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Old 29th January 2022, 01:50 PM   #1
JT88
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Default 1822 British Lancer Mameluke

Good morning everyone! Trying to do some research on my latest acquisition and find some recommendations of sources to check.


This is an unusual piece as the blade is a "classical" Ottoman blade that could be as old as 15th century, certainly 16th century. There is no unit distinguishing marks on it. Mamelukes became fashionable post-Waterloo for the recently converted lancer units. Some units had been carrying them as early as 1805. Thus the options are 9th, 12th, 16th, and later 17th lancers. The fittings look to me to be generic. The 1822 regulation was like most regulations after the fact when the style began. This sword could be immediately post-Waterloo, and given its characteristics, no expense was spared by its owner. The leather on the scabbard shows a lot of aging but is likely an in-period replacement of the original velvet. Evidence of probable campaigning, along with the wear to the sheath rings. I'd guess this thing spent some time in India, though with which unit who knows.

Richard Dellar doesn't speak much on these swords, so the reason I'm here is to ask if anyone has some more references on these?

As you can see from the first picture the sword has some active rust, I gave it a light clean carefully avoiding the small remnants of writing. I was able to trace the writing and have it translated. It says "No one is the owner of everything and earth rather than Allah"

Cheers
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Old 30th January 2022, 04:17 PM   #2
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These are pretty amazing sabers JT, and frankly seldom acquired by other than the most discerning collectors. While in my earlier days I did have one with the usual ivory mameluke style hilt, I regarded it as the 1831 pattern for staff officers (Robson, 1975). It was apparently through one of the outfitters in India, which seem most often in Calcutta (it may have been Harman, but of course Manton was more prevalent).

Actually Richard Dellar does address a number of these type officers 'mameluke' hilts in "The British Cavalry Sword 1788-1912" the companion volume (2019) to his remarkable reference book earlier.
His references refer of course to specific examples and details pertaining to their owners, and outstanding photos of each example.
Many have the 'stepped' tip of the distal third of the blade, which was of course from the Turkic style blades of India and often on tulwar blades.

This blade feature became popular in England during the early development of the British regulation patterns, and especially with officers, whose carte blanche latitude with privately commissioned swords permitted such variations.

As you note, the mameluke style saber was much favored by both French and British officers after the Egyptian campaigns 1798-1802, and the trend to adopt the form became popular in following years. The early example you note was by Samuel Brunn, Charing Cross, London in 1805.
The 1822 regulations prescribed these style hilts for the newly formed lancer regiments (9th, 12th and 16th light cavalry).

These 'stepped' tip blades were being produced in Solingen for England in earlier years as seen in a number of officers sabers produced in the earlier years of the century. These seem to have been intended for EIC officers, but these blades were also used for the group of sabers (27) for the 10th Hussars in 1808.

It seems most likely your example has an Indian tulwar blade from India which reflects the style being reproduced in Germany for England as seen in these examples pictured, on the left is the 10th Hussar pattern. The group of these blades were in England some time before 1808 so it seems apparent Solingen was producing early in the century. The next is what is believed a somewhat limited type of saber believed for EIC about 1800 (as noted by Wilkinson).
At this point I would suggest this is a Turkic type blade from India rather than Ottoman, and a remarkable example using a tulwar blade. As far as I know these instances were quite unusual.
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Old 30th January 2022, 06:25 PM   #3
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For reference, the UK 1831 pattern Mameluke sword for general officers of Major General and higher ranks. It is a current pattern. Note the yelman-like false edge on the tip area. I believe the current scabbards are steel, with brass suspension ring fittings. They are of course, unsharpened so the Generals won't hurt themselves, or anyone else.
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Old 30th January 2022, 08:47 PM   #4
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Thank you for the replies Jim and Kronk!

I'll have to ask my Turkish expert friend again, he was able to translate the writing on the edge. He called the blade-style "Classical Ottoman" from the 16th-17th century. I can ask him if he for sure thinks it's Ottoman or of an Indian make.

I have Richard Dellar's original book but have just ordered his companion volume which I've heard is better for this subject. Are there any other books you know of that may be useful here?

It is an incredible sword, I am still working on restoring the wootz. It has acted very differently than my Ottoman Pala which was very sensitive to etching. This steel is incredibly difficult to bring out the wootz even with a strong etchant and I've had success with polishing it afterward to bring out some of the patterns.

From what I can tell I do not think I will be able to discern by characteristics exactly which lancer unit this belonged to. It is an incredible sword, its owner/creator spared no expense.

Last edited by JT88; 31st January 2022 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Fixed timeframe
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Old 31st January 2022, 01:12 AM   #5
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G'day JT88,
Without any sort of marking it is impossible to identify what sort of officer owned your sword. It wasn't just Lancer officers who carried them. It could have been carried by any cavalry officer (light or heavy) or senior (or even not so senior but well-off!) army officer.

What makes you think the blade could be as early as 15th century? If you want to learn more about the blade it would be a good idea to post some better photos over on the Ethnographic Weapons forum. There are several people who frequent that forum who know a lot about these type of blades.

Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 31st January 2022, 02:00 AM   #6
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The fittings are described as generic lancer fittings from what I’ve seen. But anyone with the money especially to mount such a special blade could essentially do what they want. These swords originally had velvet on the scabbard. Too bad it’s gone, the color could clue to which unit.

I have a Turkish smith buddy who specializes in classical Ottoman weapons. He says it is 16th-17th century maybe early 18th. Ottomans transition to more what we would call a “pala” in that timeframe.

Also the type of writing on the side lends a clue, it is an older Turkish dialect he says.

I’ve been working on the wootz today, carefully balancing leaving the aging and bringing out the wootz. It’s incredible quality of wootz, wait til I post some photos of it. Puts my pala to shame.

Last edited by JT88; 31st January 2022 at 06:52 PM. Reason: Fixed time frame
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Old 31st January 2022, 05:59 PM   #7
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I would like to further expand Bryce's point that mamelukes were not restricted to Lancer regiments. They were also not restricted to the army, or military in general. They were, and still are, in common use by civilians when in uniform. Thus British Governor Generals, Lieutenant Governors, Lord Lieutenants etc. when 'suited and booted' would all typically carry a mameluke. When you remember the extent of the British Empire you realise there were a fair few of these. Even now senior diplomatic staff carry a sword (generally a court or small sword), but also possibly mamelukes in the past. When you consider that prior to independence there were 584 Princeley States in the British Raj in India, each having a British Political Officer and probably staff you can conceive there must have been a market of sorts for such swords.
As this sword has no markings and no indications of military origins I wouldn't rule out it being a civilian sword.
Best wishes
Richard
PS. If British, I would generally expect to see a cutler's name on the locket. But I am sure exceptions do exist.

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Old 31st January 2022, 06:23 PM   #8
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I attach some examples of turkish blades from different times.

Images 1-3: 15th century (All Topkapi Museum Instanbul)

Image 4-5: 16th - 17th century (Mueso de la real armeria, Madrid + Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe)

Image 6: 18th century (Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe)

Note the older the blade, the more prominent the so called "hammer" by the yelman.
Good luck in your research.

Source: W.Zablocki - Ciecia prawdziwa szabla.
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Old 31st January 2022, 06:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responses!

Every example I can find with these type of fittings is attributed to a lancer regiment. Civilian use possibility I don’t think is very high unless the owner straight imitated the lancer regimental style. There is such a wide range of non-uniform Mamelukes attributed to both the British and French I simply don’t think it likely it’s owner imitated a lancers.

Fullers on the older blades? That is generally a western style. I have seen none of such coming from eastern influence. Later palas have the T spine style as mine does from the 18-19th century. This yelman style is from likely the 17th century. I misspoke he believes it is 16-17th century. The swords skin itself was quite old, it had active rust on multiple locations which I removed and what appeared to be possible plating in a couple places that also had rust under it thus I removed it. I am nearly complete with it, just needs some finishing touches and I can post some better photos.

Regards

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Old 31st January 2022, 06:58 PM   #10
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any sources for civilian mamelukes? I have never seen one. This one I own has no cutlers mark either and most of the early ones with oriental blade dont have them, either British or French. This is what it looked like originally (many years before it came to me) when it had the scabbard and green velvet allegedly given to the 19th lancers before they dissolved in 1821.
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Old 31st January 2022, 07:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JT88 View Post
Fullers on the older blades? That is generally a western style. I have seen none of such coming from eastern influence.
You should write to Istanbul then and inform them their descriptions are incorrect

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Old 31st January 2022, 07:05 PM   #12
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You should write to Istanbul then and inform them their descriptions are incorrect
Show me some with double fullers
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Old 31st January 2022, 07:10 PM   #13
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"Mameluke saber" is a term created in the 19th century Europe when it comes to weapons like yours.
You asked for the blade and I gave you hints and information which I have. You said fullers are a western-only thing and I just let well respected authors answer that pointing on their literature. Make of that what you wish.
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Old 31st January 2022, 07:14 PM   #14
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There are fullers but they’re rare and only in very high end work, but more importantly I can’t see because you deleted it regarding fullers to age I’ve seen no indication of age = fullers.

I have the works and have read them.
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Old 31st January 2022, 07:17 PM   #15
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Earl of Athlone. Governor General of Canada
Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire
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Old 31st January 2022, 07:19 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by JT88 View Post
Show me some with double fullers
There you go. Double fullers on Osman I saber. Founder of the Ottoman dynasty. 13th century.
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Old 31st January 2022, 07:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
Earl of Athlone. Governor General of Canada
Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire
He was a major general, and thats the 1831 regulation mameluke for generals. When you said civilian did you mean dress uniform?
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Old 31st January 2022, 07:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
Earl of Athlone. Governor General of Canada
Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire
As Calien said that is a general, I’d like to see some purely civilian swords, not retired military.

I misspoke about fullers, yes they’re on eastern swords but I see no connection between age and fullers as you originally said.
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Old 31st January 2022, 08:01 PM   #19
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No, fullers do not always correlate with age. But when trying to identify something and one thing is missing which was common in a period of time, one must look for other details. As I said, another hint is the hammer on the spine of the blade just before the false edge of the yelman (the little prominent "hook"). With or without fullers, another rule of thumb seems to me, as I already said, the older the ottoman blade, the more prominent the hammer when the blade has a prominent yelman. I tried to give you help based solely on my knowledge as much as I could know. I think thats what people want when asking on a forum. Maybe I´m completely wrong. Take it or leave it.

--
I wrote a little story...
Person A shows a picture of the Titanic: Look this ship crossed the ocean in 1492.

Person B: Looks more like a 20th century ship to me. These old ships had sails. This one hasn´t.

Person A: But there were ships without sails back then, so this must be one of them.

Person B: But the circumstances differ. These old ships without sails had people in there rowing all the time and they were not meant to cross the ocean. Look here is a picture of Columbus´ship. And here is another of a Roman galley. They had no motors back then, so the architecture was different.

Person A: No.

--
Best wishes and good luck
(Image Ottoman saber, blade: 16-17th century. Other parts may be replaced, Source: Metropolitan Museum, New York)
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Old 31st January 2022, 09:08 PM   #20
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From my friend Osman who wants to post but his account is not validated: “That his statement about fuller and mahmuz ( hammer ) is totally mistaken, he cant categorize ottoman swords like that your blade is not 15th thats for sure it is 17th second half but fuller or without fuller is will of owner or smith of the time. There are fullerless examples belonging to 16th century also with fuller examples as well he can look swords of Sultan Suleiman the magnificent and sword of his father Sultan Selim”

Another statement from him: “ Most blades made by Kuşkadem ( khoskadem ) are without fullers late 15th Mamluk swords are with or without fullers ( Ottoman and Mamluk swords are going parallel always and Ottoman weaponry made peak as success when Mamluk smiths moved to Ottoman Empire ) and many Sultans has swords without fullers as well as they have with so we cant standartize them into bases like ohh look this has no fuller so it is late that is nonsense and funny i am into research of these by many many years of my life and inspected more than hundreds of examples belonging from 12th to 19th centuries and saw almost all types belonging to different periods”

Pictures also from Osman

Your statement that fullers were so common that a sword without is an oddity is simply incorrect.
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Old 31st January 2022, 10:24 PM   #21
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Hello all i am Osman and i ve been researching recreating Ottoman or Mamluk swords and Jack showed me the comments here . Now to make things clear

- as i sent Jack by message and as he post here too. We cant categorize kilics accourding to fuller work on them. It will be huge mistake cuz from very early periods there is all type of examples. We divide Ottoman kilics into periods
- Early period end 13th to end 15th century
- Classical period 15th to 18th century
- Late period 18th to 19th century

And every periods has subdivisions this is not our case now totally different topic but wanted to explain this to clarify things cuz until late period there are all type of kilics. With or without fuller high heeled pronounce mahmuz and smooth mahmuz ( hammer ) these specs are not age related. It will be huge mistake to categorize them by age like this cuz our swords made for person not like mass production and taste of owners changes a lot i have tona of examples from different periods with all types. If you want to date the blade mostly go for decorations style of inlay, caligraphy materials used forms of decorations if no decoration form of blade or tang area is best bet to look at. As for Jack's blade it is end 17th Ottoman Blade form is perfectly matching it is no way 15th century i told him that already also sorry but we didnt adopt fuller works from western we had them even in ancient blades too. His blade has koftghari style inlays on it earlier blades doesnt have these type of ornaments they have groove cut inlay type. Inlay can be added later on too but in this case there always leave signs of old inlays cuz erasing them makes steel weaker and most cases they cant go deep on cleaning. So hope this small info gives you hint and you dont argue on a funny case like this

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Old 31st January 2022, 10:56 PM   #22
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As well pointed out, the 'mameluke' style saber, named for its styling influence purportedly from the famed Mamluk warriors in Egypt during the campaigns between England and France 1798-1802, became popular not just with Great Britain, but France and America in the early 19th century.

Its use was not confined to the officers of any particular group of officers, and certainly was available to other sectors including diplomatic and civilian for dress wear.

With this blade obviously being of Eastern origin, and apparently of wootz, the original blade which would typically have had the necessary identifying motif needed to identify its probable use is absent.

Here I would point out that this blade is of a 'style' that is regarded in my view as related to some earlier Ottoman forms as suggested, and more likely in that form used in northern India on tulwars in the 18th century. Interestingly the wootz steel used in many of these kinds of blades come from India.

By the term 'style' of course means that a blade of a type in use in earlier centuries was often traditionally produced in later years as well, as in many of those used in tulwars in India. That British officers in India often desired such blades for their swords very well accompanies the adoption of Indian fashion in uniforms and the weapons worn in many cases.

The depictions of these kinds of blades from the Polish references is well placed as the early Ottoman blades 'of this style' often profoundly influenced the Polish and other Eastern Europeans in their blades.

Shown, an 18th century Indian tulwar, probably Mughal and of northern India.....note the 'yelman'.
In Polish references this feature seems to have different terms which indicate its purpose, to add weight to momentum of cut.
Detail of yelman.

The Ottoman 'pala' which is a shorter, stouter version more curved and yelman more pronounced. These share the same 'pistol grip' of Ottoman 'style' which influenced the mameluke sabers of Europe. This type of hilt was also present on other Ottoman sabers with shamshir type blades, curved with tip radiused to sharp point. The term 'kilic' is a Turkish word collectively referring to 'sword'.


These are simply my observations from my interpretations and research over years, and always welcome any corrections.

As Osman has pointed out, the fullering of blades is by no means 'western' in origin, and early Islamic swords of course had such blade features. In the interpretations of the Revered Zulfiqar sword, it has been suggested the name refers to 'possessor of spines' which may indicate the blade was fullered rather than bifurcated.
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Old 31st January 2022, 11:07 PM   #23
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The bottom is what we could call a “Pala” have one of those as well

As for the Indian manufacture of Turkic style, Osman seems pretty sure it is not.
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Old 31st January 2022, 11:09 PM   #24
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Jim these type of blades are produced in Ottoman in very wide range of time period from early 16th to beginning 18th. As for steel variations they brought steels from different regions as well as they produced their own in Istanbul too there was a dimiskihane ( dimiski is damascus as well as refered to wootz / bulat / polat ) Now here is hint about this blade earlier forms has different types of patterns than later forms. Earlier blades has more P ( phosphorus element ) inside than later forms and later forms had higher carbon content than earlier versions as well as they have high Manganese inside of them too. Which changes patterning a lot in this case as myself i am wootz maker too and witnessing this in my works too i produced smiliar patterns to both lines. As for Indian blades they have totally different way in Egypt back then they dont use indian blades. As in your example photos even visible rissso area in Indian blade are extremely upside down thing with our style cuz we have unified edge all along . This blade is not an Indian one it is purely 17th century Ottoman work
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Old 1st February 2022, 12:54 AM   #25
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Quote:
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The bottom is what we could call a “Pala” have one of those as well

As for the Indian manufacture of Turkic style, Osman seems pretty sure it is not.

I think perhaps I was distracted by the fact that the Mughal dynasty was founded by Babur (1483-1530), of Chagatai Turkic descent. Also the tulwar I showed has a somewhat (?) similar style of blade. The probable provenance of the 'mameluke' saber we are discussing is unlikely without any sort of defining markings or blade inscriptions.
As shown are British sabers with this type of stepped point blade along with an Indian tulwar with this Turkic 'style' blade, used traditionally through the 18th century. The British of course ruled in India until 1947. Many British officers favored Indian blades which were often diplomatically acquired.

Though the blade style is of early 'form' it is certainly not 15th or 16th c. but could be 17th-18th.
The Ottoman kilic shown with pistol grip has similar blade profile as those in India, Mughals often recognized Mughal influences.
The Ottomans had Turkic ancestry just as the Mughals.
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Old 1st February 2022, 03:51 AM   #26
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As I said earlier, these types of mamelukes were not just confined to Lancer officers. Robert Dighton Jnr produced several iliustrations of Hussar and Light Dragoon officers carrying thses swords in the early 1800's. Here is one showing an officer of the 10th Hussars 1805.
Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 1st February 2022, 01:59 PM   #27
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Here, I hope, are some pictures of Lord Lieutenants etc. with their mamelukes.
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Old 1st February 2022, 02:05 PM   #28
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When you consider the history of these lancer regiments, who all spent time in India, it seems an Indian blade is more likely. If it is an Ottoman blade then possibly a diplomatic (civilian) origin becomes more likely.
Regards
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Old 1st February 2022, 02:16 PM   #29
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Hi,
Along a similar vein, a late 17thC early 18thC Indian Tulwar and a mid 19thC Austrian cavalry sword with an earlier, probably 18thC, Austrian made blade in the Ottoman style. Not too difficult to imagine a British Indian Army officer appropriating a similar Tulwar blade for remounting as an instant Mameluke style sabre as per fashion of the time. Equally Austro/Hungarian officers had blades made in the 'Ottoman fashion' and I have seen a few apart from my own pictured here. This Austrian one has evidence of applied gold highlights on the script although now sadly all but gone.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 1st February 2022, 03:10 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O. Baskurt View Post
Jim these type of blades are produced in Ottoman in very wide range of time period from early 16th to beginning 18th. As for steel variations they brought steels from different regions as well as they produced their own in Istanbul too there was a dimiskihane ( dimiski is damascus as well as refered to wootz / bulat / polat ) Now here is hint about this blade earlier forms has different types of patterns than later forms. Earlier blades has more P ( phosphorus element ) inside than later forms and later forms had higher carbon content than earlier versions as well as they have high Manganese inside of them too. Which changes patterning a lot in this case as myself i am wootz maker too and witnessing this in my works too i produced smiliar patterns to both lines. As for Indian blades they have totally different way in Egypt back then they dont use indian blades. As in your example photos even visible rissso area in Indian blade are extremely upside down thing with our style cuz we have unified edge all along . This blade is not an Indian one it is purely 17th century Ottoman work

Well noted, and I am honestly surprised that I managed to overlook a most important factor in Indian tulwar blades, which is the blunt edge of the blade at the root near hilt known as the "Indian ricasso" (Rawson, 1968).

I cannot tell by photos if JT's sword (OP) has this feature or not, but this would be a most telling factor. As noted, an Ottoman blade would not use this feature.

While it remains possible an Ottoman blade could have become situated in Indian context, just as cases of shamshir blades in the same manner as favored by Mughal principalities, it would be more an anomaly.

Note the excellent example shown by Norman in the previous post of this type of 'Turkic' style blade where the 'Indian ricsasso' is clearly seen.
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