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Old 21st September 2007, 11:42 AM   #1
Bill M
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Default Flyessa

Here is the second flyessa. Bottom one in the first picture. 32.5" Long. Blade is interesting, but someone has done a bad job of trying to clean it. I will do some overall gentle cleaning and see what I can bring out.

Why do people monkey around with nice, old blades?

These flyessas have a massive feel to them, reminds me of a khaybar Afghanistan sword. Business-like and no nonsense.

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Old 21st September 2007, 07:32 PM   #2
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Nice ones Bill!

Congrats on some beautiful pieces. I wonder whether the handles had the brass casing or not. The heavy cleaning is informative as it shows how the decorations are done. This isn't really inlay as the brass is hammered onto the metal where it has been scored and roughened up. I'd call this overlay, but isn't there a specific term for it? It's not the same as the koftgari technique, is it?

For more info on the flyssa, I recommend this paper Sabres Kabyles by Camille Lacoste-Desjardins:

One thing came to mind...Desjardins had access to a few dozen examples when she compiled her paper. Her thematic study of the derative work is thus limited. Through the Internet we now have access to many more pieces, or at least pictures of them, and Desjardins' work could therefore be updated with a larger sample.

The decoration on your two swords has a slightly different composition than the "classical" ones analyzed by Desjardins, in that they feature a linear, parallel arrangement. In other cases the composition follows a series of pyramids, trapezoids and circles aligned to the long axis of the blade. I will post examples of what I mean later today when I get home.

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Old 21st September 2007, 11:16 PM   #3
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I rather wonder if like Taureg pieces, the earylist ones were wood handled not brass?

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Old 22nd September 2007, 07:37 PM   #4
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Here are the pages I was referring to.

Stylistically, I wonder how the decorative scheme developed. It's logical enough that composition was derived to fill in the space, and thus it had to fit its shape.

If the flyssa evolved from the yataghan, perhaps the scrolling creeper design was brought over from Anatolian models, to be later refined. The simpler parallel composition may therefore be indicative of older manufacture.

Have a look at this thread: there is a flyssa-like sword with scrollwork identical to yours. Ham maintained that it is a yataghan, but since the incisions on that blade were also scored, I believe it was also meant to receive brass highlights. In that case, were Ottoman yataghans ever decorated with overlaid brass? If not, could that sword be a flyssa after all?

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Old 22nd September 2007, 08:11 PM   #5
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VERY....very nice Bill.....the decoration definately seems atypical and the suggestion by Spiral about the wood handle seems likely.
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