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Thread: Need Held Identifying a Sword.. had Some Expert Input but Need to know More

  1. #1

    Question Need Held Identifying a Sword.. had Some Expert Input but Need to know More

    The sword has 3 grooves. It feels like it was a killer. It sits in the hand just right, even without the handle.Name:  DSC00770.jpg
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Size:  104.4 KB The measurement for the entire length of sword is 36 inches. It has 4 symbols marked on it. Each symbol is very small, about the size of a pea, except for the symbol that’s on the base of the beginning of the blade. To me, it looks like a half sun. That particular symbol is slightly larger. Others have said it could be a gear. It’s possible that the mark on the handle could be IV (Roman numeral or what?)Name:  DSC0074022sunzoom.jpg
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    Why mark it in 4 different places with 3 variations? One mark actually has perfect little triangles atop a half circle. And one mark is more like a beginning of a line with rays. Why the variations and most importantly, is there a way to ascertain the age?Name:  DSC00746.jpg
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    I found a sword expert online and sent him photos.. his name is Michael McWatters. Here is his response:

    via email..

    Hello Della,
    The symbol on your sword is most often described as an eyelash. These marks are common on swords ranging from Morocco to India, being seen on nimchas (a moroccan type of sword), kukris, tulwars, koras, and a variety of other swords. I've seen comment that they were also seen on swords from Venice and that it was originally a sign of quality, but it could just as easily be an attempt to avoid the 'evil eye.' According to Christopher Spring's book on African weapons, the evil eye could be given by looking upon an object and being jealous of its owner. The curse could be avoided if there was an eye already on the object that was looking back, so putting eyelashes on it could symbolically make the entire sword take the place of an eye. So if showing the sword off to a friend, the person would have the eye watching them when they first look, and therefore avoid the evil eye.

    A brief summary is that the mark is unknown, has been used across north Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent for hundreds of years, and nobody is exactly sure if it's a mark of quality or just a superstitious mark. Your sword looks like it could be from a tulwar or a nimcha or another style of curved sword. It appears to be a well made blade--do you know any of the history of it to narrow down its origin?

    I wish I could tell you more, but this is where I hit a dead end. If it has helped, you can use paypal to this email address to send my fee ($2, as mentioned on my website), or you can send it to my snail address at
    Mike McWatters
    PO Box 640
    Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026

    Happy collecting,


    Very interesting, I wish Mr. McWatters could tell me more. Now I am even more curious. If anyone can help me ID and possibly date this sword, I would appreciate it. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Michigan, USA
    Della. I think Mike has given you as much information as is possible considering that the blade has no hilt, makers marks or scabbard. It is possible that someone may chime in with more info but I doubt it. Good luck.
    "Ancora imparo - Michelangelo Buonarotti"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    L'abbaye de Theleme
    It is an European made export blade, probably early XIXth century. Destination could be at the whole arch from Morocco to India. And also Europe and Caucasus.

    At google images you could see similar examples:

    North Africa Nimcha:

    But I do not think it is from a Nimcha because of the two holes at the grip.

  4. #4
    While I agree that this blade was most likely made for the African/Asian market, it's worth pointing out that the "eyelash" marks also occur on European blades beginning in the 1500s (I think that's the earliest century that they show up...). They are quite common during the 1600s on various European and English sword types.

    On the blade posted by the OP, the reason that it looks like there's 3 variations of the eyelash is because of uneven stamping and uneven wear. The mark that clearly has the triangles atop the arch was the most deeply stamped of the lot. The mark itself seems to be the same in all 3 locations.


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