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Thread: Indigenous or unique weapons of northern Pakistan?

  1. #1
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    Question Indigenous or unique weapons of northern Pakistan?

    Some acquaintances of mine have recently invited me to visit them in the northern territories of Pakistan, around Gilgit. I was wondering if there are any distinctly local types of swords and knives I could look for if I can travel there. An internet search didn't turn up any useful information, so I decided to ask the experts.

    I would expect to see a wide variety of blades, from tulwar to jian to Ottoman, given the proximity to India and China and the Islamic history of the region.

    I mainly wondered if there were any regional specialties that would be uniquely Pakistani in descent.

    Thanks in advance.

    Jim
    "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
    Leonardo da Vinci

    "A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to Him."
    Louis Pasteur

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim frank View Post
    Some acquaintances of mine have recently invited me to visit them in the northern territories of Pakistan, around Gilgit. I was wondering if there are any distinctly local types of swords and knives I could look for if I can travel there. An internet search didn't turn up any useful information, so I decided to ask the experts.

    I would expect to see a wide variety of blades, from tulwar to jian to Ottoman, given the proximity to India and China and the Islamic history of the region.

    I mainly wondered if there were any regional specialties that would be uniquely Pakistani in descent.

    Thanks in advance.

    Jim
    Jim

    You raise up a very interesting question. This area needs a lot of research indeed. But the usage of different types weapons similar to Indian and Afghan weapons make sense to me. They are also smiths who forge blades in today's Pakistan. I am sure doing a field research would help us a lot.

    KInd regards

    Manouchehr

  3. #3
    Pakistan is a rather modern construct encompassing some rather distinct regions. While there are many such distinctions, it seems that by the time that Islam was firmly established, so were the weapons of the neighboring areas in which Islam had been earlier adopted. Prior to that time, Gilgit, Hunza and Baltistan had been more within the Tibetan sphere of influence--so to find a truly aboriginal culture or weaponry, one has to go beyond even that (so-called "Dardic" weapons, anyone?). It seems that by the late 17th century even Ladakh and Western Tibet were taking in Indo-Persian weapons and armor as the consequence of conflicts and probably trade.

  4. #4
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    Hmm. I found one reference to bronze weapons that might be what I am thinking of. I was also thinking that there might be variations of extant weapons that could be identified uniquely with the northern reaches of Pakistan. For example, a tulwar with a hilt style that comes mainly from this area, or a kukri design with some feature that is rarely seen elsewhere.

    I suppose this is all too theoretical, and I will have to ask my friends to look around and take pictures of anything that might be in local museums or collections.

    Bronze Axes from the Karakoram. Results of the 1958 Expedition in Azad Kashmir
    Karl Jettmar
    Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 105, No. 1 (Feb. 28, 1961), pp. 98-104
    Unfortunately, I only have access to the cover page of this article, since I am not a JSTOR member library.
    Last edited by jim frank; 02-23-2007 at 11:53 AM.
    "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
    Leonardo da Vinci

    "A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to Him."
    Louis Pasteur

  5. #5
    bronxe axes are not uncommon in İslamic weaponary. Some very well decorated bronze "teber"s can be found in Ottoman treasure. They were ceremonial weapon of palace guardians "Zülüflü Baltacılar" (their name can be translated as "Axmen with Sidelockes" referancing to their unique hairstyle and weapons) bronze axe was also primary weapon of wandering warrior dervishes. I wonder if these bronze axes are somehow related to this wandering dervish tradition?

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