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Old 11th October 2020, 06:18 AM   #1
GePi
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Default A fancy peshkabz, a call for help on translation and thoughts on provenance

Hello,

I have been looking for years for a high quality persian style peshkabz and finally I was able to acquire one (two actually), although it took a kamikaze-like approach to get them.
The blade is very typically persian, with a ladder pattern and nice chiseling, 18th century I would assume, but the dress is not what we usually see.
The grip scales are hollow and made from silver and the scabbard is heavy silver with wood lining and elaborate chasing, gilding and niello with three niello inscriptions.

The auctioneer listed the provenance as Dagestan, which I don't believe is plausible, I tend to think either central Asia or simply Iran.

The cartouches are two makers' marks and what I assume to be the owner's name.

I am very interested in what you all think, and if you can again help me with my flailing attempts to translate (I know you are around kwiatek )
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Old 11th October 2020, 06:22 AM   #2
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The big cartouche I can partially read, but I do not get the meaning:
it starts حق نظز (haq nadhar), both are words which I know, but not their meaning in this context. After that I am less sure, I would transliterate the next word as حیباچی (h[e?]ibachi?), but except for a Japanese stove I came up empty for that so I am probably wrong.
The second line starts with ملا, Mullah which makes me think it is followed by the name, where it again becomes difficult for me. I would guess جمحم قلی بن (Djamham Ghali Ben???), but I am less than sure.
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Old 11th October 2020, 06:23 AM   #3
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The first maker's cartouche I read as امل احمد خان, work of Ahmad Khan.

The secend maker's cartouche I can not make out at all, there seems to be an unusual flourish in the calligraphy that I have never seen before.
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Old 11th October 2020, 08:10 AM   #4
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Very beautiful knife! Congratulations for this exceptional acquisition!

As you said, the blade is typical Persian 18th to early 19th century.

Both the hilt and and the scabbard may be later replacements and don't look very Persian to my eyes.

The scabbard looks more from the Caucasus area (which was a part of Persian empire throughout the history). I have seen exactly the same style of silver engraved decorations with niello panels and wire wrapped tips on kindjal scabbards.

The hilt is very similar to some I have seen on North Indian knives.

Let's hope for a translation!

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Old 11th October 2020, 08:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Very beautiful knife! Congratulations for this exceptional acquisition!

As you said, the blade is typical Persian 18th to early 19th century.

Both the hilt and and the scabbard may be later replacements and don't look very Persian to my eyes.

The scabbard looks more from the Caucasus area (which was a part of Persian empire throughout the history). I have seen exactly the same style of silver engraved decorations with niello panels and wire wrapped tips on kindjal scabbards.

The hilt is very similar to some I have seen on North Indian knives.

Let's hope for a translation!


Thanks, I am still pretty stoked I got it.

I agree that caucasian scabbards have similarly decorated fittings, and I am sure that is where the attribution by the auctioneer comes from, but I have never seen a peshkabz from that area before. The decoration also strongly reminds me of kard scabbards like this one though, and these are usually attributed to central asia.

As for the silver hilt scales, there was also this peshkabz on sale in the same auction featuring a definitely central asian scabbards with typical turcoise cloisonne.
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Old 11th October 2020, 12:57 PM   #6
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Inscriptions are typical of the Caucasus. The poetic inscription is in one of the numerous difficult languages of the region, many of them language isolates, with Arabic loanwords. The first signature I read as you do عمل احمد خان “work of Ahmad Khan”, the second might be عمل خضر "work of Khizr”, with the last letter written disjointed and below on account of lack of space
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Old 11th October 2020, 01:29 PM   #7
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This is from Robert Hales Islamic and oriental arms and armour, page 85:
"Caucasian silver work was popular over a wide area of Asia and sheaths made there were used for kards from Iran to Turkestan"
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Old 11th October 2020, 05:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
Inscriptions are typical of the Caucasus. The poetic inscription is in one of the numerous difficult languages of the region, many of them language isolates, with Arabic loanwords. The first signature I read as you do عمل احمد خان “work of Ahmad Khan”, the second might be عمل خضر "work of Khizr”, with the last letter written disjointed and below on account of lack of space


Thank you for the insight, it seems Dagestan might be a good possibility after all. The dagger was auctioned off from quite an old German collection so perhaps the attribution comes from true provenance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drabant1701
This is from Robert Hales Islamic and oriental arms and armour, page 85:
"Caucasian silver work was popular over a wide area of Asia and sheaths made there were used for kards from Iran to Turkestan"


Interesting, I looked it up and that kard's scabbard is of the type I was referring to in response to Marius and it looks similar in decoration to kinjal scabbards as he says. What this means is not quite clear to me, in Rivkin's arms and armour from Caucasus he states that high status knives other than Kinjals were not commen in the region, but these kard scabbards are quite prevalent on the antique market, and as I said usually attributed to 'Turkestan'. I flipped through my copy of the Moser catalogue though and did not find a single one in that style.
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