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Old 20th January 2008, 06:12 PM   #1
Tatyana Dianova
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Default Tibetan dagger

Finally I've bought a real Tibetan knife (I hope at least) - last time a Tibetan knife offered to me was in reality a Wootz Persian dagger which was discussed last summer on this Forum

The fittings are steel, brass and ray skin; total length in scabbard is 45 cm. The blade is made from the pattern welded steel with the pattern resembling a hairpin pattern. There are three iron cones side by side on the top of the handle which look like a tang extensions (because they go through the top sheet). Does somebody know their meaning or is it only a decoration? Can somebody give their opinion on the age of this dagger? Another strange thing: the suspension ring is on the front side of the dagger (look carefully at the pictures of the both sides). Was a Tibetan dagger carried in some funny fashion or was this one incorrectly assembled later?
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Old 20th January 2008, 06:46 PM   #2
Tim Simmons
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This looks like a very nice example, I especially like the scabbard. I was watching this and I now wish I too had gambled on the not very good pictures.
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Old 20th January 2008, 07:55 PM   #3
Tatyana Dianova
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Thank you Tim for the nice words. Not only the pictures were improved - I have put a lot of work into this dagger And surprisingly I was the only bidder, thank you too
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Old 20th January 2008, 10:46 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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This is Tibetan in degree, as it clearly has Tibetan characteristics, but the three pronged pommel may be more associated with the swords believed to be of minority tribes inhabiting provinces of China NE of Tibet. (see the article on Tibetan swords written by Lee Jones on this site).

The three pronged feature on the pommel, and as noted in the article, suggests early 19th century, possibly earlier. The overall appearance of this dagger to me suggests 19th century, probably mid to late.
As always looking forward to comments from those more familiar with Tibetan weapons.
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Old 8th November 2020, 05:03 PM   #5
Nobitaaa
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After many years to see this post, it has classic Tibetan arms beautiful
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Old 13th November 2020, 06:33 AM   #6
Philip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana Dianova

The fittings are steel, brass and ray skin; total length in scabbard is 45 cm. The blade is made from the pattern welded steel with the pattern resembling a hairpin pattern. There are three iron cones side by side on the top of the handle which look like a tang extensions (because they go through the top sheet). Does somebody know their meaning or is it only a decoration? Can somebody give their opinion on the age of this dagger?


Congratulations on a very nice example of this type!

The flat pommel with three cones is typical of hilts on daggers and swords from the Kham region of eastern Tibet, along the frontier with China. They don't seem to have any role in holding the tang of the blade to the hilt; I once restored a sword with a missing cone, and its mounting hole in the pommel didn't go deep enough for the purpose. The sword's pommel was built up of plates of iron and copper, and it appeared that the tang was peened to one of the lower sheets, and the cones served as pins to hold the top one or two layers in place, covering the peening.

I would say that 19th cent. or turn of the 20th would be a safe bet on assigning age to it. Seems that a lot of daggers and knives from this cultural area were as much utilitarian as symbolic, seeing regular use so that their survival over centuries was more the exception than the rule. Rather like Nepalese kukris, or Bedouin jambiyas. I've seen Tibetan short swords with extremely worn blades in ratty scabbards and grimy hilts that looked like they had seen a lot of service. There is one historic travelogue whose author I can't recall at the moment, was it Rockhill (?) who observed that a Tibetan nomad would put his sword to whatever use that necessity demanded, such as digging holes in the ground.
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Old 13th November 2020, 06:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana Dianova
Another strange thing: the suspension ring is on the front side of the dagger (look carefully at the pictures of the both sides). Was a Tibetan dagger carried in some funny fashion or was this one incorrectly assembled later?


The scabbard design is structurally and functionally common to knife sheaths used in China, Mongolia, and Korea as well. The bar with ring is on the back side. The system was designed to attach to a chatelaine, or a frog made of thick leather and often decorated with silver, that the belt or sash was inserted through.
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