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Old 24th September 2022, 07:07 PM   #1
Gonzoadler
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Default Strange indian hanger with (pseudo?) genoese marks

Hello,

I have this really strange dagger or hanger in my collection. I think it is from northern India because the silver fittings of the velvet covered scabbard reminds me of nepalese Kothimora-Kukris.
The handle is made of silver, too and the guard of brass. The blade is massive and seems to be older than the other parts of the weapon but was regrinded later. I think the whole thing was made in the late 19th c., but I ask me if it could be possible, that the blade is a fragment of a much older genoese blade, maybe 17th c. or earlier.
What do you think? All comments are very welcome.
The whole design of the piece reminds me a bit of german military "Faschinenmesser" but that is maybe a random fact.

Measurements:

total 48cm
without scabbard 47.5cm
blade 37cm

Regards
Robin
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Old 24th September 2022, 07:09 PM   #2
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Old 24th September 2022, 08:42 PM   #3
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The scabbard chape appears to be upside down. Could this be a repurposed fitting from a decorative element of a different scabbard?
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Old 25th September 2022, 04:11 AM   #4
Jim McDougall
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While these 'sickle marks' are typically referred to as 'Genoan' that is from the numbers of North Italian blades with these marks that came out of Genoa as it was a port exporting them. Some actually had 'GENOA' stamped along with them which led to that association. The marks were used in varying cities in North Italy and often in multiples, variations and with other marks.

The 'sickle' mark was also notably used in Styrian centers, and as this does seem to be a 'Germanic' blade from a pioneer or auxiliary forces troop, that seems quite possible. The mounts on this blade are interesting. Possibly something for an officer in a 'Freikorps' unit in Austria? These were units based on the mid 18th c. 'pandours' of the Austrian army who favored exotic oriental fashion and weaponry.

In "Schwert Degen Sabel" by Gerhard Seifert (1962) in a panel of sword blade forms, that clipped point is termed 'pandour point'.
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Old 25th September 2022, 05:49 PM   #5
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Old blade, repurposed silver work on scabbard, odd and seemingly unused hilt, I don't see it as representative of any particular culture, rather an assemblage possibly completed in India for an aficionado of the eclectic.

I'm probably wrong, of course. Kinda pretty, for all that; certainly eye-catching.
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Old 25th September 2022, 06:35 PM   #6
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European artisans were copying 'oriental' styling in sword mountings in the 18th century, especially with dark background and silver themes from the orient (shakudo and Tonquinese hilted small swords). I have seen Chinese and other forms produced in European weapon forms. The 'pandour' units inspired auxiliary and specialized units with this type theme using 'exotic' weapons and fashions in imitation of these in European armies into early 1800s. Napoleon was particularly fond of these type units, and his Zouave units even influenced the American military in the Civil War,

The British often favored 'oriental' (which included India and Middle East in that parlance) styles in their officers swords. There are many examples of 'foreign' forms and styling in these typically 'one off' specially commissioned weapons.

With this clearly German or Austrian style blade I still think it is an unusual example for an officer in a flamboyant style in the units described. This is most unusual however as this type of 'creation' is typically more expected with cavalry sabers, or officers swords with full length blades.
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Old 25th September 2022, 07:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob A View Post
Old blade, repurposed silver work on scabbard, odd and seemingly unused hilt, I don't see it as representative of any particular culture, rather an assemblage possibly completed in India for an aficionado of the eclectic.

I'm probably wrong, of course. Kinda pretty, for all that; certainly eye-catching.
Birds don't sing upside down, and the shield motif on the other side of the chape is also upside down.
Makes no sense so I'll vote for a 'married' piece with Indian made blade.
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Old 25th September 2022, 07:49 PM   #8
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It has always been my understanding that a sword is viewed being held upright, not downward as when worn. However looking at the vegetal pattern on the throat it does seem the leaves are pointing upward so would be inverted if sword viewed upright. This type of blade is not as far as I have known been produced in India, even in the modern reproduction market. It is known that the 'sickle' mark often (even almost typically) occurs on the blades of North Indian sabers known as paluoar and Afghan associated, but these are not of the same character as this.

The thistle as seen in the floral pierced pattern on the chape is of course typically regarded as Scottish. The black background against silver is of course mindful of the bidri metal work in India, so bring drawn to that association seems well placed. I will say that there was a degree of Scottish presence in India during the Raj in the 18th c. so there is some commemorative potential in some degree, but this seemingly Austrian blade is it seems misplaced in that notion.

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Old 25th September 2022, 10:36 PM   #9
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I'm not sure I fully agree with you here, Jim.
Sword blades would normally be read with the point held high, but not necessarily other parts of a sword. The British 1803 Infantry sabre, for example, had a cypher on the knuckle guard that is upside down if the sword point is held aloft. Also, I can't think of any situation when a scabbard would be held with the chape aloft, so it makes sense for decoration to be orientated to be viewed with the chape down.
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Richard
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Old 25th September 2022, 11:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
I'm not sure I fully agree with you here, Jim.
Sword blades would normally be read with the point held high, but not necessarily other parts of a sword. The British 1803 Infantry sabre, for example, had a cypher on the knuckle guard that is upside down if the sword point is held aloft. Also, I can't think of any situation when a scabbard would be held with the chape aloft, so it makes sense for decoration to be orientated to be viewed with the chape down.
Best wishes
Richard
I was thinking that, as I saw the throat oriented different than the chape as the leaves would be pointed downward on the throat as held upright. It is confusing as many discussions over the years on blade decoration claimed held upright was proper to read inscriptions, motif.....but not sure that was entirely consistent. Still I am not sure the orientation of the scabbard motif would be held as a determining factor. Interesting in discussion though!
Well made point on the 1803.,
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Old 26th September 2022, 08:06 AM   #11
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I want to say that this is an interesting discussion here. I made some additional pichtures of the silver parts, maybe they can help.
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Old 26th September 2022, 08:27 AM   #12
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The decoration looks like Indian version of Art Nouveau . Would not be surprised if it was a hunting hanger for a British officer or high ranking bod of some kind.
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Old 26th September 2022, 10:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Birds don't sing upside down, and the shield motif on the other side of the chape is also upside down.
Makes no sense so I'll vote for a 'married' piece with Indian made blade.
My thought as well.
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Old 26th September 2022, 01:30 PM   #14
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The scabbard fittings appear to be orientated so as to be viewed with the chape up, apart from one side of the locket, which is the 'right' way up.
I wonder if it is a piece put together by a silversmith, intent on his silversmithing, rather than by a sword or knife cutler, who would probably have a more instinctive feel for the orientation of fittings.
Best wishes
Richard
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Old 26th September 2022, 05:46 PM   #15
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I would think this is not made by one person. I still feel the decoration is a third hand or more working to the art nouveau styles that were influencing Indian crafts people. You can find stuff on this style influence on city art schools of the time. Not all work would be carried out in the sophisticated centres of production.

Last edited by Tim Simmons; 26th September 2022 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 26th September 2022, 05:56 PM   #16
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Colonial influence on Indian art. Just to show it was well established.
https://www.livehistoryindia.com/sto...colonial-india
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Old 29th September 2022, 04:04 PM   #17
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The bird on the chape is also perched as if the chape were pointing up. And the flowers on the throat piece also are growing towards the tip.


I suspect they were cast with the lost wax method by a jeweller who had no knowledge of how weapons should be oriented, and who found it easier to carve the wax mould bits with the flat base on his table, and for orienting when he set the wax bits in the container for making the proper plaster mould, so they didn't fall over as the mould cured. Carving a bird & flowers upside down is a feat most of us would not accomplish. Try writing & drawing backwards like Leonardo. ��



Any bird watchers here that may recognize the bird & it's origin?


In any case, the blade/grip may originally had a different scabbard or sheath and and the present one is an 'upgrade' for a rising status owner. Maybe the hand grip is too. It has a rather worm-like form. Overall the scabbard does look rather nepali kothimora, like my khukuri (below)


I have an 3,000 yr. old Egyptian bronze penetrative age axe whose haft has been replaced three times and the axe head twice.
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Old 30th September 2022, 09:16 AM   #18
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The more I look at this one, the more I think it's an assemblage of parts rather than made from the start in the form it has now. The chape and locket certainly look like reused pieces from something entirely different, perhaps a high quality "nurses buckle" or chatelaine. The blade from a hanger, and the same for the grip. The ball ended guard, well I have a dagger with near the exact same. I am not dissing the piece, it's very handsome and all of the old stuff has a history of repair and refurbishment.
(eg the infamous "Cromwells dagger", which had three new hilts and two new blades before it reached the museum.)
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Old 30th September 2022, 05:26 PM   #19
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With all the compelling and interesting entries supporting an assemblage made in India and the very intriguing suggestions by Wayne noting the kothimora, I am inclined to agree. As I have noted earlier the Scottish thistle, while not typically among elements of the arts of India, is of course likely included in the European influences which clearly were profound as noted by Tim Simmons.

The more I look at this blade, the more it seems quite possibly an earlier Italian blade from a storta or short falchion type saber of this sort. The sickle seems like a genuine mark from what I can see. It was not at all unusual for Italian blades to appear in Indian arms, though of these types not as much.
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