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Old 27th June 2007, 01:39 AM   #1
Battara
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Default Bosnian Bichaq

Here is a nice puppy I got a little while back. It is a bichaq from Sarajevo with green dyed bone and inserted brass pieces. This type of coloration and inserts are usually found on the stocks of Ottoman rifles. The blade is laminated with a maker's mark in the form of a shamshir. I made the brass scabbard based on those that went with such pieces. This is my first metal wrapped scabbard I ever made. I believe this piece is mid-19th century. I have seen very few of these in green bone. Most are white bone with inserts.

Enjoy - Jose
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Old 27th June 2007, 02:34 AM   #2
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Outstanding! Beautiful knife, and great work on the scabbard.

Steve
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Old 27th June 2007, 03:10 PM   #3
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Default Extremely functional

I heard that there was a study by the Swedish army on military knives, and they came up with the fact that the best all-around military knife ended up looking like... a chef's knife!

This knife is of that sort; totally useable and functional for almost any work, and if necessary even sliding through ribs.

A great knife.
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Old 27th June 2007, 05:15 PM   #4
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Very nice functional knife....I like it.

Although the handle decoration suggests its .....Radioactive
Double the lethalness

Nice job on the scabbard, is it brass plate over wood? How did you emboss/engrave the brass?
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Old 27th June 2007, 06:48 PM   #5
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Thank you folks!

The scabbard is brass sheet over wood. I chased and stamped the brass with tools in a similar manner as they did and in the same style. I also soldered the brass sheet to itself on the other side (which the original would also have been) with a final soft soldering of the tip.

I also cleaned up the hilt - it had some kind of white hard adhesive on parts of it.
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Old 28th June 2007, 01:09 AM   #6
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Here are some other pictures including the maker's mark in the form of a shamsir. I see this on other Sarajevo blades of this period. Anyone know who this maker was?
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Old 28th June 2007, 03:59 AM   #7
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I do not think there was only one maker. To me it appears that this symbol was copied in a manner similar to the eyelashes marking, and was more of a stamp of quality. On these knives certain inscriptions seem to have been copied as well. For example I have a bichaq with an inscription "Sarajevo 1894", which is almost identical to one in a small book issued by Hermann-Historica called "Dolche und Messer aus dem Persischen KulturRaum". Note the 4th dagger from the left.
Regards,
Teodor
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Old 28th June 2007, 02:46 PM   #8
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Here is my example of Bichaq and a close-up of the maker's mark.
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Old 28th June 2007, 03:11 PM   #9
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Here are 3 from my collection. Two have the scimitar mark the little one is dated 1893.


Lew
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Old 1st July 2007, 07:54 PM   #10
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Thank you folks. Very helpful. And thanks for the sharing for comparison. I just love green bone and ivory!
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Old 1st July 2007, 08:02 PM   #11
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It seems that my example is the only one with a different mark.

All the examples shown , as far as I can tell, have a hardened edge; they are sturdy workmanlike knives.
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Old 21st December 2007, 03:57 AM   #12
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I hope nobody would mind me renewing this thread wih new examples - my goal is to keep as much of the information in one thread for later reference purposes.
Here is a somewhat more unusual variation of this type of knives. Not as unusual as Rick's, but still different. It is similar to #11 from Hermann-Historica's catalogue, which is described there as a Bosnian dagger with lacquer filled drilled holes decoration and a more pronounced head (pommel?), with a simple scabbard (not pictured). Mine is without scabbard, but it would have probably been similar to the usual construction of two wooden halves encased in thin brass sheet.
Below I have it next to my other three bichaqs, and I have also tried to take comparison photos of the hilts. Finally, there are photos of all the markings - one is unmarked, two have the so-called "kilidj/shamshir" marking and the new one has a marking which I cannot name, since I am not really sure what it aims to represent.
I wonder, has there been a study of these interesting knives, which might give us some insight as to the meaning of the different marks and the decoration on the hilts. I agree with Jim that the circles and dots are most likely solar symbols, but would always love to learn more.
Teodor
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Old 22nd December 2007, 12:38 AM   #13
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Very nice work on the scabbard Jose ! and this is a remarkable example, especially as you note the green dyed horn grip is most unusual. It seems I had heard in discussion once the suggestion that the green, a very sacred color in Islam, was intended to signify the Hajii, or Pilgrimage to Mecca. I wonder if this might be the case, and would be interested to hear more on this suggestion. It seems that obviously the green coloring has been seen on a number of horn gripped Islamic weapons of various forms.

Another feature that seems prevalent on Bosnian edged weapons are the raised studded screws, and these appear also on some Balkan yataghans. I have often wondered the purpose of this feature, and if some particular reason for it.

Most interesting comments on the shamshir marking, another example of a key weapon form appearing on a blade as a makers mark or other meaning. On other threads we have noted some tulwar blades stamped with a katar, another dagger blade with what appears to suggest a madu. I'd like to know if there is more detail on this marking as well.

Teodor, thank you for the note on the circle marking, and there is much more research on these and so many other markings. I am always happy to see any interest in markings and symbolism in weapons as you know!!

Great thread on these interesting knives!!!

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 22nd December 2007, 08:35 PM   #14
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Many thanks Jim. I had forgotten about green being a sacred color in Islam....

TVV thank you for sharing and bringing this thread up again - I have not seen the other blade marks before.....
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Old 23rd December 2007, 09:34 AM   #15
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Hi all,
also my one has the Battara mark.
Paolo
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Old 31st January 2008, 07:21 PM   #16
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Last Sunday I've got my first bichaq at the local antique market. It has a surprisingly good condition. The interesting thing about it is the inscription on the scabbard. On one side there are 2 large letters FK and on the other inscription "Frank Karl", which seems to be a maker's signature. The blade has a usual scimitar mark, which can also be read as a mirrored "f"
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Old 1st February 2008, 01:24 AM   #17
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Paolo, did not see yours - very nice.

Tatyana, yours is also very nice with that unique variation in hilt form that I have seen. And yours is also laminated damascus steel.

Paolo - I wonder if yours is also laminated.....

Oh, Tatyana - isn't "Frank Karl" German? Perhaps the former owner.
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Old 1st February 2008, 01:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montino Bourbon
I heard that there was a study by the Swedish army on military knives, and they came up with the fact that the best all-around military knife ended up looking like... a chef's knife!

This knife is of that sort; totally useable and functional for almost any work, and if necessary even sliding through ribs.

A great knife.

In a Russian book about fighting knives, the author gives the highest marks to Barong. Of course, the technique and the preferred way of "scoring" are important: barong would not be good for stabbing and is too heavy, but for the heavy-duty slashing few models coud beat it. Moroccan Koummya is a vicious little bugger: very economical edge-wise with generous unsharpened ricasso that increases strength of the blade. Sometimes, form can be deceving: kindjals look like pure stabbers, but in fact were used mostly as slashers ( stabbing was regarded as "poor taste").
Even though stabbing has higher chance of inflicting mortal wound, slashing causes a lot of bleeding, disorientation of the opponent and, if placed right, disarming him ( think of slashing wrist tendons!). Then, one can choose the final strike. Slower, less elegant, but surer.
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Old 1st February 2008, 09:17 PM   #19
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Battara, I think it is not possible at the moment to answer who this Frank Karl was. But the inscription is from the same period as the scabbard, judging from its look.
I'm not 100% sure if the blade is laminated (I will test it this weekend), but it is definitely differentially hardened!
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Old 1st February 2008, 11:42 PM   #20
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Here is another one that ended on eBay today - somewhat unusual pommel, but what is really intiguing is the leather sheath instead of the typical wooden scabbard encased in brass:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...:MEWA:IT&ih=010
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Old 14th February 2008, 08:15 PM   #21
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Well, the blade of my bichaq is laminated, has many layers, but it is not very spectacular and difficult to picture. I am pretty sure, that it is purely functional lamination and it wasn't supposed to be etched.
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Old 14th February 2008, 09:29 PM   #22
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The lamination seems to remind me of shear steel I would not consider this blade a true pattern welded steel. If you take wrought iron and forge it to shape and etch it you will see the same pattern. My feeling is that this blade could have been forged from shear steel since it was exported all over the world by Britain during the late 1800s which is when I would place this daggers age.


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Old 21st February 2008, 06:36 PM   #23
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And here mine bosnian bichaqs. Only two are marketd.
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Old 21st February 2008, 07:39 PM   #24
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Beautiful and complete pieces Valjhun, thanks for sharing.
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