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Thread: Shamshir

  1. #1

    Shamshir

    I found this Shamshir in a local estate. Any information would be appreciated.
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  2. #2
    hilt
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  3. #3
    blade markings
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  4. #4
    overall
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  5. #5
    its hilt form suggests that it is an arabic saif. but blade is a more curved than a usual saif. it has no yelman and geometry of the tip of the blade seems different than a usual shamshir. I doubt that it is persian or turkish; although it is too curved I think you should consider arabic continent as this blade's origin. maybe a modern example which differs from classical form.

    I can not read the inscriptions but I noticed that the quality of calligraphy and ornamentation technique is very poor.
    "The relationship between West(Occident) and East(Orient) is indeed an example of a relationship of power and domination. Orientalism is thus a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between the Orient and the Occident. It is a Western style of dominating, restructuring and building hegemony over the Orient.İt is an accepted grid for filtering through the Orient into Western consciousness, into the general culture."
    From "Orientalism" by Edward Said

  6. #6
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    If I hadn't seen the hilt I would have guessed that blade came from a tulwar. It has a hatchet point that you certainly don't see often on a saif...
    Horse perpetually struggled to outreach the wind, to outrun space itself. Other animals ran only when they had a reason, but the Horse would run for no reason whatever, as if to run out of his own skin.
    ~Rabindranath Tagore

    Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.
    ~Molavi (Rumi)

  7. #7
    Could it be a European blade? The blade certainly has the military saber kinda look to it.

    Remounted and sold as a tourist piece?

    Or just a modern piece not applying to a particular form.

    The handle isn't typical of shamshir, same with the blade.

    Maybe a franken-sword?

    I've gotta say, it's not exactly an unattractive sword, whatever it is...

    Tell me what I said wrong,

    -Ethan
    Last edited by Ethan P.; 10-20-2007 at 10:08 PM. Reason: Didn't want to give the wrong idea...

  8. #8
    Yes, a classic saif hilt, with what it seem like an european blade, tough the fuller is too low. Not necesarily a tourist piece, but an old rehilt from a european sabre blade. It was very common.

    Gonzalo

  9. #9
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    Funny you should say that, after I saw it I searched through tons of model 1796 saber pictures because the hatchet point reminded me of it...I don't think it actually is a 1796, but "rehilted European blade" was one of my first impressions as well. Sounds like perhaps it should be posted in the saber forum for the blade, since we've already established the hilt as distinctly Arab!
    Horse perpetually struggled to outreach the wind, to outrun space itself. Other animals ran only when they had a reason, but the Horse would run for no reason whatever, as if to run out of his own skin.
    ~Rabindranath Tagore

    Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.
    ~Molavi (Rumi)

  10. #10
    Yes, and english & german were the most common used, and a french blade can´t be discarded. But you must take on account that some "european" blades were not in fact european, like many blades from Poland´s sabres(even if they are made in european style), as they were made in the orient, many of them by armenians. It was not unlikely for one of those blades to make a trip to the arab part of the Turkish Empire. Or maybe it can be a blade taken from a sabre of one of the european armies fighting in Nort Africa.

    As far as I know, those distinctive types of saif´s hilts are not studied according to country of origin, and maybe this is a very difficult task nowadays, but it should exist very characteristic kinds of arab hilts, according with the places they were made.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Gentlemen,

    Thank you very much for your input. Please note that this is an Arab seif, a very good example mounted with a Persian blade. These blades are called trade blade (although we need to do more reserach in Persian sources on this).

    For a similar example see the attached pictures and the following link:

    http://www.oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=755
    This is the description provided:

    Courtesy of Oriental Arms
    "A very fine Shamshir from Syria. The blade is Persian, 18th Century, forged from top quality wootz (Damascus, watered steel). It is chiseled with Arabic inscription and marked and signed with the maker sign decorated with gold koftgari. It is 31 inches long, curved and single edged, with a 9 inches false edge. It is most probably Persian made in the Ottoman Kilij style. The cross guard is steel also in gold koftgari decoration, in the shape found on classical Persian shamshirs. The �Syrian� attribution comes mainly from the shape of the hilt and the fitting decoration. The grips are horn inlaid with brass and lead dots and decorated with brass nails. The cross guard is secured to the grips with a twisted copper wire. The pommel is brass and it is sharply down curving (very typical Arab style). Wood scabbard covered with the original black leather stitched with spirals of brass wire (the correct and difficult to do manner). All scabbard fittings and cross guard are decorated with silver Koftgary. Excellent condition. Minor darkened spots on the blade and some of the scabbard fittings koftgari is worn."


    Please note that shamshir means sword in Persian and it does not refer to the curve of the blade. You can use it to refer to the straight blades as well. The origin comes from Pahlavi language (Middle Persian). As I have shown examples with provenanace from Military Museums of Iran in my book, there are also Persian blades with wide blade. Not all of them have slender blade.
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  12. #12
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    On the obverse side of your blade like other ones it reads:

    Masha allah La hol Walla ghowat ella bi Allah al Ali al Athim (There is no power mightier than the power of God)

    On the obverse side and the chiseled image of a lion and Ya Qathi al-hajat (Oh the Fulfiller of wishes).

  13. #13
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    Don

    You have a very good Arab seif. Could you please post a close-up of the blade?

    Kind regards
    Manouchehr

  14. #14
    That explains why the fuller begins very low! Not an european blade. Very interesting piece, indeed! Thank you Monouchehr.

    Gonzalo

  15. #15
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    Yes, thank you! I'm learning new things every day here! Ironic, I never would have guessed Persian because of the hatchet point but it goes to show every culture has an amazing diversity of blades and no one fits comfortably into the molds we may try to put them in.
    Last edited by Shayan Q.; 10-21-2007 at 08:45 AM. Reason: typo
    Horse perpetually struggled to outreach the wind, to outrun space itself. Other animals ran only when they had a reason, but the Horse would run for no reason whatever, as if to run out of his own skin.
    ~Rabindranath Tagore

    Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.
    ~Molavi (Rumi)

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Manouchehr M. View Post
    Don

    You have a very good Arab seif. Could you please post a close-up of the blade?

    Kind regards
    Manouchehr
    Thank you for the information. I will post additional pictures shortly.

  17. #17
    More blade pictures
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  18. #18
    more
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  19. #19
    groves in blade
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  20. #20
    last one
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  21. #21

    Saif

    Hilt looks to be that of a Saif, the Arabic word for sword. From the photo's of the blade cannot tell how old it is. The work on the blade looks recent, maybe from Syria, the style of work is to the Syrian taste. The modern sword makers there used to have a web site where they show reworked old blades and also their newly made blades. They also make new scabbards and mounts for old swords. If someone finds that website please post the link. My feeling is this is either a new sword, new engraving and rehilted with and older hilt or an old blade recently engraved and decorated with gold with an older hilt put on it.

    rand

  22. #22
    I know it's been in this estate for at least 30 years.

  23. #23
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    Rand,

    The fullers do not look crisp. But I think that the gilding on them should be more recent work. I have seen Syrian work and they are not like the chiseling on the blade. They are of much poorer quality. I have seen better calligraphy of this type of swords but then again there are authentic ones with worse quality of writing than this. The fuller looks strange, I agree.

    Don
    Could you please provide me with a close-up of the blade? The pics above do not help. I want to see if the blade has a pattern to it? Is it sham?

    Kind regards
    Manouchehr

  24. #24
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    Don

    The handle should have a wirewrap. Is there one on the handle? Normally it is silver, not all times though. What is it?

    Regards
    Manouchehr

  25. #25
    Don
    Could you please provide me with a close-up of the blade? The pics above do not help. I want to see if the blade has a pattern to it? Is it sham?

    Kind regards
    Manouchehr[/QUOTE]


    There is a damascus type pattern on the blade, I'll try to get a closeup picture that shows it, but it's very light. What's sham?

    Hilt has many small silver inlays but no wire.

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