Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 16th July 2005, 10:32 PM   #1
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Thumbs up Indo-Persian sword with Wootz blade and parrot hilt

Hello,

My interest in Kopesh/Kopis-like blades got me this nice sword for which I yet have to find a name or any other details on its history - any suggestions/observations most welcome!

Regards,
Kai
Attached Images
   
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th July 2005, 10:35 PM   #2
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Post

Total length is 62.7 cm with 50.4 cm of Wootz/Bulat blade (that's almost 25" and 20") and a cast(?) metal hilt (21.2 cm or 8.3" including the reinforcements) with little silver Koftgari left. The grip scales are bone and have been painted (brownish body with traces of olive/green remaining on the head of the parrot).

The blade has a ricasso (4.6 cm/1.81") and a sharpened false edge (10.0 cm/4"). It has an hardly noticeable, forged central "fuller area" almost along the whole length (i.e. blade slightly thicker along the spine as well as towards the sharpened edges than along the center). Maximum thickness is 3.9 mm (2.5/16") with 3.4 mm (2.1/16") remaining at the base of the false edge. Blade height is 23.2 mm (0.91") at the base, flaring out to 30.9 mm (1.22") around the middle of the blade, and still 26.9 mm (1.06") high at the base of the false edge.

Although it may have originated somewhere else, it was obtained from the Hyderabad region, a hotbed of So(us)sun Patta(h)s. However, the blade of this sword is about 1/3rd shorter than a regular blade of those larger cousins and just about everything else doesn't fit either...

I don't have much experience with Indian arms and would appreciate any pointers or references!

It was said to be late 18th century but please put forth your own estimates...

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th July 2005, 09:24 AM   #3
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Smile BTTT :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I don't have much experience with Indian arms and would appreciate any pointers or references!
Well, I'm not going to answer to myself but should add that this variety isn't mentioned in Pant, Rawson, nor Stone...

None of the many knowledgeable forumites specialising in Indo-Persian blades coming to the rescue? TIA!

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th July 2005, 01:12 PM   #4
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,712
Default

Hi Kai,

Do you know if the blade has a tang?

True what you write that the blade has a bit Kopis/Soussan Patta/Yatagan to it. The blade seems to be rather short, do you think it can have been broken close to the hilt?

You write that you got it from the Hyderabad region. Do you mean Hyderabad in Sind or in Deccan?

Somewhere in one of my books I think I have a picture of a blade like yours, I will have to have a look. The bird on the hilt could be a parrot, but it could also be a hawk or a falcon, it is hard to say, but it is true that they often used a parrot.

Jens
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th July 2005, 02:16 AM   #5
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Thumbs up

Hi Jens, Thanks for your input!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Do you know if the blade has a tang?
No idea. The blade is tightly secured by those 3 rivets. However, I played with the idea to clean up the hilt by electrolytic rust removal and would have to remove the blade for this.


Quote:
The blade seems to be rather short, do you think it can have been broken close to the hilt?
Wouldn't the ricasso suggest an intact blade? IMVHO it would need some major reforging effort to come up with a new ricasso as well as the shape of the blade...

Possibly a boy's blade? I know it's the usual disingenous ad hoc assumption but the grip is also a bit on the small side.


Quote:
You write that you got it from the Hyderabad region. Do you mean Hyderabad in Sind or in Deccan?
Deccan


Quote:
Somewhere in one of my books I think I have a picture of a blade like yours, I will have to have a look.
I would appreciate that very much! Take your time though.


Quote:
The bird on the hilt could be a parrot, but it could also be a hawk or a falcon, it is hard to say, but it is true that they often used a parrot.
I just defaulted on a parrot since that seems to be mentioned much more often than other birds. I'll have a close look again.

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2005, 12:37 PM   #6
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Smile BTTT

Jens, did you come across that pic you remembered from one of your books?
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2005, 01:54 PM   #7
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,712
Default

Hi Kai,

You did think I had forgotten you, didn’t you? Well I have not, but so far I have not seen it, maybe I have seen it somewhere else.
It is however a rather unusual blade, so there will not be many of them around, and as we don’t know what it is called, we will have to wait till a picture appears.
I have looked at the hilt again, and I think I will agree with you that it is a parrot.

Jens
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2005, 11:13 PM   #8
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Talking

Hi Jens,

Thanks for the update! Actually, I was about to send the URL of this thread to a friend of mine and thought it wouldn't hurt to bring it back to the top...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
I have looked at the hilt again, and I think I will agree with you that it is a parrot.
Yup, I think the colors work best for a parrot. A hawk has somewhat smaller eyes and while I couldn't exclude a falcon, the defining feature of a falcon's beak is missing. Thus, a positive identification doesn't seem to be possible but parrot seems to be most plausible to me, too.

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2005, 12:55 PM   #9
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,712
Default

Hi Kai,

Have a look at the auction catalogue showing Dr. Leo S. Figiel’s collection page 64 no. 2058.

The hilt is not the same, and the blade is not quite the same, but close. Unfortunately both Figiel in his book. and the one who wrote the text to the auction catalogue were ‘very’ discreet when it came to mention from where the weapons came.

Jens
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2005, 05:05 PM   #10
carlos
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 707
Default similar blade

Hello Kai!!
5 years ago i bought this sword in Istambul, the seller told me this sword was from Iran. i think this sword have a similar blade than your.
I´m sorry for my english!!.
regards!!
Attached Images
  
carlos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2005, 09:55 PM   #11
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,413
Default

Hello Kai,
I could not resist coming in on this as it recalled some discussions we had on a chopping sword with vague similarities last June. I recall that initially I was inclined to presume NW frontier regions as the knuckleguard etc recalled a variant form of the Khyber knife...but later realized the form was distinctly of southern regions of India.
Actually Pant does illustrate certain items that seem to correspond to the gestalt of this sword (photo CLI, a dragonhead brass hilt that also has the upper blade bolster of type seen on Ottoman yataghans; another plate XI; another with parrot hilt on tulwar from Gujerat ). The dragonhead items are from Tanjore which is of course SE India. Elgood notes on p.197 of his magnificent "Hindu Arms and Ritual" that yellow brass hilts frequently are characteristic of southern, SW India, and illustrates a hilt with dragonhead and knuckleguard similar to those in Pant.
The blade seems to be consistant with Deccani sosun pattah according to Pant (p.80, fig.167) although he notes the Deccani examples seldom had knuckleguards. It would seem these recurved blades that resemble Mughal daggers such as khandjar and bichwa came in a larger swordsword version probably best compared to dirks or shortswords for close quarters combat.
I have an example with short blade such as yours and with guardless hilt and the khanjhar hilt form which is essentially ultrastylized 'parrothead'.

I tend to think this hilt is a parrot head also. While not typically described in discussions of decoration and motif, there are certain possibilities as far as reasons for its appearance on hilt motif although these associations may not have application. According to symbolism references ( J.E.Cirlot, "A Dictionary of Symbols" N.Y.1962), the parrot is a messenger symbol and as many birds, symbolic of the soul. In Persian literature, the parrot seeks the water of immortality ("Conference of the Birds" by 13th c. Persian poet Faid Ud-Din Attar). In Hinduism , the parrot is associated with Kama, the god of love, as well as prophecy and rainmaking.

I must admit through all this 'parrot' research, I cannot resist thoughts of Jimmy Buffitt!!!!

Seriously though, I am inclined to think this sword is likely to be mid to latter 19th c. India, probably Tamil Nadu regions, possibly Mysore also. It is a most interesting and unusual example , very nice!!

Best regards,
Jim


P.S. Carlos, your also very interesting item has also the Mughal type blade and the hilt with very distinct dot and circle motif that is typical of weaponry from various regions in Afghanistan and Bukhara. The Persian influences of course predominated weapons from these regions.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th December 2005, 01:45 PM   #12
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,712
Default

Hi Kai,

There have been quite a lot of onlookers on this thread, but so far, no one has come up with a name – lets hope for the best.
In one of your mails you write that it could be a sword for a child, but is the hilt not too big for the hand of a child?

Hi Jim,

Nice to have you back. I too have a south Indian feeling, but I don’t like, that we so far, have been unable to find a similar blade – other than the one from Figiel’s auction, and that is not exactly like the one Kai shows.

Jens
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th December 2005, 02:21 PM   #13
Andrew
Member
 
Andrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,725
Default

Hi Jim.
Andrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th December 2005, 07:31 PM   #14
Marc
Member
 
Marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Madrid / Barcelona
Posts: 256
Default

Hello, Jim.
Nice to see you.


(BTW, just one of those bits of useless trivia... J. E. Cirlot, was, among other things, an antique weapons lover and collector. Go figure... )
Marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th December 2005, 02:57 AM   #15
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,413
Default

Hi Jens, Andrew, Marc!
Thanks so much guys!!
Marc,
Thats incredible! How in the world did you have that note on Cirlot? It does seem to make sense though, it seems I get more and more obsessed with symbolism trying to make sense of the many unusual markings found on blades so his work seems well placed.

Jens,
This blade definitely is a puzzler. It seems an almost serpentine recurved shape that is very much like a shortsword example I have with the same lazy S shape. It recalls also the curvature on those maddening 'Black Sea' yataghans that have caused such a stir over the years (these of course had more dramatic curve, deep belly for slashing and the needle point suggested as armour piercing). The consensus now, thanks to Ariels discovery, shows that these were from Turkish regions and into Armenia. These have distinct Persian characteristics in the blades, and if I may speculate, the same influences prevailed in Mughal regions, so possibly this blade shape may have entered the same way. We know that Mughal suzerainty extended well into the Deccan so such blades may have been found into regions we have considered in the south via these routes.
Basically this blade type seems a sosun pattah form shortsword which of course appeared in subtle variations. Most of these seem relatively recent innovations of 19th century origin.

The blade on my shortsword has the strengthened iron piercing point similar to those seen on many katars, so seems consistant with the northern blades as is the hilt which is the smooth pistol grip type khanjhar hilt.
I often wonder if these mid size weapons were intended specifically for close quarters melee.

All the best,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th December 2005, 06:45 PM   #16
Marc
Member
 
Marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Madrid / Barcelona
Posts: 256
Default

Jim, you underestimate me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Marc,
Thats incredible! How in the world did you have that note on Cirlot? It does seem to make sense though, it seems I get more and more obsessed with symbolism trying to make sense of the many unusual markings found on blades so his work seems well placed.
Well... maybe because Juan Eduardo Cirlot was Catalan and a more than noteworthy scholar in his time, because among the many things he wrote there were a few articles on weaponry (from the historical and artistic point of view), because his daughter, Victòria Cirlot wrote an excellent (unpublished, which is a real shame) PhD thesis about arms and armour in Catalonia between the 11th and 14th centuries...

He was also somewhat noted for having a nice collection of renaissance European swords...






That's, more or less, "how in the world"...

Last edited by Marc; 8th December 2005 at 07:09 PM.
Marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th December 2005, 01:23 PM   #17
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Thumbs up

Whoa, great revival! Just had to take a short leave from the forum and there we go...

Thanks, folks! I'll follow up on your leads and answer the points raised later.

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2006, 02:37 AM   #18
Emanuel
Member
 
Emanuel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 1,242
Default Another one?

Hello,

This just finished on ebay http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1
It bears very strong similarities to the short sword discussed in this thread. It also seems to have a khyber-knife hilt and delicate niello work.
Emanuel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2006, 02:43 AM   #19
Rick
Member
 
Rick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,974
Cool

I have a sneaking suspicion that this may not be antique .
Interesting nonetheless .
Rick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2006, 05:05 AM   #20
Andrew
Member
 
Andrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,725
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I have a sneaking suspicion that this may not be antique .
Interesting nonetheless .
I agree.
Andrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2006, 07:23 AM   #21
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Default

I missed this one. Thanks for keeping these coming!

Looks like a fantasy piece to me. It does seem very "mint" but could this be an earlier blade specifially made for the western curio market?

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2006, 07:47 AM   #22
Rick
Member
 
Rick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,974
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I missed this one. Thanks for keeping these coming!

Looks like a fantasy piece to me. It does seem very "mint" but could this be an earlier blade specifially made for the western curio market?

Regards,
Kai
Or recently reworked from a plain piece .
My bet is that it is 100% new ; the extreme thickened tip is my clue as it seems consistent with these pieces .

Good night everyone .
Rick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2006, 03:12 PM   #23
Emanuel
Member
 
Emanuel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 1,242
Default

I noticed that about the tip. Lots of the recurved pesh-kabz on ebay these days have the sudden thick tip that doesn't flow with the rest of the blade. Still looks like a lot of work put into it.
Emanuel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2006, 06:42 PM   #24
Titus Pullo
Member
 
Titus Pullo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 123
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Hi Kai,

There have been quite a lot of onlookers on this thread, but so far, no one has come up with a name – lets hope for the best.
In one of your mails you write that it could be a sword for a child, but is the hilt not too big for the hand of a child?

Don't let that short small sword full you, though! The sword is rather compactly built in design, which makes it very sturdy and easier to chop at something; it'll probably hack and pierce right through metal plate armor with shear mass like butter. And because it's shorter, it makes it much easier to fight at closed range, which makes stabbing and cutting much easier, making it a deadly weapon. If you look at the Roman sword for example, it's very compact in design...design to get in there and do some serious hacking and piercing. A sword for kids! Psss!
Titus Pullo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2006, 12:42 AM   #25
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Default

Hello Titus,

Quote:
The sword is rather compactly built in design, which makes it very sturdy and easier to chop at something; it'll probably hack and pierce right through metal plate armor with shear mass like butter.
Actually, it's not that heavy - I'm pretty sure it's more build for fast cuts (and stabs) rather than heavy blows (e.g. a Khukuri blade has much more momentum).


Quote:
And because it's shorter, it makes it much easier to fight at closed range, which makes stabbing and cutting much easier, making it a deadly weapon.
I certainly wouldn't want to face it, especially with no or smaller blade. However, people have to learn using swords and that's where weapons for teenagers came in handy, especially when there was a possibility that blades might have to used for real.

BTW, I'm not insisting that this is the case with my sword just pointing out that it is a valid possibility.


Quote:
If you look at the Roman sword for example, it's very compact in design...design to get in there and do some serious hacking and piercing. A sword for kids! Psss!
Yeah, but it seems that it evolved from fighting in closed military formations where extra reach can't be fully utilized (or rather was provided by pila). OTOH, the Indian sword size convention does strongly favor longer weapons.

(Note that the draw cut with regular Tulwars already supposes a pretty close quarter engagement - from the western sword play POV, that is. It's still possible that shorter swords like this were specialized back-up weapons for warriors with other primary weapons used at longer ranges. However, there seems to be not much evidence surviving for such a hypothesis AFAIK...)

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th July 2016, 02:00 AM   #26
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,710
Exclamation Getting closer...

A quite similar sword got sold by Czerny's for a total of approx. US$2450 earlier this year:
http://www.czernys.com/auctions_lot....ta=57&lang=eng

Note the hilt again displays the parrot motif as well as silver koftgari! Longer with a total length of 76.5 cm. Again no scabbard surviving.

From the pics, I can't make out wether the blade is made of wootz - my piece certainly is (of rather low contrast though).

Any comments/updates by forumites specialising on India?

Any additional pieces surfacing? One more example and we have a rare pattern/type emerging...

Regards,
Kai
Attached Images
 
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th July 2016, 02:54 AM   #27
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 5,106
Default

Folks,
I have a sneaky suspicion that all of those belong to the same pattern as the ones discussed in the next -literally!- thread:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21429
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th July 2016, 08:20 AM   #28
Roland_M
Member
 
Roland_M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Germany
Posts: 520
Default

Not an expert but as far as I know Indians often copied good blades from other nations, for example the Kilij and Shamshir. I think, this could be an Indian interpretation of a Yatagan.

Roland
Roland_M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th July 2016, 08:24 AM   #29
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 4,408
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Folks,
I have a sneaky suspicion that all of those belong to the same pattern as the ones discussed in the next -literally!- thread:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21429

I thought I had been dreaming Ariel;.. Please follow up on what you point out... Surely this is the same family? In my view and as you already point out on the other thread these could fuse as one thread...
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th July 2016, 08:46 AM   #30
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 4,408
Default

I note Czernys call it a rare sabre...I sympathize with their inability to find the exact name...It is so similar to the design of Pesh Kabz...and in fact also on some Persian Kard... In particular the throat design...and so similar to the Yatagan... (I note vague similarities to the decorative throat on Pihae Keata but only faintly similar...) Again I urge fusing the two threads noted earlier.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi; 13th July 2016 at 09:17 AM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi 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 06:09 PM.


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.