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Old 24th April 2022, 09:11 AM   #1
GePi
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Default A decorated Kard for comment and help with translation

Hello,

I would like to present a very elaborately decorated Kard I acquired last year and on which I finally finished the last bit of restoration work. It is extensively decorated with chiselling and gold inlay in a Persian manner, but due to several features (recurved blade, 'beaked' pommel, raised rivet heads, scabbard style) I am certain it comes from Afghanistan.

Is is dated to 1272 AH - 1855/1856 AD. The wootz pattern is quite nice in general, but it has quite a few flaws with areas where it complety disappears, which to me fits both to the late date of manufacuture and an origin outside of the major production centers in Iran.

For the maker's name I would suggest احمد صوفی الله - Ahmad Sufi Allah, and for the small aftabi inlay on the spine of the blade يا الله - Oh Allah.

The inscriptions on the backstrap and on the flats of the blade are way too complicated to read for me, although I can certainly spot several Allahs and Alis, so I would assume they are of a religious nature. If Kwiatek or someone else would be able to decipher those I would be very grateful.
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Old 24th April 2022, 09:40 AM   #2
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Very nice piece! Love the patterns
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Old 24th April 2022, 10:41 AM   #3
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Very nice indeed.
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Old 24th April 2022, 12:38 PM   #4
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Really nice !
Have you old/ first pictures of your kard for see before/after restoration work !
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Old 24th April 2022, 12:58 PM   #5
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Extraordinary craftsmanship!! Congrats!
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Old 24th April 2022, 03:14 PM   #6
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This is an amazing Kard. Thank you for posting.
The decoration of the locket of the scabbard also looks Afghan to me.
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Old 24th April 2022, 06:57 PM   #7
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Fantastic Kard! Thank you for the opportunity to see this item.
Handle and scabbard are clearly made in Afghanistan.
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Old 24th April 2022, 10:37 PM   #8
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What a beauty!
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Old 25th April 2022, 05:05 PM   #9
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Thanks all, it certainly is a step up in quality for my collection.

I unfortunately did not take any photos pre-restoration myself, so I can only show the auctioneer's pictures.
It seems the knife was 'restored' before and someone took a rough grinding wheel to the edge and went way overboard with it. It really bothered me and I did the best I could to correct it to a more appropiate shape as far as possible. There was also some of the goldwire missing which I have had restored by a specialist because that is beyond my paygrade.
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Old 26th April 2022, 01:39 PM   #10
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In my oppinion it is Mughal.

Lovely piece anyhow!
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Old 27th April 2022, 07:37 PM   #11
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This is an exceptionally beautiful knife and a wonderful restoration.
How did you manage to bring the cutting edge back to its current state?
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Old 28th April 2022, 07:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter B. View Post
This is an exceptionally beautiful knife and a wonderful restoration.
How did you manage to bring the cutting edge back to its current state?
Nothing fancy, just grinding the flats of the blade down and polishing everything up again for the etch. It was a bit of a challenge, especially where the chiselled cartouches came very near to the edge, but I am pretty happy with how it turned out.
I use diamond coated knife sharpening stones for the rough grind. An odd choice perhaps, but they are small and handy and I never got the hang of properly moving a blade over a large whetstone. Fine polish with sandpaper with a hard backing.
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Old 1st May 2022, 04:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GePi View Post
Nothing fancy, just grinding the flats of the blade down ...
Thanks for the explanation. It turned out to be a very nice job.
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Old 20th May 2022, 06:55 PM   #14
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On the blade is a famous couplet from the Gulistan of Sa'di:

غرض نقشیست کز ما باز ماند
که هستی را نمی بینم بقایی

"The aim of this design is that it should outlive us,
For I see no permanence in this existence"

Down the back of the grip is Surat al-Ikhlas (112)

In the cartouche at the back of the base of the blade I would suggest the following

فرمایش سردار شیر علی خان

"Commission of Sardar Sher 'Ali Khan"

The date and name of the maker I read as you have done

سنه ۱۲۷۲

"Year 1272 (1854-5)"

عمل احمد الله صوفی

"Work of Ahmadullah Sufi"

The names strongly suggest the owner and maker were from Afghanistan. There was a member of the Barakzai dynasty called Sardar Sher 'Ali Khan who was vizier to the governor in Herat and later governor himself of Kandahar. His dates fit too

https://www.royalark.net/Afghanistan/barak5.htm
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Old 21st May 2022, 02:27 PM   #15
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Thank you so much, kwiatek!
The translations itself are a great favor and will hopefully help me improve my own reading in the future, but the specific historic context is invaluable and something that I did not even slightly expect to receive when I posted this.
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