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Thread: 'Khyber'-esque knife

  1. #1
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    'Khyber'-esque knife

    Hello All,

    Recently acquired, this knife has me a bit stumped. 14 1/2" overall, 10 1/4" blade. The curved, fullered blade completely lacks the pronounced T-spine. Its very lively, finely constructed and well fitted (hilt is jade). After searching around and hitting the usual references, there does not appear to be a similar piece identified as a type. Any thoughts??

    Mark ~
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  2. #2
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    I have seen non-T-spined knives like this labelled as pesh-kabz, and some not-quite-straight knives, including non-T-spined ones, labelled as kard. I don't know if these are correct classifications. If it was non-Afghan/Persian Central Asian (e.g., Uzbek) or Ottoman, it could be a bichaq/bichak/pichok. A rather generic and diverse group.

    I've seen pichok with blades of this shape, but none quite this large. Nor jade.
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  3. #3
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    The hilt shape is very "Afghan" from the bulster to butt, the blade is shape is a bit differant.

    Kurd or Kurtch simply means 'knife' in Pashto

  4. #4
    I'd call it a pesh-kabz. The hardstone hilt is probobly serpentine (they can be Nephrite, Jadeite). It's Indian. They are often very good quality.
    Here's a more obviously shaped one that I own, but ones like yours are also fairly commonly seen.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input guys! Gene, I suspected North Indian, but was reluctant to classify it as a pesh. Hilt material was IDd as jade by a lapidary here in town, but he's a bit up there in age and may not be seeing things quite right these days so a second opinion is certainly in order.

    Mark ~
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    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McMorrow View Post
    Thanks for the input guys! Gene, I suspected North Indian, but was reluctant to classify it as a pesh. Hilt material was IDd as jade by a lapidary here in town, but he's a bit up there in age and may not be seeing things quite right these days so a second opinion is certainly in order.

    Mark ~
    Welcome mate. I always thought mine was Nephrite, but it seems that Serpentine is more likely.
    If you search Serpentine-bowenite you'll see similar stone.
    Apparently Jade is ridiculously hard, so if you try to scratch it in an inconspicuous place with a sharp steel point, the results should be a good indication of if it's Jade or not.
    Jade will not scratch, you might get a faint silver line like a pencil line where the steel wears on the harder stone.

    As for dating these. I've seen the ones with the 'straighter' blades described as having been made for sale to European travelers of the late 19th/early 20th century.

    I would expect that the blade is monosteel (as is mine) but they are absolutely cracking quality.

    I personally think that the bigger ones are generally better quality (like yours). They can be 'fruit knife' sized, often with greenstone and shell mix hilts. (I think those are slightly later)
    Overall I'd say yours is desirable, probobly turn of the 20thC.
    Last edited by Gene Wilkinson; 02-21-2011 at 01:11 PM.

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