Thread: Khyber knife?
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Old 25th June 2021, 02:47 AM   #22
Jim McDougall
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Location: Route 66
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I am just curious, WHY in the world would a 'Khyber' be mounted with a khanda hilt? or even a tulwar hilt?

The fact that this blade is a variant with the typical T-spine absent does not disqualify it as being of the form and probably from anywhere in the Afghan regions where these were used.

The only other Khyber blades that had 'other ' hilts mounted on them were the military style forms produced in the Machin Khana in Kabul post 2nd Afghan war (1879-80)..These were for the tribal forces serving in para military police character policing tribal areas, and while many of these had standard military blades.....many tribesmen preferred their own blades.

Throughout the Northwest Frontier and well into the Khyber Agency, there were many itinerant blacksmiths and metal workers who could have produced such similar blades following this profile, but without necessary means to produce the finer details such as the T back.

With the holes, on the examples shown with vestigial 'tunkou' as seen on yataghan blades etc. being filled with gold metal is a very old feature seen on some Islamic blades, and supposed to have certain talismanic associations. In the case of old Mamluk blades some had anywhere from one to seven holes filled in this manner.
While the other seems to have the hole in the tunkou and filled with silver metal.

There are cases of blades in the Sudan having holes drilled and filled with gold metal (probably copper) in this manner.

It is tempting to think of the British term for the Khyber as 'silliwar yataghan' and colloquially 'Khyber knife'. The Afghan term (not sure which dialect) for these is silliwar. The yataghan appellation seems odd and interesting to see examples with the tunkou feature.

The attached is an example of the 'military' style hilt as produced in Machin Khana mounted with tribal blade, the doves are a Persian affinity, which of course was prevalent in these regions.
Below that is an example of the 'military' style sword produced at Machin Khana, with the Royal Stamp and dated 1890.
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Last edited by Jim McDougall; 25th June 2021 at 03:04 AM.
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