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Old 23rd June 2022, 09:14 AM   #1
Sakalord364
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Default Wootz shamshir blade for identification

Here is a shamshir I had acquired from one of my visits to Afghanistan long ago- itís in terrible condition but has a very nice wootz blade, with a cartouche. I was wondering if it can be traced to a particular smith from the cartouche?
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Old 23rd June 2022, 04:20 PM   #2
GePi
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A nice piece, condition notwithstanding.

The cartouche reads amal-e assadullah esfahani, which does not tell us much because the majority of signed Persian Shamshirs and Imitations thereof bear the name of this semimythical smith from Isfahan.
This to me looks like a genuine high quality 18th or early 19th century Persian example. Especially the chiseled scabbard fittings are very nice, although the swiveling carrying rings are odd, usually those are fixed and often decorated with file and piercing work, a replacement perhaps? Does the blade actually fit the scabbard by the way? The hilt seems to be plain and high quality examples usually have hilt and scabbard fitting decorated in a similar manner.

Marks like the polished-in cross at the forte are occasionally found on later Afghan swords (see these examples I have posted here http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ghlight=afghan) and that was surely applied at a later date.

Last edited by GePi; 23rd June 2022 at 04:31 PM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 23rd June 2022, 07:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GePi View Post
A nice piece, condition notwithstanding.

The cartouche reads amal-e assadullah esfahani, which does not tell us much because the majority of signed Persian Shamshirs and Imitations thereof bear the name of this semimythical smith from Isfahan.
This to me looks like a genuine high quality 18th or early 19th century Persian example. Especially the chiseled scabbard fittings are very nice, although the swiveling carrying rings are odd, usually those are fixed and often decorated with file and piercing work, a replacement perhaps? Does the blade actually fit the scabbard by the way? The hilt seems to be plain and high quality examples usually have hilt and scabbard fitting decorated in a similar manner.

Marks like the polished-in cross at the forte are occasionally found on later Afghan swords (see these examples I have posted here http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ghlight=afghan) and that was surely applied at a later date.

My guess is this is a Persian blade that was given a new hilt and scabbard in Afghanistan. The hilt is probably plain because it was intended to be used in heavy combat, and it probably was, since one of the cross guards are snapped off, and the chape on the scabbard itself is missing and appears to have snapped off as well. I also see small nicks on the cutting edge, possibly a result of repeated sharpening?
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Old 24th June 2022, 01:27 PM   #4
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Looks like a very nice sword. The mounts on the scabbard looks to be top quality, they by them self would be colletible. The blade looks to be in good condition and mad of fine wootz. The grip and crossguard look plain for such a fancy scabbard, but maybe they where once fancy to.
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Old 24th June 2022, 07:24 PM   #5
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Usually, scabbard mounts with suspension rings belong together with crossguards. Here, I think, the scabbard might be from another sword. Thus, the posted sword as such and the scabbard may have to be viewed separately.

The sword looks like a classical Persian shamshir ~18 to early 19 century judging by wootz pattern. I see nothing that would hint at Afghani or Indian origin.Canít see whether the grip is ivory or bone, but that would not help anyway: even the museum grade shamshirs had a whole gamut of grip materiels. Walrus was the richest one, but any other materiel does not indicate that the grip plates were replaced or the wealth of the owner: just his taste and preference.

The same for the scabbard. Embossed leather and gold koftgari on the mounts also are quite typical for Persian work ( again: not an ensemble with the sword itself!). Its a pity the chape is lost: it might have provided additional and important clues.

It might be important to see the sword drawn into the scabbard: the blade seems to look too long for the scabbard and the compatibility of curvatures needs to be verified.

Also, any mechanical defects ( broken off quillon, nicks on the edge, lost chape, broken off scabbard tip etc) cannot serve as evidences of battlefied damage: far too often they are the results of poor storage and misuse. Lost locket and segments of lost leather covering are always suspicious for that.

Overall, this is a very nice shamshir, but the scabbard, IMHO, is suspect.
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