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Old 23rd October 2006, 02:17 PM   #1
Ian
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Default Old Argentinian facon ...

Don't see the real deal very often. This appears to be a 19th C. Argentinian facon. Just finished on eBay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=170038527686

The attached old picture (published 1890-1924, Carpenter Collection) shows a staged duel between two gauchos using similar long-bladed facon.

Ian.
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Last edited by Ian; 23rd October 2006 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 24th October 2006, 01:14 AM   #2
Hrthuma ibn Marwan
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how interesting really
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Old 24th October 2006, 04:50 AM   #3
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Ian

It looks like an interesting dagger late 19th century I would say.


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Old 24th October 2006, 05:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUIEBLADES
Ian

It looks like an interesting dagger late 19th century I would say.

Lew
Hi Lew:

Yes, I would think around 1900 give or take a decade or two. There are a couple of books on the Argentinian facón by Abel Domenech, one called Del Facón al Bowie and another called Dagas de Plata. Many facón were cut down swords or bayonets.

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Old 24th October 2006, 12:34 PM   #5
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Hi Ian,

That is not a facon, at least in the nowadays regionally and commonly accepted sense of the word (facon simply means large knife). It looks like some mid to late 19th century Euro dagger, of probably military provenace. What these days is called a facon is some kind of cut down sword or bayonet blade mounted with a locally made hilt, usually in silver. See Dagas de Plata. The South Americans could not make blades, but had the means to fashion handcrafted hilts, almost always from silver sheet.

Cheers
Chris

Last edited by Chris Evans; 24th October 2006 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 24th October 2006, 04:19 PM   #6
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In the picture below, the two on the top, I believe, would be facónes while the two on the bottom are cuchillas or gaucho knives. The blade on the top facón appears to have been purpose made, while that on the next lower knife appears to be a cut-down sword blade. I am told that the presence of a guard of some sort is required to term a particular example a facón.
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Old 24th October 2006, 04:30 PM   #7
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Hi Lee,

Spot on.

A very small correction. Cuchillo is in the masculine gender and is used to describe narrow bladed knives, whereas cuchilla, in the feminine gender, is used for broader blades.

If a cuchillo has a sharp or dull false edge then it may be called a puñal (poniard)

Cheers
Chris
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Old 24th October 2006, 04:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
Hi Ian,

That is not a facon, at least in the nowadays regionally and commonly accepted sense of the word (facon simply means large knife). It looks like some mid to late 19th century Euro dagger, of probably military provenace. What these days is called a facon is some kind of cut down sword or bayonet blade mounted with a locally made hilt, usually in silver. See Dagas de Plata. The South Americans could not make blades, but had the means to fashion handcrafted hilts, almost always from silver sheet.

Cheers
Chris
Thanks Chris. You could be right. However, this knife was sold out of Buenos Aries as an antique knife (which it appears to be), and it has the characteristics that I associate with a facón: long blade, guard, leather sheath with a seam running down the front. Agree, that the brass hilt is atypical but not unheard of on South American knives. Could be a military blade. But I'll bet an old gaucho would have loved it and called it his facón if he had gotten his hands on it.

This knife is certainly a weapon, although it could be used for any purpose needing a sharp edge. And the gauchos used their facónes for just about any chore they could be used.

Cheers,

Ian.
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Old 24th October 2006, 05:09 PM   #9
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Lee:

Great old knives. Thanks for posting them.

I wonder whether the top one in your picture might be a Brazilian faca da ponta -- I understand they often did not have a guard, and it does resemble some of the plated examples that are seen quite commonly. Perhaps Chris could explain the difference between the facón and faca (besides one word being Spanish and the other Portuguese).

I recently picked up a couple of faca from a seller in Portugal and will post pictures when they arrive. Both appear to be 19th C. One has clearly been cut down from a longer blade.

They are here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=290033335500

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=290033333008

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Old 24th October 2006, 05:19 PM   #10
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Hi Ian,

I chose my words carefully when I said that "That is not a facon, at least in the nowadays regionally and commonly accepted sense of the word"

Facon simply means a large knife and all kinds of large and small knives found their way into the hands of Gauchos. Those silver hilted and ornate knives that these days are associated with them are very much a mid to late 19th century phenomena. As well, only the wealthy could afford them - Station owners, their overseers and the like.

As you can see it is not possible to say exactly what is a facon, especially what was a facon in the old days. According to some, any knife tucked into the belt of a Gaucho is a facon. However, authorities like Domenech and the late Osornio did make an attempt to standardize the terminology, though Domenech acknowledges that there is always something or another that escapes his definitions. If you care to, you may wish to drop a line to Abel Domenech and find out first hand. He speaks fluent English and has a website (down as I write this, but do a Google later)

Be all that as it may, it is certainly a very handsome piece.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 24th October 2006, 05:27 PM   #11
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Default Good suggestion ...

Thanks Chris. I will drop the honorable gentleman a note after I get the knife.

Ian.
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Old 24th October 2006, 05:39 PM   #12
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Default Guard

It was pointed out that the top one does not have a guard. I presume that would mean that the top knife is more likely to be ceremonial than as a knife used for fighting or dueling. Especially as it was purpose made. A decent "purpose made" fighting dagger would have a guard I presume (like the Bowie). Surely if "you" didn't have a guard but were going up against someone with a similar knife but with a guard then this would place "you" at a disadvantage.
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Old 24th October 2006, 05:42 PM   #13
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Here is a dagger that I have had for a while now but was never quite sure where it was from. At first I thought it was from the Philippines but I'm really not sure anymore. Maybe the experts can say for sure. It is approximently 17 and 1/4" long total. 12-3/4" blade and a 4-3/4" Hilt. It is flat on one side and tapered on the other. It has a crosswork design on the Blades taper side.The Hilt and pommel are Brass and wood in an octagon configuration with some design work on the guard. It has a sheepskin or goatskin sewn sheath which has shrunk with age but it still fits on the blade.
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Old 24th October 2006, 05:47 PM   #14
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Hi Ian,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian

I wonder whether the top one in your picture might be a Brazilian faca da ponta -- I understand they often did not have a guard, and it does resemble some of the plated examples that are seen quite commonly. Perhaps Chris could explain the difference between the facón and faca (besides one word being Spanish and the other Portuguese).

.

I do not speak Portuguese, but faca simply means knife and the Spanish adopted this term in some parts of their country. Perhaps Fernando can correct me here. Not used much these days isn Spain and the Spanish version of e-bay will not recognize the word facon.

In Spanish if we attach "on" onto another word then it denotes a greater than normal size. So for example "navaja" is changed to "navajon", then it means that we are dealing with a large navaja. Same with faca and facon.


Hope this helps
Chris
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Old 24th October 2006, 06:01 PM   #15
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Hi Robert:

That one looks fairly typical of a Philippine daga -- the octagonal shaped hiilt is a common finding on knives from parts of Luzon and from areas in the Visayas. Does the tang pass all the way through the hilt? If so, it will be from Luzon.

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Old 24th October 2006, 06:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
A very small correction. Cuchillo is in the masculine gender and is used to describe narrow bladed knives, whereas cuchilla, in the feminine gender, is used for broader blades.
Thank you Chris, I will note this for the future. I have also ordered Abel Domenech's “Dagas de plata.”

Quote:
It was pointed out that the top one does not have a guard.
Actually, there is a guard, it is just small and not well seen in the picture.
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Old 24th October 2006, 07:06 PM   #17
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Hi Ian,
Thanks for the confirmation on its origin. I've had two different people look at it and they both called it a facón and that is why I started to wonder if it was Philippine or not. To answer your question, yes the tang does go through the hilt. Thanks again.

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Old 24th October 2006, 09:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
Hi Ian,
I do not speak Portuguese, but faca simply means knife and the Spanish adopted this term in some parts of their country. Perhaps Fernando can correct me here. Not used much these days isn Spain and the Spanish version of e-bay will not recognize the word facon.
In Spanish if we attach "on" onto another word then it denotes a greater than normal size. So for example "navaja" is changed to "navajon", then it means that we are dealing with a large navaja. Same with faca and facon.
Hope this helps
Chris
Hi Chris,
Both faca and cuchillo were available in either Castillian and Portuguese, only that Spaniards basically use cuchillo, whereas Portuguese stayed with faca. Currently speacking, cuchillo in Spain and faca in Portugal, are the basic terms that cover the current kitchen, table and other non weapon knives and cutting utilities. Swaping of these terms, or their word derivations, or even the right context, determine the conotation or atribution of weapon .
Castillian facon, same as Portuguese facão both mean bigger sized facas, but such terms are more to sugest the weapon idea, rather than their dimension. Or if a Portuguese ( not so recently ) says someone has a cuchilho, he is referring to a concealed weapon. Again this is the generic situation, not having to relate to any sort of specific tipology.
Kind regards
fernando
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Old 24th October 2006, 09:32 PM   #19
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Thanks to Chris and Fernando for their explanations.

Ian.
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Old 25th October 2006, 08:06 AM   #20
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Hi Fernando,

Many thanks for that explanation.

Domenech is of the opinion that the word facon came into usage when Brazilian gauchos came into contact with those of what nowadays is Uruguay, who were armed with very large knives and referred to these as facao, pronounced as facaun and the Gauchos Hispanizied it to facon.

Cheers
Chris

Last edited by Chris Evans; 25th October 2006 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 25th October 2006, 02:27 PM   #21
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The sword in the first post looks like it may be one of a wide variety of musician's sidearms, dress bayonets, or walking out swords, that were popular during the 19th century. These were used widely, by many nations, in a wide variety of forms - the same manufacturers would often contract to mix and match parts to fill customer orders. The blade on this looks very similar to the one used by the Italian Piedmont short sword of 1848, but it could just as easily been made for a private society during the late 19th or early 20th century.

n2s
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Old 25th October 2006, 10:13 PM   #22
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Hi Chris,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
Hi Fernando,

Many thanks for that explanation.

Domenech is of the opinion that the word facon came into usage when Brazilian gauchos came into contact with those of what nowadays is Uruguay, who were armed with very large knives and referred to these as facao, pronounced as facaun and the Gauchos Hispanizied it to facon.
Cheers
Chris
So it all fits.
BTW the sound is more like facaum.
Regards
fernando
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