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Old 19th October 2010, 02:43 PM   #1
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Default Yataghan Spot the Difference

Here's a rum thing...

Can anyone see the similarities in the decoration on the following yats? Hint: Crudely chiselled identical decoration, anomalous inscriptions and illegible maker's marks on blades attached to widely differing hilts...

The relevant yats are to be found in these threads: (this one being mine)

and, at a pinch, :

So, of all the yataghans in all the world, three/four from what looks to be the same atelier happen to come on the market at the same time, with completely different fittings? Discuss...
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Old 19th October 2010, 05:03 PM   #2
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Well i don't see any great conspiracy if that's what you are implying. All these blades have a very similar traditional pattern to be sure, but they are clearly done by different hands at different times with different degrees of workmanship.
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Old 19th October 2010, 05:18 PM   #3
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I'm with David I see no reason to think there is any conspiracy going on here just some old Yataghans from different makers. Maybe since yataghans are become more popular to collect these days we are just seeing more examples for sale.
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Old 19th October 2010, 06:34 PM   #4
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Browsing Elgood's latest book, plus the Turkish and Croatian yataghan catalogues, it becomes rather apparent that the blades and hilts for yataghans were not often produced in the same shop or even in the same town. In fact, in many cases there were production centers for the blades, and then those blades were shipped to the various parts of the Ottoman Empire, where they were hilted according to local fashion.

To confirm that all these blades are indeed from the same maker, their dating needs to be within a few years and they all have to be marked from the same maker. Just looking at them, you can see that the stamps are different, so I do not believe they are from the same smith.

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Old 23rd October 2010, 01:10 AM   #5
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Well, I'm obviously in a minority of one here. What can I say, it's a gut thing?

Certainly, from having read Elgood myself (though not much else), I would have thought it were luxury trade blades, say wootz inlaid with gold calligraphy, swooping across stylistic boundaries for the handles rather than objectively mediocre provincial work.

While I'm not qualified to assess the blades, the calligraphy on, say, the lower three blades seems, to me, identical. That is, the differences between them are attributible to failure of execution rather than variety of intention. While not an Arabic speaker, from the comments kindly placed on the relevant threads, the inscriptions seem unusually anomalous- illegible, or outside the usual tenor or style. In a distinctly unscientific way, when I look at them, I feel the way I do when I handle Derra-made jezails...

Through the half-remembered ghost of anthropological semi-expertise, I'd have said that a long-running traditional style of decoration would be well-represented in published, well provenanced or pre-20th century collections.

I'm a novice, and utterly prepared to accept that my hunch is wrong. That said, I'd be genuinely keen to see any well-provenanced examples of the above decoration any other collectors here might possess, if only for reassurance. I'm thinking of selling the yat and want to do it in good conscience.

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Old 24th October 2010, 10:06 PM   #6
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Look this book...
and three more examples.
But it could be very interesting to search and publish someone the arm's workshops. The seals,signatures and designs on blades help i think.
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