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Old 24th August 2016, 07:42 PM   #31
A.alnakkas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Yes, Indo-Persian Khanjar.
The handle is old, with spots of rust, tarnish and pitting.
The blade, however, is pristine and the wootz pattern is very similar to modern Indian examples.
There is some black mastique oozing from the slit in the handle. Epoxy?
Where did you get it from?
Rajastan?
I am sorry for my paranoid remarks, but that's IMHO.
I second what Ariel have said. Owned a few of the recently made Indian wootz pieces, good projects if you are making replicas but a complete rip off if sold as antiques. Though some have really good quality and craftmanship.

The wootz is not crystalline but modern wootz tend to be similar to it. The cracks are not sign of age but sign of forging flaws which can happen to this day (unless you believe in the miracle of modern technology, which I doubt Rajastanis are using in mass)
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Old 24th August 2016, 08:24 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
David, I know which one you are referring to, and it has signs of use as you can see, but were are the other examples if a carved iron rams heads was a "common" hilt type?

I am asking if anyone has any other examples to compare with.
Well, you also posted the one from the Chicago Art Institute, which while perhaps not as old as they claim does seem to be at least antique. Were these "common"? I'm not really sure since this is well outside my collecting interests. But certainly there is a precedent for the form. I don't feel qualified to comment on the age of the original example posted here.
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Old 25th August 2016, 12:19 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Well, you also posted the one from the Chicago Art Institute, which while perhaps not as old as they claim does seem to be at least antique. Were these "common"? I'm not really sure since this is well outside my collecting interests. But certainly there is a precedent for the form. I don't feel qualified to comment on the age of the original example posted here.
David, the one from the Chicago Art Institute, which would be considered as a zirah bouk, a rather rare form, is very suspect, first it has only been in their collection from 2014 (Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf, 2014), second it is described as having a watered steel blade when it is clearly pattern welded. The whole dagger shows no wear / age and the pattern welding while faintly showing in the image provided looks suspiciously like modern Indian pattern welded dagger blades. Since they got the age wrong (17th/18th century) as well I have no confidence in their authentication methods.

I hesitate to use it as an authentic example but I have enlarged the available image a bit, there may be some other opinions.
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Old 25th August 2016, 02:55 AM   #34
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Based on the screen shot, I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole :-)))
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Old 25th August 2016, 07:02 AM   #35
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Talking about the Chicago dagger.

Clearly modern-looking pattern welded blade, suposedly coming from a time when almost all daggers were sporting wootz blades.

If it were for this reason alone and I would suspect a fake.

Also silver Koftgari in exceptionally good condition from a time when gold Koftgari was almost exclusively used.

Everything points to a modern production dagger and how the "specialists"of the Chicago Institute got their oppinion is beyond my understanding.
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Old 25th August 2016, 09:13 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Talking about the Chicago dagger............................Everything points to a modern production dagger and how the "specialists"of the Chicago Institute got their oppinion is beyond my understanding.
It happens quite a lot, in private collections, museum collections, auction sales etc, which is why I question the khanjar shown by Cthulhu. I think there is the possibility that the hilt is old but it could also be more modern. The lack of other similar examples both old and new is unusual. The hilt is not worn, the edges are sharp but it is pitted, pitting can be a sign of age but it can also be artificially produced.

Carving steel in this shape was not as common as it seems so how do you accurately determine its age. The work is not extremely detailed and there is no other decoration such as koftgari to judge from. I think that at this time it is impossible to make an accurate age determination but all the same it is a nice unique Indian dagger with a wootz blade.
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Old 25th August 2016, 09:43 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
It happens quite a lot, in private collections, museum collections, auction sales etc, which is why I question the khanjar shown by Cthulhu. I think there is the possibility that the hilt is old but it could also be more modern. The lack of other similar examples both old and new is unusual. The hilt is not worn, the edges are sharp but it is pitted, pitting can be a sign of age but it can also be artificially produced.

Carving steel in this shape was not as common as it seems so how do you accurately determine its age. The work is not extremely detailed and there is no other decoration such as koftgari to judge from. I think that at this time it is impossible to make an accurate age determination but all the same it is a nice unique Indian dagger with a wootz blade.
Agreed, with the observation that the Ram-head hilts were quite popular in almost all fathomable materials during the 18-19th century, with steel chiseled ones holding quite a prominent position. I have seen several in various Indian museums and also E. Jaiwant Paul in his book "Arms and Armour: Traditional Weapons of India" mentions them as being popular (he also shows some examples from National Museum, that in my oppinion also show some very generous age allocation).
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Old 25th August 2016, 11:41 AM   #38
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I refer readers to http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/printthread.php?t=7058 and at the forth post down the list...Jim McDougall outlines an interesting set of notes.
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Old 25th August 2016, 11:56 AM   #39
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Here is an example of how the Rams head transitioned or was copied as a sword hilt..
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Old 25th August 2016, 04:12 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Here is an example of how the Rams head transitioned or was copied as a sword hilt..

From the collection of Arms and Armour in the Prince of Wales Museum, now known as Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghrahalaya, Mumbai India.
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Old 25th August 2016, 04:17 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Agreed, with the observation that the Ram-head hilts were quite popular in almost all fathomable materials during the 18-19th century, with steel chiseled ones holding quite a prominent position. I have seen several in various Indian museums and also E. Jaiwant Paul in his book "Arms and Armour: Traditional Weapons of India" mentions them as being popular (he also shows some examples from National Museum, that in my oppinion also show some very generous age allocation).
I have used every combination of search terms I could think of and looked through the images I know of from Indian Museums and still I have not found any more images of carved iron rams head dagger hilts.

If they were "prominent" and "common" why is it so hard to find any additional images of one? I also thought they were more widely used but what at first appeared to be old turned out to be modern on close inspection.
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Old 26th August 2016, 04:57 PM   #42
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The Met SEE http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/452103 for a Rams Head Hilt. I the case of the Met exhibit is of Kuldan style ...which is perhaps described reasonably at http://www.sneharateria.com/let-kund...ak-for-itself/
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Old 26th August 2016, 04:58 PM   #43
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Please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14942 from #2 of that reference I Quote"
The rams head is termed 'meshamuki' (Pant, 1980, New Delhi, p.113, fig. 294, mesha=sheep, but applies to ram as well). Most of these 'rams head' hilts on daggers or swords seem associated with Rajputs in N. India in the periods noted. According to the Vedas, many animals and creatures are associated as vehicles for various divinities in the Hindu pantheon of deities, and the ram is one for that of the four Agnivashi clans' ". Unquote.
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Old 26th August 2016, 05:35 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
It does not appear to be shaped from iron though, which is the type of ram's head hilt i believe Estrch was questioning as being common in antiquity.
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Old 26th August 2016, 05:44 PM   #45
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I have seen a few iron ram heded daggers in the museums I visited in Rajahstan, but I didn't take any photos of them as they looked quite dull and uninteresting. Maybe that's why there aren't so many photos of them on the net, because they don't look very spectacular.
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Old 26th August 2016, 07:37 PM   #46
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Another Ramshead Dagger is at http://library.clevelandart.org/node/238552
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Old 27th August 2016, 01:34 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
I have seen a few iron ram heded daggers in the museums I visited in Rajahstan, but I didn't take any photos of them as they looked quite dull and uninteresting. Maybe that's why there aren't so many photos of them on the net, because they don't look very spectacular.
Being able to hand carve any type of animals head from a solid piece of iron / steel with primitive tools is quite spectacular to me, and much more interesting than plain iron hilts of which there are many examples, so how about if we look for ANY type of carved iron dagger hilt with an animals head.....ram, horse, elephant etc.
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Old 27th August 2016, 06:56 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Being able to hand carve any type of animals head from a solid piece of iron / steel with primitive tools is quite spectacular to me, and much more interesting than plain iron hilts of which there are many examples, so how about if we look for ANY type of carved iron dagger hilt with an animals head.....ram, horse, elephant etc.
"The Arts of the Muslim Knight," page 220

"Arms and Armour: Traditional weapons of India," page 50, 73, 78, 83, 84, 139, 140

Some of them may be other metals (gilt brass) but most are iron.

PS: Yes, carving iron is difficult but it was quite wide spread and the Katar you showed in your earlier posting is just one of the many examples of such ironwork. To my knowledge, iron animal head hilts were mostly popular in the 19th century, but I cannot remember where I got this information from. Tried to find in a few of my books but couldn't find it there so it might be anecdotal.

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Old 28th August 2016, 03:48 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
"The Arts of the Muslim Knight," page 220

"Arms and Armour: Traditional weapons of India," page 50, 73, 78, 83, 84, 139, 140

Some of them may be other metals (gilt brass) but most are iron.

PS: Yes, carving iron is difficult but it was quite wide spread and the Katar you showed in your earlier posting is just one of the many examples of such ironwork. To my knowledge, iron animal head hilts were mostly popular in the 19th century, but I cannot remember where I got this information from. Tried to find in a few of my books but couldn't find it there so it might be anecdotal.
Here is one that seems to be carved iron / steel, from the Met Museum.

Indian khanjar dagger, 17th century, steel, iron, silver, copper alloy, H. 14 3/16 in. (36 cm); W. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm); Wt. 12.8 oz. (362.9 g), Met Museum.
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Old 28th August 2016, 05:29 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Here is one that seems to be carved iron / steel, from the Met Museum.

Indian khanjar dagger, 17th century, steel, iron, silver, H. 14 3/16 in. (36 cm); W. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm); Wt. 12.8 oz. (362.9 g), Met Museum.
Isn't it copper or brass?!

Anyhow, the margins of the hilt are pretty much like those of the one in the original posting.

But again... 17th century (namely 1600+) ?!?! I doubt! Much more likely 19th century!
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Old 28th August 2016, 06:42 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Isn't it copper or brass?!

Anyhow, the margins of the hilt are pretty much like those of the one in the original posting.

But again... 17th century (namely 1600+) ?!?! I doubt! Much more likely 19th century!
I am not sure if it was cast or carved but the hilt is iron according the the Museums description. Now here is an interesting statement. "This dagger is exceptional in that its hilt is made entirely of iron." This seems to indicate that in the opinion of the Museum, iron / steel zoomorphic hilts were not common.....humm.




Quote:
Animal-head daggers came into fashion at the Mughal court in the second quarter of the seventeenth century. Horses were the most popular subject, followed by nilgai (a large antelope from India), lions, tigers, goats, and camels, usually carved from nephrite jade, serpentine, marble, or ivory.

This dagger is exceptional in that its hilt is made entirely of iron. The lion’s mane retains traces of silver, and its deep-set eyes were formerly jeweled.
References
Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Mr. Morihiro Ogawa. Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions 1991-2002. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 4, 2002–June, 29 2003. p. 40, no. 36, ill.
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Old 28th August 2016, 07:30 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Being able to hand carve any type of animals head from a solid piece of iron / steel with primitive tools is quite spectacular to me, and much more interesting than plain iron hilts of which there are many examples, so how about if we look for ANY type of carved iron dagger hilt with an animals head.....ram, horse, elephant etc.
Taking all varieties of Zoomorphic headed hilts is one way to do it... after all threads take their own line naturally and there are no rules as such to direct in which way we ought to pursue these...however, there are many zo omorphic themed hilts which are quite different in region and makeup thus it will become a little messy no? One post may illustrate lion heads whilst another may still be examining rams heads ...the confusion could be very difficult to control...so I advise and suggest sticking to one form and if another form falls under scrutiny the member can start another thread but the focus of each thread should be clear...and on this thread we focus upon Rams Heads. A researcher can thus be assured that when working on Rams Heads in future that our Library is accurate and true... You want Rams Heads? Here they are!!...If a Forumite wishes to raise the thread Zoomorphic heads on Daggers and Swords...so be it but it will be clear to researchers that this is what is in the thread...a general approach rather than a detailed pin point look at a specific or more general approach...
This is a great thread and all participants have given it a good airing... thus I do not want to be difficult... and will en devour to run with the ball in whatever direction it goes but I recommend one head at a time...lest it gets in a tangle...
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Old 28th August 2016, 08:08 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Taking all varieties of Zoomorphic headed hilts is one way to do it..
Ibrahiim, actually not "all varieties", just carved iron / steel ones, this is due to the relative lack of any one type.
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Old 28th August 2016, 08:26 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
"This dagger is exceptional in that its hilt is made entirely of iron." This seems to indicate that in the opinion of the Museum, iron / steel zoomorphic hilts were not common.....humm.
These additional photos quite clearly prove it is iron.

Maybe they consider it exceptional for 17th century. Maybe they consider it exceptional because thy didn't see another. However, I have seen a few and I don't think it was exceptional in the 19th century.

Moreover, you found yourself a couple of iron carved zoomorphic hilts.
I found others (at least a couple of the ones I indicated are iron).

Now how many more do you think are needed to officially say they were "common"?!

What relevance will it have as the next question might be "how common" or "define common"?!


I believe the essential point was to demonstrate the existence of such hilts as early as 17th century and whether there were only one hundred made or ten thousand is less relevant.
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Old 29th August 2016, 05:01 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
These additional photos quite clearly prove it is iron.

Maybe they consider it exceptional for 17th century. Maybe they consider it exceptional because thy didn't see another. However, I have seen a few and I don't think it was exceptional in the 19th century.

Moreover, you found yourself a couple of iron carved zoomorphic hilts.
I found others (at least a couple of the ones I indicated are iron).

Now how many more do you think are needed to officially say they were "common"?!

What relevance will it have as the next question might be "how common" or "define common"?!


I believe the essential point was to demonstrate the existence of such hilts as early as 17th century and whether there were only one hundred made or ten thousand is less relevant.
I would not call carved iron zoomorphic hilted daggers common when there are only two images available besides the one being discussed here. I do not have the books you mentioned and have not seen the images they contain and I have not seen any images from Indian museums but still over several hundred years I would expect to see many more if they were that common. It may be that iron / steel was a much harder material to carve than stone and ivory and was just not a popular material for the people who would have made these types of hilts.
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Old 29th August 2016, 05:18 AM   #56
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Here is another one with a horse head hilt, this one though is described as being cast, I think the lion head one may be cast as well, there seems to be a what could be a casting line on it (red arrrows).

Quote:
Indian (Mughal) khanjar dagger, 18th century, watered steel hilt cast in two parts, the head with its mane to one side, the forelock falling on the forehead, the mouth open, with finely cast nostrils, two rivets to hold the long double curved, double edged blade of fine watered-steel, with central ridge, 17 3/8in. (44.1cm.) long.
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Old 29th August 2016, 07:00 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Here is another one with a horse head hilt, this one though is described as being cast, I think the lion head one may be cast as well, there seems to be a what could be a casting line on it (red arrrows).
Of course it is originally cast. Almost all metallic hilts are first cast in a raw shape, then chiseled to give them the final detailed shape.

They are definitely not chiseled directly from a raw iron ingot.

And one of the easiest things to do is to polish off the casting line.
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Old 29th August 2016, 07:03 PM   #58
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One thing I'm noticing in the hilt photos is that there don't seem to be a lot (aside from ones that are modern) where there are horns or ears that stick out very far. It's one thing for a hilt to be carved to look like a lion/tiger/bear/etc, but perhaps it's entirely another for it to have actual horns. My dagger appears to have horns made separately and welded into place. Or...it's just occurred to me...perhaps they're epoxied into place. There's a lot of blackness and discoloration right around the base of the horns. Is there a non-destructive test for epoxy or other glues?
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Old 29th August 2016, 10:47 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu
One thing I'm noticing in the hilt photos is that there don't seem to be a lot (aside from ones that are modern) where there are horns or ears that stick out very far. It's one thing for a hilt to be carved to look like a lion/tiger/bear/etc, but perhaps it's entirely another for it to have actual horns. My dagger appears to have horns made separately and welded into place. Or...it's just occurred to me...perhaps they're epoxied into place. There's a lot of blackness and discoloration right around the base of the horns. Is there a non-destructive test for epoxy or other glues?
I assume that if you polish the area until it is completely free of oxidation, and examine it with a magnifying glass, you should be able to tell if it was welded or glued. But this might be seen as destructive already.


PS: However, this is a very interesting observation that would almost certainly indicate a much more recent production.

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Old 30th August 2016, 05:50 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Of course it is originally cast. Almost all metallic hilts are first cast in a raw shape, then chiseled to give them the final detailed shape.

They are definitely not chiseled directly from a raw iron ingot.
Interesting, I did not give the process much thought, but if this was the case there really should be more examples.
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