Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 27th February 2020, 09:04 PM   #1
Anton1
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Sweden
Posts: 4
Default Lohar from Afghanistan

I was wondering if anyone can give me more information about this lohar from Afghanistan. How old do you think it might me?
Attached Images
   
Anton1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th February 2020, 04:12 AM   #2
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 873
Default

Hi Anton

I like this lohar. I think it was made in the early 20th century. However, I see a completely non-typical handle ... It seems to me that the original handle has been replaced ...
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th February 2020, 12:30 PM   #3
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,168
Default

Hi Anton:

Some time back I tried to find out how far back these decorative axes went. Best I could determine they were made mostly in the latter part of the 19th C into the first half of the 20th C, with the folding versions appearing in the early 20th C. Typically, the non-folding variety, like your example, has a wooden handle. Mahratt may well be correct that a wooden handle has been replaced on yours.

Ian.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th February 2020, 04:00 PM   #4
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,710
Default

Here is a picture from Stone, and a quote from his A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armour. In All Countries and in all Times.


LOHAR. A small pick used in place of a sword by the Banochie tribe, a Khyber tribe. Each man makes his own and decorates the handle with inlays of silver and brass. Each individual has his own pattterns which differ from those used by others, though all are similar.

Stone writes in the text to the illustration. 'The handle and the back of the blade are inlaid with silver.

This is interesting, as he points out that the decoration is only at the back of the blade - and not on both sides.
Attached Images
 
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th February 2020, 05:33 PM   #5
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 5,068
Default

I agree with Jens.

Lohar was a custom-made implement and its size, materials and decoration were a one-time-only reflection of its master's wishes at a particular moment.
Folding Lohar was mechanically standard in terms of its mode of folding , but that was the only common feature . A master of solid ( not folding) Lohars had no such limitations and could create anything his imagination and available materials dictated.
Also, since we have no idea what Lohar was for ( ice-pick? sugar-"head" pick? sickle? a fighting implement similar to the previously discussed allegedly anti-cavalry giant Spanish one? a multifunction one? ) it is impossible to guess the particulars of its construction.
I tend to think that the presented example is likely to be fully genuine.

As to the age, Afghani weapons, especially from the Khyber area, were rarely dated. I have seen ch'huras dated mid-second half of 20th century, but the greatest majority can be any time from 19th ( or even earlier) to modern. I am aware of 19th century ch'huras in old collections, but have yet to encounter a genuinely old dated Lohar, but ....hope springs eternal :-)

Last edited by ariel; 28th February 2020 at 05:48 PM.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th February 2020, 11:48 AM   #6
mahratt
Member
 
mahratt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 873
Default

Afghans (of Tajik origin) called the above-described lohar as daas (داس) and identified as an agricultural implement (information from modern Afghans). Apparently "daas" is a distorted Tajik word "dos". This word is related to agricultural implements. Sickle was a harvesting tool for the Uzbeks called "urok" or "urak" by the Uzbeks, the Tajiks called it "dos" and "dost". Such sickles are widely spread in Central Asia and described by many researchers and in its different parts . For example a similar sickle existed on the territory of present day Kyrgyzstan called orok .
Afghanistan was not ignored. "Trade tools used by the Afghans are of types widespread in the Western and Central Asia, and Northern India ... The Afghans called sickle as a lor" . The most interesting for us is that all of the abovementioned sickles differ from each other by names, their appearance and materials used for manufacturing are almost identical. And they are much alike to a considered lohar. A curved iron blade with internal sharpening merging into a narrow iron sickle pin where wooden handle is mounted underneath, circular in section . We believe that «lohar» described by Stone is an ordinary sickle traditionally used by the Afghans; they called it lor (Drawing of the sickle used by the people of Afghanistan.) On a related note it is possible that the term «lohar» arisen due to the fact that the word "lor" standing for sickle, was heard and wrote incorrectly and reached Stone in a distorted form.
Sickles being similar in shape often differ in size: "According to the purpose the Tajiks of Afghanistan subdivided sickles into sickles to harvest various herbage "dos and kadrav", sickle to harvest bread crops "dos and gandumdaravi", sickle to cut trees branches ... " . An important point is a small size of sickle blade in XIX- early XX century (10-15 cm) related to high cost of iron . Not least important is that the sickle for the Central Asian people is not only an agricultural tool but also a sacred object used in various ceremonies.
For example when the first stripping from cowshed they put sickle or ax, in case of no sickle, under the doorstep so that the animals' "souls were stronger than iron" . During one of the rites Boboi Dekhon (patron of agriculture) called for the blessing of the spirit-patron into the new farmer and passed sickle over to the boy's hands . Dance with sickles is also known reproducing harvest process that was performed by men solely and exclusively and dance of "Stork" performed by women and also associated with the fertility cult . A sickle was used to cut the cord of newborn in some areas . Sickle was considered a reliable protection from evil spirits .
In a similar way to the abovementioned sickles we believe that the lohars initially described by Stone were used as sickles to harvest. Large samples were the sickles. Occurring of richly decorated small samples with a hilt made of bone, unsuitable for its primary function - cutting of stems, most likely due to the fact that these objects were used during various ceremonies in the families. And they acted as dwelling decoration in the daily time. This besides explains why they are decorated with only one hand and on the other hand they are smooth.
Were lohars used as weapons? Absolutely they were. There are a number of evidences for it. For example there was a proverb among locals in the valley of Bannu: "A sickle is an Afghan knife for a real man" ,where a sickle was directly associated with a knife. It appears that sickles were not only a criminal weapon ,but also a weapon of intra-tribal fights when solving domestic conflicts, Bellew writes about (Bellew H. W. Journal of a Political Mission to Afghanistan is an account of a mission undertaken by Henry Burnett Lumsden, a British officer in the Indian army, to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1857, London, Smith, Elder and co., 1862; Currie F. The Indian Criminal Codes, London, 1872) ,it was used in the battles between the tribes as well (men of the Talla and the Wazirs) when a sickle was used as well as bladed weapon (sword) .


More information can be found in my book: "Edged Weapons of Afghanistan": http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=25281
Attached Images
 
mahratt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st March 2020, 11:04 AM   #7
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,168
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
... Stone writes in the text to the illustration. 'The handle and the back of the blade are inlaid with silver.

This is interesting, as he points out that the decoration is only at the back of the blade - and not on both sides.
Jens, if you look at all the other examples posted here, the orientation of the Stone example is reversed. One possibility is that the Stone picture has been transposed, another is that the Stone example is a left-handed version of this weapon/tool. In each of the other examples, the decoration is on the front of the blade, so I think it is more likely that the Stone picture is indeed a left-handed version.


Ian.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st March 2020, 11:34 AM   #8
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 5,068
Default

Can we guess the dominant function of a Lohar by the configuration of its edge/tip?

Most of the examples shown here are hawkbills ( talons) with somewhat concave edge. That would imply their function as mainly cutting implements ( sickles, for example ). The last two folders shown by Ian have clip points, more suitable for precise breaking up, chipping at or picking at something hard, such as ice ( in a way, a zagnol-type ).
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 12:47 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, 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.