Ethnographic Arms & Armour

Ethnographic Arms & Armour (
-   Ethnographic Weapons (
-   -   Persian? Zulfikar sword (

francantolin 25th September 2020 06:58 PM

Persian? Zulfikar sword
4 Attachment(s)
Hello everybody,

For share/ discuss,

I got this zulfikar sword,
the blade is split in two parts, the work is really well done.

I found on internet some Zulfikar blades cut in that way with a long engraved snake on the blade but I wonder how rare they were ?

The few I know is that they made these for the mythical symbol and sure it loses battle efficience with this shape.

So I wonder why they did it with such a good steel, ( wootz I think ) as found on other like-that sword if it was just for deco ?

francantolin 25th September 2020 07:02 PM

There is a cartouche, I think a copy of Zulfikar and Asadullah marks...

Persia ? late 19th century ?
Nice surprise for the cartouche, first the blade was all rusted...

francantolin 25th September 2020 07:03 PM

5 Attachment(s)
the pictures... :)

Kubur 25th September 2020 10:44 PM

Very high quality blades, more likely early 19th
Look at

GePi 25th September 2020 10:50 PM

The maker's cartouche reads kalb'ali. These engraved snakes can be found on quite a few 'extravagant' qajar era persian sword blades, mostly wootz tooas far as I have seen

Jim McDougall 25th September 2020 11:22 PM

The many examples of Dhu' al Faqar which exist in various countries and cultures in the Dar al' Islam seem to of course be representations of virtually the most famed and revered sword in Islamic history. There do seem to be variations based mostly on the blade being bifurcated, based on interpretation of the history of this Sword.
It seems there are varied views on the meaning of the name, which in many cases means literally 'possessor of spines' (suggesting the central fullers in the blade) but also is regarded as 'cleaver of spines' or other versions of the blade being 'cloven' in battle (it was taken by the Prophet at the Battle of Badr, 624AD).
He presented the sword to his son in law Ali, the fourth Caliph, and from then the sword was revered and referred to with,
" There is no sword but Dhu al Faqar, and no hero but Ali".

In the Qajar period in Iran (1722-1924) there were many religious ceremonies known as Passion Plays where key events in Islamic history were portrayed, and where examples of traditional arms and armor, beautifully made, were used.

This of course appears to be one of these examples, in the representation of Dhu al Faqar, as a shamshir with two blades (rather than others with two points).

The snake in the motif is a semiotic device representing Zahnak, a creature of evil in Persian literature and with ill temper, able to strike faster than the blink of an eye, and known in Zoroastrian 'Avestas'.
This of course refers symbolically to the symbolic power and heroic value of this most revered sword, and the sword as such has no intent for actual combat use, but ceremonial bearing.
These snake devices occur also on numbers of other Persian blades of traditional form, and I have seen them on others as well, such as kaskara in Sudan. The use of wootz is of course with regard to the highest respect by using the highest quality steel.

With the close in quillons and general demeanor, this seems to be an Arab version and probably early to mid 19th c. perhaps earlier. Very nice!

francantolin 26th September 2020 08:52 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Really thank you all for your precious comments !

Thank you Jim for all history and the use of wootz explanation !
Thank you Kubur for the links for old threads, they are really interestings !

Gepi, you read kalb'Ali for the maker's cartouche ? is it the one with a floral-drop shape ?

Here other pictures of the sword, on the hilt remains of silver koftgari,
the all sword picture is better like that ( holy daylight !)
it's a big sword, almost 1m05 / 41,3 inches long

A '' close up'' picture of the final two blades,
Interesting how the cut the blade in two parts...

Kind regards

GePi 26th September 2020 11:42 AM

8 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by francantolin

Gepi, you read kalb'Ali for the maker's cartouche ? is it the one with a floral-drop shape ?

It's this one (عمل کلبعلی).
Also some more swords with snake motives which I think are all Qajar Persia, even the one with the disk pommel I believe:

GePi 26th September 2020 12:38 PM

I also think the cartouche above says "bandeh-e velayat shah Abbas", as you would expect, but the calligraphy is not great and the picture is a bit blurry.

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 12:08 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
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.