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Ian Grant





Joined: 07 Nov 2012

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sat 10 Nov, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject: Identifying my old knife collection         Reply with quote

Afternoon,

Further to an earlier post where some kind folks helped me identify my old flintlock, I wonder if there is anyone with any insight into these knives?

I have had them all my life, and its only now I'm putting them in a nice display case.

As per the old pistol, it would be nice if I could put a name to them!



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Ian Grant





Joined: 07 Nov 2012

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Has no one any ideas on these?

100+ folks have viewed them but not a reply-does this mean they are rare and nobody can identify them?
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A. Spanjer




Location: USA
Joined: 26 Apr 2009

Posts: 242

PostPosted: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They look middle eastern to me, probably 20th century. But that's just a guess, I don't really know.

Give it a little more time and someone will probably answer with some better information.

Na sir 's na seachain an cath.
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Gene W




Location: The South Of England
Joined: 01 Dec 2010

Posts: 116

PostPosted: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Ian
I'll help you out.

1. Looks Syrian, souvenir knife circa 1950s/60s. Would help to see the blade (on all TBH)
2. Interesting, Probobly Indian, circa 1940s/50s. A seemingly reasonable quality 'belt knife'.
3. Syria/Lebanon souvenir dagger, circa 1960s.
4. North African, Sudan . Circa 50s/60s approx. Might have a fullered blade or even an inscription. Probobly Taureg, known as an 'arm dagger' as worn on the arm.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That last looks like a Sudanese dagger. Similar examples: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://ww...mp;dur=110 http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread....Arm-Dagger

Last edited by Scott Woodruff on Sun 11 Nov, 2012 1:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ian Grant wrote:
Has no one any ideas on these?

100+ folks have viewed them but not a reply-does this mean they are rare and nobody can identify them?


Sometimes good quality answers take longer than 24 hours to get (or ~21 hours between your first and second post in this thread). Please have patience.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Ian:

- Nos. 1 & 3 definitely look very similar to some pieces that I 'inherited', so to speak. The previous resident of my house spent some years in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and India. When she passed on she left behind numerous knives / daggers which I am certain were made there. The years she acquired them would have been in the early to mid 1950's.

Ceylon / Sri Lanka and India traded heavily with the Middle East & N. Africa (I assume they still do) and were influenced by that trade, and vice versa. Ceylonese or Indian made pieces would often reflect those influences which can, but not always, make it challenging to assess exactly where such products were made. I would guess that 50% of mine actually say 'Made in India', not much to think about in those cases.

- No. 2 is also similar to some that I have, but not as much. Middle East or even Pakistan seems reasonable.
- No. 4 looks a bit outside of those that I have, but the snake skin on the sheath (cobra?) speaks of India, but IMO it also has a N. African flair or influence to it.

I think souvenir knives is a fair description. Although there could be some actual functionality (mine could be used in mayhem), but in general they lack the heft of a serious dagger, but are enjoyable to look at and make interesting souvenirs.

Thanks for posting them, a pleasure.

Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Ian Grant





Joined: 07 Nov 2012

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 5:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all so much for such knowledgable answers, I do hope I didn't come across as impatient, I merely thought that folks who downloaded them genuinely didn't know what they were, and thus my wee brain whirred, 'rare'!!

Truly expansive answers, thank you, I'm humbled by your knowledge of these just by looking! I shall upload the blade images tomorrow for further appraisal.

My grandfather was in North Africa for a while during the war, and these came from him. He's still going strong but he doesn't know the specifics of each one. So that makes sense with North Africa coming up.
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Gene W




Location: The South Of England
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Nov, 2012 2:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Ian.

Just to elaborate on some of my earlier answers.

#1. Shows strong similarities with Syrian souvenir knives, which is why I place it there or thereabouts:


#2. This appears to be a forerunner or more 'usabe' version of the souvenir knives made in India from the end of the war onwards. The souvenir versions are often made with simple poor quality blades that have a 'stamped' or etched pattern with nickel plating.
They are sometimes marked 'INDIA' And the earlier ones are often marked 'VICTORY', there are many, many slight variations:



NOW, as I said, what you have is one of the more usable versions. Kind of inbetween those souvenir types above and this one which is clearly marked: INDIA 1943 (and is in an incorrect sheath):



#3. These are usually claimed as Syrian souvenir knives, but show strong similarities with the Jezzine knives from Lebanon which is why I mentioned it as a possibility.
The cast brass sheath is the same as those of many Syrian soouvenir knives and the 'dot' hilt decoration is familiar to several types of souvenir and tradition Khanjar/knife of that area. The fat handle appears to be a specific type as it shows up quite often, which is probobly distincive to one area (perhaps a single city/town or even village).
To show you what I mean, I'll show you a couple of 'related' knives.
First the distincive 'bird hilt' knives from Jezzine Lebanese knives (note the dot decoration):


Next the famous 'Druze' and 'Damascus' types (bear in mind that your's is a 'souvenir version' of this general type, so these are to show the 'origin'):

Here's an article that I co-wrote over at Vikingsword where I discuss these in some depth..
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13979


#4. Lastly, your Sudanese 'arm dagger'.
These are a very well known type:


Have a look at this thread:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4070

Anyway, hope that makes it clearer.
ATB
Gene
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Nov, 2012 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To follow up and generally support Gene's informed analysis, knowing with great confidence the knives in my possession were purchased in Ceylon / Sri Lanka or India.

I have the exact knife below, same scabbard,


I note these with Arabic. Same knife as above, different scabbards.


I also have one very, very similar to these, with the dots. Again, all from India or Ceylon / Sri Lanka.


It certainly can get a bit confusing.
Gene said:
Quote:
... there are many, many slight variations ...
True indeed.

Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Ed S.




Location: San Diego
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Nov, 2012 12:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ian Grant wrote:
Thank you all so much for such knowledgeable answers, I do hope I didn't come across as impatient, I merely thought that folks who downloaded them genuinely didn't know what they were, and thus my wee brain whirred, 'rare'!!


That's fair. Just remember that many people, myself included, swing by just to take a look at potentially cool pointy objects. I'm not anywhere near knowledgeable enough to do any more than that, so I go on my way afterward Happy
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Gene W




Location: The South Of England
Joined: 01 Dec 2010

Posts: 116

PostPosted: Mon 12 Nov, 2012 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jon,

If yours are of those specific types then they were imports and not native blades of India/Ceylon.
Not uncommon of course for blades to be traded into India, but the Jezzine and Syrian types are Iconic and region specific.

With the Syrian Khanjars, that extends to the point that you can actually in some cases tell the specific district that they come from.
For some background take a look at this thread:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13979&
If you look at my pair in the above picture you can see the familiar diamond section blade with somewhat 'scrawling' Arabic etched inscriptions usually associated with the Druze village/town of Majdal Shams (مجدل شمس) in the Golan Heights. However, in this case these daggers have the round section hilts USUALLY associated with Damascus and not the flat sided hilts usually associated with Majdal Shams.
So these are a slight hybrid of the two main forms, but still specifically Syrian.
The bird form hilted 'similar' daggers from Jezzine are similarly region specific.
Can you post pictures of your examples please?

ATB
Gene
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Nov, 2012 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gene:

Let it be said that this knife type and the regions involved are not my area of research and significant interest. My observations are only based upon what I have and how I ended up with them. I believe my previous statements account for much of what you have verified:
Quote:
Ceylon / Sri Lanka and India traded heavily with the Middle East & N. Africa (I assume they still do) and were influenced by that trade, and vice versa. Ceylonese or Indian made pieces would often reflect those influences which can, but not always, make it challenging to assess exactly where such products were made.

You clearly have done more research on these than myself. However, I do find this thread interesting in that we are able to discover some the differences between souvenir pieces (in spite of such, do involve interesting, hand done work) and the more substantial original knife / dagger influences. Glad you are around to set us straight.

Yes, I will post some pictures. Be aware that my wife's camera is less then optimal. So, I can blame the images on her camera. Wink

Regards and thanks, Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Ian Grant





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PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2012 4:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Again, thank you guys.

I was unaware that there was such a distinction between 'souvenir' knives, and 'real' ones. Now that you have pointed me in the right direction, I can see that there is such.

With the 'Syrian' knife, the inside of the sheath does have, what appears to be, a cardboard lining, certainly not indicative of a knife made by some tribesman in order to slaughter his cattle?!

It also has the three stars stamped/engraved on the blade, although it seems a nice and sturdy, heavy knife.


Whilst I can attest to the fact that the rough origins of these knives are middle eastern, as I mentioned the precise whereabouts are unknown. They were collected in the years up to 1945. (end of the war) My grandfather spent a lot of time in Burma, then northern India, then back to Burma. (Fascinating story, but not for this forum, although I guess y'all can't be too squeemish if you're into knives!)
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J. Hargis




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2012 4:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for the delay in getting the pictures up that Gene requested. Nonetheless, here are a few examples of what I mentioned. Clearly in the souvenir category.
- The bird knife is dead on one of Gene's examples.
- The largish brown knife has a hollow handle, but with decent steel and brass, stamped 'Rajba Bros. - India'.
- The small colorful piece is more substantial, full tang even, very sharp.
- And then there's 'the thing' on the right, a peculiar souvenir.

Jon



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Gene W




Location: The South Of England
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov, 2012 3:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jon,
No need to apologise, thanks for sharing your interesting examples.
Even when (as your liitle knife) these types have fully developed into 'souvenirs', they often represent iconic and very traditional ethnographic types.

Your Bird hilt Jezzine knife is a very nice example.

The Wood furnished Indian knife is a familiar export that has been made in various forms for at least 50+ years.
I know of someone who has a large carved wooden peacock in the same style where each of the tailfeathers pull out to reveal a hors d'oeuvres type fork and the hinged wings are a pull out carving set!
Very unusual lol!
This is more 'standard':

There are also examples where the wood is painted and decorated with traditional scenes (usually of warriors on horseback etc).

The little knife is a well made souvenir version of the traditional Syrian type Khanjar.

The Sickle is very interesting. I#m unsure where to place it!
It reminds me of sickles from Nepal and southern India, but then it also reminds me of Malay Parang....
I'm unsure whether to call it a sickle an Arit or a parang! Can we see some more pictures close up please?
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov, 2012 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again, Gene.
Yes, I'll get some close-ups of the sickle piece.

Even though these items are probably considered silly by some, I'm impressed with the hand detailing. It obviously emphasizes the availability of low cost labor in the manufacturing country. Nonetheless, I am comfortable incorporating such work into my collection, which heretofore has been mostly medieval European. Those who are interested often ask me 'What are those?'. Thanks to your knowledge, I can now tell them in more detail.

As an aside:
Who do you think is currently the best source for knives and swords of this genre which are not necessarily 'souvenir' items? IOW, the real deal.

Cheers, Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Gene W




Location: The South Of England
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Posts: 116

PostPosted: Wed 21 Nov, 2012 10:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Hargis wrote:
Hello again, Gene.
Yes, I'll get some close-ups of the sickle piece.

Even though these items are probably considered silly by some, I'm impressed with the hand detailing. It obviously emphasizes the availability of low cost labor in the manufacturing country. Nonetheless, I am comfortable incorporating such work into my collection, which heretofore has been mostly medieval European. Those who are interested often ask me 'What are those?'. Thanks to your knowledge, I can now tell them in more detail.

As an aside:
Who do you think is currently the best source for knives and swords of this genre which are not necessarily 'souvenir' items? IOW, the real deal.

Cheers, Jon


Hi Jon,

Many of these types have become synonymous with their culture and even some relatively modern examples sold to both locals and tourists alike can still be considered 'real'.
Up until fairly recently, everything brought back by travellers was just dismissed as 'souvenirs' and generally held in little or no regard.
Take the Taureg arm daggers for instance.
Sold to tourists and tribesmen alike. Also sold to militias and soldiers to hang next to their AK47s!
Have a look at this thread from Vikingsword, it's an incredible eye-opener:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15858
Some of my nicest Keris were collected in the 1970s from street traders and have very fine baldes and mounts.
Without a doubt the finest Omani Khanjar I've ever seen (and own) were gifts given to Brit's out there in the late 40s and 1950s.

Best sources?
This stuff is still everywhere. Antiques fairs and flea markets are good, but the best source I would guess in the USA woudl still be fleabay. Simply because the prices are low at the moment and you can still buy knives on the US site.
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Gene W




Location: The South Of England
Joined: 01 Dec 2010

Posts: 116

PostPosted: Tue 27 Nov, 2012 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jon,
Just to clarify.
When I say that this stuff is still 'everywhere' I mean that pieces that fall into the general field of vintage and antiques ethnographic weapons are still pretty widely available.
If you specialise in one particular 'area', it becomes more limited. But if you have somewhat 'ecclectic' tastes and more or less 'collect the field'..... then it's certainly easier.
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