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Old 26th May 2023, 09:54 PM   #1
Maj-Biffy Snodgrass
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Default Afghan Khyber knife

Any ideas on this one would be great, it is a complete piece but minus scabbard, 64 cm total, horn hilt scales, a typical of its type but any ideas on age, for me it is first half of the 20thc, but could be wrong, open to any ideas. Snody
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Old 26th May 2023, 11:13 PM   #2
Turkoman.khan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maj-Biffy Snodgrass View Post
Any ideas on this one would be great, it is a complete piece but minus scabbard, 64 cm total, horn hilt scales, a typical of its type but any ideas on age, for me it is first half of the 20thc, but could be wrong, open to any ideas. Snody
I like your Khyber knife. It is always difficult to talk about their age. But I think it might be late 19th or early 20th century
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Old 26th May 2023, 11:23 PM   #3
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Thanks Khan, I think you are bang on right with your idea on its age. Snody
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Old 27th May 2023, 05:38 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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Major, I like the range of weapons you post, and I always wonder what observations you might already have on them as sort of a benchmark for those who will be commenting.

This is of course obviously a 'Khyber knife' which is a colloquial term used to specify these typically large blades knives, which are more of a short sword.
The term 'Khyber knife' is actually a bit of British 'Hobson-Jobson' which is the British soldiers vernacular during the Raj in india.

The term actually was used collectively including the pesh kabz , which was a smaller dagger with recurved blade and its variations, which would include the 'choora' and the 'karud'. These were not forms in themselves but variations of the pesh kabz, though these dialectic terms became applied to them, again through attempts by collectors to find distinct classifications.

The so called Khyber knife in this parlance rather gained its own identity with the unusual Hobson-Jobson term 'salawar yataghan'; silliwar yataghan; which was an amalgam of the locally prevalent term for these 'selavah'.
This was a Persian term, with the profound influences frm there which were prevalent in these regions as throughout India. The 'pesh kabz' itself had Persian origins from the Safavid dynasty in the 17th century.

The British then rather bizarrely added the 'yataghan' denominator inexplicably to these huge 'Khyber Knives', as these had nothing more to do with the Ottoman yataghan than they did with being knives.

The period for this example is of course safely placed in the late 19th into early 20th century, and these traditional weapons were used traditionally by virtually all of the Khyber associated tribes. While it may be possible to determine some tribal connection, it would seem this is an exception and I would be interested to know if anyone out there might point out examples of such.

Otherwise, we can safely say this example is 'of the type' used by the Waziris, Afridis, Mahsud , Shinwari et al who dominate the formidable defile in Afghanistan notoriously known as 'the Khyber Pass" in the 19th century into the 20th and during the 2nd and 3rd Afghan Wars 1879-1919.
These blades were held sacred by tribesmen, and when many tribesmen became part of tribal levys to police regions for the British Army, they kept their blades which were remounted with sword bayonet style hilts in the regulation fashion.

"...they have taken the oath of the Brother in Blood on fire and fresh cut sod;
on the hilt and the haft of the Khyber Knife, and on the wondrous names
of God".
KIPLING,
"The Ballad of East and West".
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Old 27th May 2023, 06:30 PM   #5
Bob A
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What criteria might one use in assigning an approximate date to these, and other undated, Afghan edged weapons?

Criteria available from photographs would be useful, as well as indicators seen in-hand.
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Old 28th May 2023, 12:51 AM   #6
Maj-Biffy Snodgrass
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Default Thanks Jim and bob and good to hear from you both

Khyber knives.
Good info Jim and I'll keep them coming as and when I have new pieces to show for as long as I manage to stay here, I must admit that I do not know much about these large afghan knives, except that they look like giant chefs knives to me and that I would not like to meet the pointy end of one .
That said I have had quite a few over the years and one in wootz.
This one I will etch though and show pics if anything nice pops out, always a chance it will be a good pattern welded one. be well all. snody
Ps, as you will see i have changed my avatar.

Last edited by Ian; 5th June 2023 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Removal of further inflammatory complaints and general whining
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