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Aryn Chris




Location: Denver
Joined: 24 Apr 2010

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat 24 Apr, 2010 5:29 pm    Post subject: New here, looking to find out about my sword         Reply with quote

Picked up this sword in the Rocky Mountains. The only story that came with it is that it was in Russia during World War I--however, it was also noted that the woman who claimed that story was very old and might have been senile when she sold it.





I'm having trouble getting good photos--all I have is my phone camera--but I can definitely take more if anyone would like.

Here's what I know:

~Not a replica. It's well-preserved, but it's not stainless steel and the wood shows signs of having rotted once.

~The balance is off; it's heavier in the blade than the hilt, though someone told me that could be on purpose.

~Fully tanged, all the hilt is is two blocks of wood carved to fit the metal, then bolted on with brass (I think it's brass, not bronze... I haven't ever seen much of either, so I have trouble telling the difference).

~The sheath is also two blocks of wood carved to fit, held together with black leather and brass (again, I'm assuming it's brass) sheeting, plus that round cap on the point. The sheeting has simple designs on it. The top is marked with small chevrons, some of them making a rough cross, while the backside actually has small holes punched in it for the design.

~There's a thick strip of metal--this time, I'm assuming bronze--wrapped around the top of the hilt with a ring through it. You can see it in the top picture, but that's not where it originally was--it's loose now and slides up and down that bit of sheeting, but it actually fits that darker stripe, there's a slight groove there.

~The inscription is too messy to have been done either by a machine or a particularly skilled professional--there are marks all over the place where his hand must have slipped. It's in some Arabic language, but I'm not sure what. Inside the crescent moon are four digits in a numeral system I don't know the name of; the numbers read 0016 or 6100, which do not correspond with a sensible calendar date.

~The blackened, almost tear drop shaped mark at one end of the inscription is a deep gouge. I'm wondering if there was something there originally (I don't know enough about swords, so my guesses range from a gem to a sigil or crest) that was pried out when the sword found a new owner.

~The grooves on the blade stop just short of the inscription on the one side, but cut all the way to the hilt on the other side--I'm guessing that the maker intended all along to have something in that spot.

~It has an edge, but that edge is far sharper on the sides and closer to the hilt than at the point. In fact, the edges near the point are barely sharp at all, and the point itself is downright rounded. The point is also slightly bent upward (up being the side with the inscription) like maybe someone smacked it hard against something (a tree stump? something metal?). This bend at the tip is not bad enough to interfere with pulling it in or out of the sheath.

~It's right about 2 feet from point to where the hilt starts.


~~~~~
I know next to nothing about swords, though this isn't the first time I've held a weapon older than I am... I'm still working on getting a translation of the inscription (or heck, just a clearer photo so I can pass it around the internet), but I'd love to know anything people can tell me about the sword itself, or it's possible history.
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
Joined: 16 Nov 2005
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Posts: 450

PostPosted: Sun 25 Apr, 2010 7:01 am    Post subject: kindjal         Reply with quote

Aryn,
not russian, but probably soviet union. We often forget that the USSR was composed of many regions, peoples, ethnic enclaves, and diverse religious backgrounds.
What you have seems to be a kindjal, which can be found in Georgia, Turkey and most of the islamic areas of the Caucasus all the way into Persia (Iran).
The lettering does not look cyrillic, but rather turkish or another eastern idiom ( Persian? Kazakh?...)
The Crescent Moon seems to be Turkish, but again those areas of the USSR bordering on Turkey would share the same symbols and language.
Nice find so far from home.
JC

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Gabriel Lebec
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Location: NY, NY
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PostPosted: Sun 25 Apr, 2010 7:44 am    Post subject: Re: New here, looking to find out about my sword         Reply with quote

Aryn, welcome to myArmoury!

It's definitely a kindjal, looks authentic although I'm not an expert on the subject.

Aryn Chris wrote:
The balance is off; it's heavier in the blade than the hilt, though someone told me that could be on purpose.


The point of balance for virtually every sword is in the blade, not the hilt, and the kindjal design is going to have a forward balance as a rule.

Quote:
The inscription is too messy to have been done either by a machine or a particularly skilled professional--there are marks all over the place where his hand must have slipped.


Speaking on pure instinct, the script looks in keeping with the weapon—it doesn't have to have been added later (many kindjal are made with such inscriptions). I personally don't see any stray marks, just various "dots and lines" common to such scripts. But let's wait for someone who can actually read it, my opinion on caucasian arms is worth very little, my knowledge of arabic (/ perso-arabic / whatever) even less.

Quote:
The blackened, almost tear drop shaped mark at one end of the inscription is a deep gouge. I'm wondering if there was something there originally (I don't know enough about swords, so my guesses range from a gem to a sigil or crest) that was pried out when the sword found a new owner.


For what it's worth, I've seen similar designs before on kindjal without anything in them. But that doesn't mean anything conclusively.

Congrats on your find! Happy

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
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Aryn Chris




Location: Denver
Joined: 24 Apr 2010

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon 26 Apr, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean-Carle: Thanks! ^_^ And yes-- I'm still trying to get a clearer photo, but a friend helped me compare it to various language samples. It looks most like Persian-Farsi, of the languages I looked at, but some of the squiggles look more like Urdu... I'm hoping to find someone locally who would know the difference, if I can't manage a clearer photo.

Good point about the USSR. I did indeed forget about that!

Gabriel: Thank you for the welcome and confirmation that it's a kindjal. ^^ There is something I'm curious about--and yes, I'm aware of how much ignorance this reveals--but what's the advantage of a forward balance?

The picture mostly shows the inscription, true... unfortunately, until and unless I can get a much clearer photo, the messiness is something you'll have to take my word on. The extra random little marks are clearly different from the intended marks, I'm not saying there could be any confusion when reading the inscription, but it's just generally messy... sloppy, at least.

Quote:
For what it's worth, I've seen similar designs before on kindjal without anything in them. But that doesn't mean anything conclusively.

? I'm not quite sure I understand. Similar designs as in a gouge, or similar designs as in flat metal where that gouge is?



Thank you both so much! ^_^ I'll have to go hug the friend that directed me here-- I'd never have found this forum on my own!
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Gottfried P. Doerler




Location: Tyrol, Austria
Joined: 11 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Apr, 2010 1:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i think the story with WW I may not be so far from truth.
i`ve seen some very similar pieces in museums here in austria, said to have been captured from southern russian troops.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Apr, 2010 7:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not Gabriel, but I can tell you the basics of balance. It's something I and everyone who makes or assembles swords struggles to get right. If you look at the reviews section of this site you'll find Point of Balance statistics for every weapon because it's so important. In every case I can think of, you need more weight in the blade so it can do its work. Imagine using a hammer with a steel haft and wooden head. Awkward and pretty much useless. A sword with more weight in the guard and grip would feel much the same.

Notice, though, that different blade types demand different points of balance. A single hand sword will typically have a different POB than a longsword. Long, broad cutting blade vs. short, narrow thrusting blade, etc. The pommel helps determine where the POB will be. Logically, then, a sword without a pommel or with a wooden pommel will have what we would call significant blade presence. With a short blade like yours or like the Roman gladius this is not a problem and is even necessary to ensure that there's enough blade presence to get the job done efficiently. As the blade gets longer, though, the weapon will start to feel heavy and unwieldy without a counterweight (pommel). Even a long, relatively heavy blade can feel light and lively when well balanced for its mission.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Gabriel Lebec
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Apr, 2010 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean said it better than I could. :-)

And FYI I was talking about seeing similar "gouges" on other kindjal—although to be fair usually they were more crisply defined and perhaps not as deep, more obviously engravings than what I'd call gouges. Same placement and similar shape(s) though.

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Apr, 2010 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I feel confident in saying that your sword was meant to be used as a weapon, so you have an advantage over many folks on the subject of balance--you now know what a real Kindjal should feel like.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Simon G.




Location: Lyons, France
Joined: 02 Jun 2008

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Posts: 238

PostPosted: Wed 28 Apr, 2010 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Regarding the sloppiness of the inscription, keep in mind that one can be a good bladesmith, without being very skilled at carving inscriptions ! I'd say this vouches for the authenticity of the piece. Most modern replicas, even good ones, tend to have crisper lines, because they are machine-made. But this inscription here looks quite like those on many historical blades.

And congrats on this find, it's a beautiful piece !
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