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Old 7th May 2022, 10:32 PM   #1
werecow
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Default T-section yataghan with 1807 date. Origins?

I bought this simple yataghan with a T-section blade about a year ago. 76cm long. It was in neglected state. The grip was so dried out that I could feel it denting and cracking in my hand and dust kept falling out. I soaked it in neatsfoot oil and it made a remarkable recovery. Now it feels completely solid and no more dust! Neatsfoot oil is magic! }|:oD

There are some markings on the blade but they are worn and hard to make out. I sent pictures to a friend of mine who can read a bit of Arabic but he did not give me an answer.

Fast forward a year. Yesterday I was sitting in the yard leafing through the little Royal Armories book on Islamic Arms and Armour and I saw the page on Hijra dates shown in the attached picture nr 2. I realized I had been trying to read it upside down, and it wasn't a name but a date! 1222 Hijra which I think is 1807 Gregorian. A little older than I had thought (I had guessed mid-to-late 1800s). Neat!

So now that I have a when I'd love a more precise where or perhaps a who. There is a cartouche on the other side that I still can't read though (pictures 3 & 5; no idea which side is up but if it's the same as the date it's upside down in nr 3), and I don't really recognize the rather simple style of the decorations on the bolster, so I was wondering what the region of origin might be. The top of the bolster is missing; maybe it's a later replacement? I think I'm seeing signs of a scarf(?) weld there (last picture).

I know some Zeibek yataghans have T-section blades, but this one seems to have a different style of grip. It could be that it once had the characteristic long ears as parts of the remaining ears have clearly flaked off, but if so they are gone now.
I tried a light etchant on part of the blade but there are no signs of pattern welding, although it may be laminated.

FWIW, I found one online somewhere at one point that had a vaguely similar style that was listed as Bulgarian.
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Old 7th May 2022, 10:40 PM   #2
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Here are some pictures of the one listed as Bulgarian that I mentioned. The shape of the grip is a bit different (wider, mostly), but the decorations show some similarities. It does not appear to have a T-section blade.
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Old 20th May 2022, 05:31 PM   #3
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The inscription in the cartouche contains the name 'Ali
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Old 21st May 2022, 01:45 PM   #4
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Interesting, thanks!
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Old 23rd May 2022, 09:19 PM   #5
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I am not aware of any traits on a yataghan that would make it specifically Bulgarian. This yataghan may be from the Eastern Balkans or it may be from Turkey. The bolster appears to be a recent replacement.
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Old 24th May 2022, 11:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
I am not aware of any traits on a yataghan that would make it specifically Bulgarian. This yataghan may be from the Eastern Balkans or it may be from Turkey. The bolster appears to be a recent replacement.
Thanks for your insight. I don't know how recent the bolster is (it does have some age to it), but it's a bit crude and I haven't seen others with the same style of decoration, and it's missing the spine/top part, so you're probably right.

So Ali, 1222, Eastern Balkans or Turkey. That answers the who and the where! }|:o)
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