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Old 11th October 2020, 06:18 AM   #1
GePi
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Default A fancy peshkabz, a call for help on translation and thoughts on provenance

Hello,

I have been looking for years for a high quality persian style peshkabz and finally I was able to acquire one (two actually), although it took a kamikaze-like approach to get them.
The blade is very typically persian, with a ladder pattern and nice chiseling, 18th century I would assume, but the dress is not what we usually see.
The grip scales are hollow and made from silver and the scabbard is heavy silver with wood lining and elaborate chasing, gilding and niello with three niello inscriptions.

The auctioneer listed the provenance as Dagestan, which I don't believe is plausible, I tend to think either central Asia or simply Iran.

The cartouches are two makers' marks and what I assume to be the owner's name.

I am very interested in what you all think, and if you can again help me with my flailing attempts to translate (I know you are around kwiatek )
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Old 11th October 2020, 06:22 AM   #2
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The big cartouche I can partially read, but I do not get the meaning:
it starts حق نظز (haq nadhar), both are words which I know, but not their meaning in this context. After that I am less sure, I would transliterate the next word as حیباچی (h[e?]ibachi?), but except for a Japanese stove I came up empty for that so I am probably wrong.
The second line starts with ملا, Mullah which makes me think it is followed by the name, where it again becomes difficult for me. I would guess جمحم قلی بن (Djamham Ghali Ben???), but I am less than sure.
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Old 11th October 2020, 06:23 AM   #3
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The first maker's cartouche I read as امل احمد خان, work of Ahmad Khan.

The secend maker's cartouche I can not make out at all, there seems to be an unusual flourish in the calligraphy that I have never seen before.
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Old 11th October 2020, 08:10 AM   #4
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Very beautiful knife! Congratulations for this exceptional acquisition!

As you said, the blade is typical Persian 18th to early 19th century.

Both the hilt and and the scabbard may be later replacements and don't look very Persian to my eyes.

The scabbard looks more from the Caucasus area (which was a part of Persian empire throughout the history). I have seen exactly the same style of silver engraved decorations with niello panels and wire wrapped tips on kindjal scabbards.

The hilt is very similar to some I have seen on North Indian knives.

Let's hope for a translation!

Last edited by mariusgmioc; 11th October 2020 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 11th October 2020, 08:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Very beautiful knife! Congratulations for this exceptional acquisition!

As you said, the blade is typical Persian 18th to early 19th century.

Both the hilt and and the scabbard may be later replacements and don't look very Persian to my eyes.

The scabbard looks more from the Caucasus area (which was a part of Persian empire throughout the history). I have seen exactly the same style of silver engraved decorations with niello panels and wire wrapped tips on kindjal scabbards.

The hilt is very similar to some I have seen on North Indian knives.

Let's hope for a translation!
Thanks, I am still pretty stoked I got it.

I agree that caucasian scabbards have similarly decorated fittings, and I am sure that is where the attribution by the auctioneer comes from, but I have never seen a peshkabz from that area before. The decoration also strongly reminds me of kard scabbards like this one though, and these are usually attributed to central asia.

As for the silver hilt scales, there was also this peshkabz on sale in the same auction featuring a definitely central asian scabbards with typical turcoise cloisonne.
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Old 11th October 2020, 12:57 PM   #6
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Inscriptions are typical of the Caucasus. The poetic inscription is in one of the numerous difficult languages of the region, many of them language isolates, with Arabic loanwords. The first signature I read as you do عمل احمد خان “work of Ahmad Khan”, the second might be عمل خضر "work of Khizr”, with the last letter written disjointed and below on account of lack of space
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Old 11th October 2020, 01:29 PM   #7
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This is from Robert Hales Islamic and oriental arms and armour, page 85:
"Caucasian silver work was popular over a wide area of Asia and sheaths made there were used for kards from Iran to Turkestan"
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Old 11th October 2020, 05:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
Inscriptions are typical of the Caucasus. The poetic inscription is in one of the numerous difficult languages of the region, many of them language isolates, with Arabic loanwords. The first signature I read as you do عمل احمد خان “work of Ahmad Khan”, the second might be عمل خضر "work of Khizr”, with the last letter written disjointed and below on account of lack of space
Thank you for the insight, it seems Dagestan might be a good possibility after all. The dagger was auctioned off from quite an old German collection so perhaps the attribution comes from true provenance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drabant1701
This is from Robert Hales Islamic and oriental arms and armour, page 85:
"Caucasian silver work was popular over a wide area of Asia and sheaths made there were used for kards from Iran to Turkestan"
Interesting, I looked it up and that kard's scabbard is of the type I was referring to in response to Marius and it looks similar in decoration to kinjal scabbards as he says. What this means is not quite clear to me, in Rivkin's arms and armour from Caucasus he states that high status knives other than Kinjals were not commen in the region, but these kard scabbards are quite prevalent on the antique market, and as I said usually attributed to 'Turkestan'. I flipped through my copy of the Moser catalogue though and did not find a single one in that style.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 08:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
The first signature I read as you do عمل احمد خان “work of Ahmad Khan”, the second might be عمل خضر "work of Khizr”, with the last letter written disjointed and below on account of lack of space
A small update for those interested, while hunting around the forum for pictures not yet in my collection I stumbled upon this old but pertinent thread featuring a typical Kard from Turkestan with the same makers' names inscribed on the scabbard. Here they are written without any fancy flourishes so even I can easily read the second one as خضری or Khezri so Kwiatek was right on the money.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 09:06 PM   #10
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I think Mahratt is right, these daggers are Central Asian, with silver craftmen from Caucasus and Persian blades.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=26621
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Old 2nd March 2021, 09:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
I think Mahratt is right, these daggers are Central Asian, with silver craftmen from Caucasus and Persian blades.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=26621
Yes, I saw that post too and am also quite convinced.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 05:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GePi
Thank you for the insight, it seems Dagestan might be a good possibility after all. The dagger was auctioned off from quite an old German collection so perhaps the attribution comes from true provenance.

Interesting, I looked it up and that kard's scabbard is of the type I was referring to in response to Marius and it looks similar in decoration to kinjal scabbards as he says. What this means is not quite clear to me, in Rivkin's arms and armour from Caucasus he states that high status knives other than Kinjals were not commen in the region, but these kard scabbards are quite prevalent on the antique market, and as I said usually attributed to 'Turkestan'. I flipped through my copy of the Moser catalogue though and did not find a single one in that style.
It is important to remember in what years Moser was in Turkestan. He visited Turkestan several times from 1868 to 1889. He collected most of the collection on his first trips. And Caucasian masters from Dagestan moved to Turkestan in the last years of the 19th century - early 20th century. It was then that the fashion for such a silver scabbard began to spread.
And, of course, there were no workshops in the Caucasus where masters would make scabbards for Central Asia. The logistics would have been too complicated for that time) Caucasian craftsmen lived in Bukhara and Khiva and carried out orders for silver for the local population on the spot.
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Old 7th March 2021, 03:37 AM   #13
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I think the handle is a replacement. The metal is distinctly different from the scabbard: seems to be either much lower silver content or not silver at all.

Its throat is very peculiar.
I’d like to see the dagger inserted into the scabbard.
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Old 7th March 2021, 05:17 AM   #14
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I like it, If you get tired of it, send it my way
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Old 7th March 2021, 11:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
I think the handle is a replacement. The metal is distinctly different from the scabbard: seems to be either much lower silver content or not silver at all.

Its throat is very peculiar.
I’d like to see the dagger inserted into the scabbard.
I am certain of that as well, it probably had a walrus hilt at one time, but where and when it was changed, who knows. The koftgari motive on the bolster reminds me of this Pesh/Karud, so for me central asia is not out of the question. I will certainly test the silver content of the grip scales sometime.

All that said, while the dagger fits the scabbard perfectly, I have since learned from secure provenance that they are a late marriage, which I don't mind very much, because both are still very nice in their own right.



I have also looked through my image collection a bit further to find dated central asian scabbards and have not found very many but at least these three from Hermann Historica.

The first is dated 1334 AH - ~1915 and has the maker and owner inscribed
'Amal-e Lotf, Saheb Ali Mohammad ???Qali Adghali???'

The second is dated 1329 AH - ~1911

The third is dated quite early, 1126 AH - ~1714, with the maker's name unfortunately not completely depicted
Mohammad *unreadable* Zargar (Goldsmith) Buchara (Buchari?)
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Old 10th March 2021, 10:37 PM   #16
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Thanks for posting these. Interesting pieces. I would read them as you have done and give a reading for one of the names:

1334 AH (1915-16)
Work of Lutf (Latif?), owner ‘Ali Muhammad Vali Oghli (Veli Oğlu)


1329 AH (1911-12)

1126 AH - (1714-15)
... (Sayyid?) Muhammad Zargar Bukhari
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Old 11th March 2021, 07:37 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
Thanks for posting these. Interesting pieces. I would read them as you have done and give a reading for one of the names:

1334 AH (1915-16)
Work of Lutf (Latif?), owner ‘Ali Muhammad Vali Oghli (Veli Oğlu)


1329 AH (1911-12)

1126 AH - (1714-15)
... (Sayyid?) Muhammad Zargar Bukhari

Thank you very much for the correction. I was very unsure about the name because I lack the linguistic background you obviously have.

Did you also see the other kard scabbard in the same fashion that I showed a few posts above? It has the same makers' names inscribed as on my example. So seeing how similar in style they all are, I think it would be reasonable to assume that they are all from around the same time and place of origin.
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