find is more likely to have come from Ottoman presence there in events and actions of the 18th c.

The attached are images of the Italian swords (17th c) and two examples of Maghrebi nimchas. The guard of the sword discussed may have had the 'outer quillon' broken off.
Attached Images
    
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2019, 09:17 PM   #32
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,521
Default

Hi Jim,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

While the quillons on this example (and the tang holes in the blade) may not be entirely in line with most 'nimcha' examples, it must be remembered that these Maghreb swords typically used European blades.


Have you seen nimcha tangs? I did.
No holes so far.
But as you said some blades might have been reused and tang holes cannot be excluded.
Remember that trade blades were sold new sometimes if not always.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

While similar they are not necessarily convincing.


Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

The guard of the sword discussed may have had the 'outer quillon' broken off.


Disagree, it's the first thing that I looked, no space for another one.
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2019, 09:18 PM   #33
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,382
Default Addendum: The Sickle Marks

I wanted to add some detail on the markings seen on the sword we are discussing in the previous posts.
This marking, primarily three dots at either end of a typically dentated arc, have usually been associated with Genoa, as many of these were often situated with GENOA with them. Genoa was a key port of course and with sword and edged weapon blades these markings seem to have been applied perhaps in some sort of guild or other type export mark.

Soon, as with many such markings, their presence was considered a mark of quality, and their use expanded to many blade making centers in that regard.
As mentioned earlier, in the Caucusus, the use of this 'sickle' mark was adopted as a quality mark, and the blades with it were called 'gurda' (=good blade).
These markings were used in variation in many North Italian centers(not necessarily Genoa) as well as soon adopted by makers in Styrian centers and of course Solingen. Native artisans copied them in India, Arabia, North Africa and others.
Attached Images
   
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2019, 09:33 PM   #34
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,382
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi Jim,



Have you seen nimcha tangs? I did.
No holes so far.
But as you said some blades might have been reused and tang holes cannot be excluded.
Remember that trade blades were sold new sometimes if not always.



Agreed.



Disagree, it's the first thing that I looked, no space for another one.



Good points Kubur, and in fact I have not actually seen nimcha tangs so I would defer to your experience at having seen them. As most European blades, trade or otherwise, seem to have holes for hilt mounting for rivets it seemed likely that nimchas using European blades would have them also.

With the quillon question, in looking closer I see what you mean, it is unlikely one is missing. However even more important, the little 'langet' like protrusion at guard center on nimcha hilts is missing. While one of the examples I showed has barely a vestigial nub there, it seems important to note.
Perhaps this more supports a sword from a member of Ottoman forces which is of another form using a European trade blade, again in these actions in late 18th c. even if not from the Maghreb. Whatever the case, I don't think this is a Genoan sword, but it is I think 18th c.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2019, 01:48 AM   #35
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,382
Default

Just for the record, it seemed I had recalled instances of nimcha which indeed had two downturned quillons rather than the three which appear standard on the Moroccan versions.
Apparently in Algeria, there are examples of nimcha hilts with just two quillons downturned, and I found this noted in " Islamic Weapons" Maghrib to Moghul", Anthno Tirri, 2003, p. 42-43, fig. 21A);
"...Algeria produced a version of the Moroccan nimcha but with two basic differences. The Algerian nimcha has only two downturned quillons and the blade is usually a locally produced flyssa style blade".

The illustration I have attached is from "Les Armes Blanches du Monde Islamique" (Alain Jacob, 1985. p.51). ..an Algerian nimcha with two downturned quillons.

Clearly the sword we are examining does not have a flyssa blade, but it does have two quillons, not three.

In Tirri (p.42, op.cit.) the word 'usually' regarding the use of flyssa blades is key. It seems reasonable that in Algerian coastal regions, particularly those involved with Ottoman naval/pirate activity, the blade of a flyssa would not be preferred, but the use of a sturdy European blade would.

Briggs (1965) in his article on European blades in Tuareg weapons also illustrates a nimcha blade (similar fullering), but it appears to have a Moroccan hilt. What is interesting is that Briggs was in Algeria, not Morocco, yet a Moroccan style example was found there. Obviously, there was an interpolation of the two hilt forms in the Maghrebi littoral.

I attached illustration of our sword in discussion for comparison rather than having to keep scrolling back to it.


JUST FOUND ANOTHER(bottom illustration).
From "Arts of the Muslim Knight" ed. B.Mohammed, 2008, p.18
'...from Algeria, Oran, Ottoman period, c. 1720-32'

While these quillons are not of course identical, they do illustrate the proclivity to dual quillons in Algerian hilts of the nimcha style.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 28th May 2019 at 03:55 AM.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2019, 07:01 AM   #36
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
Posts: 2,947
Default

Most Nimcha appear to be fairly short (nimcha I recall implies 'small' or 'short') but some are more lengthy and suitable for mounted use. Like my one with a hair horn grip like the earlier ones, just not as pretty. It has a 35in. blade. ref: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=nimcha
Attached Images
 
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2019, 08:21 AM   #37
Evgeny_K
Member
 
Evgeny_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 166
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
While similar they are not necessarily convincing.


Dear Jim, it seems that you are right and there is a wishful thinking from my part. In any case, I would like to correctly identify this item.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
The guard of the sword discussed may have had the 'outer quillon' broken off.


It seems to me that there wasn't a third quillon. Please look at additional pictures.
Attached Images
   
Evgeny_K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2019, 02:06 PM   #38
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,382
Default

Thank you Evgeny for the response, and Kubur has noted (#33) that no third quillon presence seems evident. The reason I brought up the dual quillons was to support that such variation did exist in Maghrebi nimcha, and were apparently relegated to Algerian versions (the Moroccan had three quillons).

I well understand wishful thinking in examining and identifying a weapon, but for me truth and correct as possible classification also have their own virtues. Often the investigation of a weapon brings to light wonderful historic aspects of its presence in certain contexts which might not otherwise have been revealed.

The fact that this is probably not a Genoan weapon indigenous to this Black Sea region as it dates long after Genoan colonial presence had dissipated there does not preclude the fact it might still be an Italian blade. However, its means of arriving in the area it was found MAY have been through the conduit of the Ottoman forces with Maghebi weapons in this region in the 18th c.
Even if found to be a weapon which indeed came from these Black Sea regions, the blade still could be North Italian or Styrian, as these centers produced blades well through the 18th c. These same blades which often reached North Africa also went to many foreign ports including East European, Russian, Balkan etc.

Whatever the case, the fact that this sword was found in situ in the location you describe gives it stellar provenance on its own merits.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th May 2019, 09:05 AM   #39
Evgeny_K
Member
 
Evgeny_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 166
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
The fact that this is probably not a Genoan weapon indigenous to this Black Sea region as it dates long after Genoan colonial presence had dissipated there does not preclude the fact it might still be an Italian blade. However, its means of arriving in the area it was found MAY have been through the conduit of the Ottoman forces with Maghebi weapons in this region in the 18th c.
Even if found to be a weapon which indeed came from these Black Sea regions, the blade still could be North Italian or Styrian, as these centers produced blades well through the 18th c. These same blades which often reached North Africa also went to many foreign ports including East European, Russian, Balkan etc.

Whatever the case, the fact that this sword was found in situ in the location you describe gives it stellar provenance on its own merits.


Thank you, Jim!
Evgeny_K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st June 2019, 01:29 AM   #40
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,382
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evgeny_K
Thank you, Jim!



Absolutely Evgeny! My pleasure and thank you for the opportunity to look into this great sword!
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st June 2019, 07:34 AM   #41
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 4,242
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

First my congratulations everyone who has placed details here since this sword type is doubly difficult to analyze because of its apparent duality both in the Mediterranean and in the Indian Ocean.
The word Nimcha is Persian and used in the Baluch language also. I think that although it seems a short weapon this is only half the story since there are big swords around from the Moroccan side and those which were used by Band of London Officer Tobias Blose plus those seen a court in Morocco were examples from artwork. Thus what does it mean; Nimcha?

Nim means half not small. Nim o Nim means half n' half. Yak o Nim means half past One. Nimcha is likely to mean half sword....or half sharpened sword.

In most cases Nimcha have a heavy back edge and a sharp cutting edge suggesting that is the traditional style. A chopping slashing form; From Horseback or in its shorter style a cutlass.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 11:53 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.