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Old 5th September 2015, 06:09 PM   #1
Lee
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Smile Persian shamshir with Syrian Silverwork Replacements to Arab Taste

Persian shamshir with Syrian silver work replacements made to Arab taste (or at least that is what a reliable dealer suggested). The older and more worn chape seems to be clearly Persian en suite with the blade:
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Old 5th September 2015, 06:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Persian shamshir with Syrian silver work replacements made to Arab taste (or at least that is what a reliable dealer suggested). The older and more worn chape seems to be clearly Persian en suite with the blade:



Hey Lee,

This is not a Syrian made saif. Rather its Saudi, likely made in Hayel. A nice early example. Syrians did not make this style, rather it is a more Saudi variation which timeline is part of my current research. I can probably identify who even made the dress :-)
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Old 5th September 2015, 06:51 PM   #3
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Thank you for the enlightenment! I have always liked the aesthetic of this saif and felt that the workmanship was most admirable. In addition to the decoration, the whole blade and hilt feel very well balanced. Am I correct that the blade would have originated in Persia along with the chape? I looked to see if there is a maker's mark on the mounts, but recognized none. I would appreciate any further enlightenment you may be able to provide.
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Old 5th September 2015, 07:12 PM   #4
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Hey Lee,

The blade is Persian yep. Thats not uncommon on these. The mounts are all Saudi (pre-Saudi state actually, an early 20th century piece as mentioned, likely made in Hail)

The maker is likely from Al-bani family. I have swords with similar patterns.
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Old 5th September 2015, 08:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Hey Lee,

This is not a Syrian made saif. Rather its Saudi, likely made in Hayel. A nice early example. Syrians did not make this style, rather it is a more Saudi variation which timeline is part of my current research. I can probably identify who even made the dress :-)

Beautiful saif, are there any characteristics in particular which could be used to identify a Saudi saif or a Syrian saif. This saif is supposed to be Syrian, does anything about it potentially identify its origin?
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Old 5th September 2015, 08:37 PM   #6
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Lee,
I cant comment on the sword, as I know too little about this area - but I do love your pictures :-).
Jens
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Old 5th September 2015, 09:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Beautiful saif, are there any characteristics in particular which could be used to identify a Saudi saif or a Syrian saif. This saif is supposed to be Syrian, does anything about it potentially identify its origin?


Basically, the Syrian saif and the 'saudi' saif are identical except for finer details.

The Saudi saif (I call it Saudi out of convenience, its not Saudi... it predates the Saudi state) can be basically identified by having an Agrab, the chape having a diamond like decoration all over its length and it ends with a loop and a triangle shape. The carrying rings have swollen shaped fittings, these are constructed in a shape different from Syrian swords which often follow the Ottoman design. The hilt on Saudi saifs usually have a hilt pointing away from the quillons, though this is not 100% as some point straight and some point towards the quillons. This all depends on the maker but most makers I located use the pointing away design.

Basically, to sum up my research and not give much details before publishing... I'll state the obvious, the Saudis learnt to make these from the Syrians, my research will show how and who adopted and developed this Saudi design. And through what period. Anyways, as of yet, most Saudi saif design dates at best to the early 20th century. There is a type I call a proto saif which has elements of both Syrian and Saudi designs... But am not sure I want to speak much about this before I am done :-)))
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Old 5th September 2015, 09:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Thank you for the enlightenment! I have always liked the aesthetic of this saif and felt that the workmanship was most admirable. In addition to the decoration, the whole blade and hilt feel very well balanced. Am I correct that the blade would have originated in Persia along with the chape? I looked to see if there is a maker's mark on the mounts, but recognized none. I would appreciate any further enlightenment you may be able to provide.



Lee,

Can you look at the spine of the scabbard? look at the chape and the locket.
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Old 5th September 2015, 09:32 PM   #9
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The Syrian saif if made using Silver or bronze, then the scabbard design is usually in Ottoman style. Iron fitted ones seem to date to the 20th century and modern days. Though made traditionally so its authentic.
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Old 5th September 2015, 09:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Basically, the Syrian saif and the 'saudi' saif are identical except for finer details...................Basically, to sum up my research and not give much details before publishing...
Thanks for what you are able to reveal, hope to see your published work.
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Old 5th September 2015, 10:54 PM   #11
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Would I be right in thinking that this saif has a Persian blade with Saudi mounts?
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Old 5th September 2015, 11:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Would I be right in thinking that this saif has a Persian blade with Saudi mounts?


Saudi mounts yes. But I do not think the blade is Persian. Looks to be Indian. Indian blades are probably the most common.
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Old 5th September 2015, 11:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Saudi mounts yes. But I do not think the blade is Persian. Looks to be Indian. Indian blades are probably the most common.
Very interesting, thanks for the lesson!!
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Old 6th September 2015, 03:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Saudi mounts yes. But I do not think the blade is Persian. Looks to be Indian. Indian blades are probably the most common.


I was thinking the same, the blade looks Indian, the style of the inscription is Indian Islamic not Persian.
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Old 6th September 2015, 02:52 PM   #15
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Default More photos starting from the hilt

Here are some additional images ... more to come...
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Old 6th September 2015, 03:16 PM   #16
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Default Moving along

with still more to come...
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Old 6th September 2015, 03:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
with still more to come...


A very decent early piece (early 20th century, which is old for these)
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Old 6th September 2015, 04:00 PM   #18
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Default and arriving at the tip

The last group of additional views; the chape has taken quite a beating over the years...
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Old 6th September 2015, 04:03 PM   #19
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Nice photography, Lee.

One observation I have collecting these, is that the ones with the bone hilts almost all have the same identical damage. Its always the bone breaking near the pommel cap, and the repairing is done by gluing (traditional) but when they open the pommel cap for repair, when they return it, they do not put the pin back.. or simply the pin is stuck in the tang and putting a new one is probably a hassle.
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Old 6th September 2015, 04:15 PM   #20
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This is the damage I am speaking about. Note the cracks on the bone near the pommel caps.
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Old 7th September 2015, 02:07 PM   #21
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Question Blade Inscription Translation Request...

I am most grateful to A.alnakkas for having answered my questions about the mountings of this saif beyond my expectations and I look forward to his publishing his discoveries about the evolution of the saif.

Perhaps someone could help with interpretation of the blade inscription?
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Old 7th September 2015, 02:34 PM   #22
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Hey Lee,

it says Nasrun min Allah wa fat'hun qareeb. (Victory from Allah and close conquest)

The inscription is odd. Likely added later... Also, gulf 'saudi' swords are always with a high polish, even the wootz ones. Only collectors etch them, so likely this one was etched and the inscription added.
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Old 7th September 2015, 04:43 PM   #23
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Thank you again!

I agree entirely that the gold koftari inscription is more recent than the blade itself. It appears to lie in a very shallow depression with a hatched surface to allow the gold to adhere. It does not appear to be new, however; would it be likely it is early 20th century en suite with the Arabian mountings or is it more likely some fakery added well after the swords 'working life?'

I also agree that this blade has been etched since its departure from Arabia, presumably to enhance visibility of the wootz pattern (but not by me). The main blade surface remains quite smooth and fine dark pigmented material is liberated upon each oiling. Very unfortunately, residues of the etchant likely remained on the blade (very important to neutralize and remove this) and then got transferred to the scabbard, leading to some later rusting. Nothing deep and not correctable by a (culturally appropriate, per above) restoration to a bright polish, though I'll just try to keep it oiled and otherwise leave it alone.
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Old 7th September 2015, 06:06 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Thank you again!

I agree entirely that the gold koftari inscription is more recent than the blade itself. It appears to lie in a very shallow depression with a hatched surface to allow the gold to adhere. It does not appear to be new, however; would it be likely it is early 20th century en suite with the Arabian mountings or is it more likely some fakery added well after the swords 'working life?'

I also agree that this blade has been etched since its departure from Arabia, presumably to enhance visibility of the wootz pattern (but not by me). The main blade surface remains quite smooth and fine dark pigmented material is liberated upon each oiling. Very unfortunately, residues of the etchant likely remained on the blade (very important to neutralize and remove this) and then got transferred to the scabbard, leading to some later rusting. Nothing deep and not correctable by a (culturally appropriate, per above) restoration to a bright polish, though I'll just try to keep it oiled and otherwise leave it alone.

Hi Lee
Nice thing and great thread, one that I will refer to when I unearth a similar weapon I have in my collection. Thanks for sharing. Miguel
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Old 7th September 2015, 06:08 PM   #25
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Lee, thanks for sharing your sword, great photography, I learned some things from your post, the details of the fittings are amazing, someone put a lot of time into it. Any photography tips would be appreciated.
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Old 18th September 2015, 02:58 PM   #26
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Smile Slowly getting there

A. alnakkas, Jens, estcrh - thank you for your kind comments on my evolving photographic technique.

The greatest step forward came a few years ago when I invested in a Canon 5D which gave me a fairly fast sensor and a finely detailed image.

For the first couple of years I would take pictures on overcast days in my driveway - this gave a nice diffuse light, but usually the sessions would be cut short by the raindrops.

The driveway operation became untenable as I needed to photograph Lew's collection during winter and so I cobbled together the below studio around an old copy stand:
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Old 18th September 2015, 03:07 PM   #27
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Lee,
You not only have a beatiful home, you also have a very good photostudio.
Thank you for posting the picture, and please add it to the thread - How to photograph - or whatever it is called. It may give others good ideas of how to make a studio.
Thank you very much
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Old 16th October 2015, 03:48 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguel
Hi Lee
Nice thing and great thread, one that I will refer to when I unearth a similar weapon I have in my collection. Thanks for sharing. Miguel

Finally unearthed my Saif which until this thread I thought was a Persian Shamshir but from the info contained in the thread I now think that it is in the Saudi style having an Ottoman style scabbard with silver fittings Unfortunately the decoration is worn and the end of the chape is missing otherwise it is in pretty good shape for its age which I think is 19thC. You will notice that there is a ring on one Quillon and one should have been on the end of the pommel but has obviously broken off. I think that silver chains may have once been attached but are now lost, I have seen these in in photos of Saifs and wonder why some have them and others don't also why are the hilts always bound with wire between the Qillons and the bone grips which makes it look like they have been repaired?
Miguel
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Old 16th October 2015, 04:03 PM   #29
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Hey Miguel, Can you take close ups of the chape?

This is a 20th century piece, early 20th century to be exact and likely made by Sulaiman ibn Bani... Though let me look at the chape and see how its like.

The 19th century saif looked different with a hilt similar to Syrian design.

Lotfy
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Old 16th October 2015, 08:33 PM   #30
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With regards to the quillon ring and the one usually find on the pommel, sometimes it can be mismatched, with quillons having a ring and the pommel without. This is due to quillons made from casting silver that is then polished into shape. Also, the reuse of old parts is possible, although the only living maker I contacted did not mention any of that and his creations are all consistent.
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