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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jan, 2014 12:10 am    Post subject: Western European Khyber knife blades?         Reply with quote

Hi myArmoury,

I've been getting back into my cutlery habit after quite a long hiatus, finishing up some projects and looking at messer.

Looking at the messer in Talhoffer's 1459 Armatur und Ringkunst (PDF here and online version here)



It struck me, as it has struck others in the past that these knives look an awful lot like Khyber knives/Pesh-Kabz but mounted with a European rather than Asian style hilt.



Since I'm thinking of having one made I'm curious as to how plausible this is. I suspect, but don't know, that there was more than enough contact between central Asian and western European cultures to have imported the blade style into Europe.

To me the blade style makes a lot of sense as a messer. The T-section blade makes for a strongly reinforced point and a vey stiff thrusting weapon without sacrificing cutting ability.

The question I have is does anyone know of examples of this blade style on western European weapons from the 15th-16th century other than that Talhoffer manuscript?

Many thanks.



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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,237

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jan, 2014 2:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I always thought the line close to the back is a narrow fuller, but now I think you may be right, it might be a t-back...
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Sa'ar Nudel




Location: Haifa, Israel
Joined: 02 Dec 2005
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Posts: 355

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jan, 2014 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it is highly unlikely to be of T-section.
In all the dozens of period messers I have seen in European collections, there is none.
What seems to you as T spine may well be the artist way to show the thickness of the blade, as they were mostly flat forged, sometimes with fullers.
You can see the nagel is positioned 'unnaturally', as the depiction is not so realistic, due to the time period.

Curator of Beit Ussishkin, regional nature & history museum, Upper Galilee.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jan, 2014 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i think the T cross section is unlikely as well. I've been looking into Bauernwehr's a little bit a close cousin to messers and other longs knifes. all the ones I've seen photo'd have a pretty thick spine on them. and in general knifes of the period are robust in the spine.
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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jan, 2014 9:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to agree with Sa'ar, I think we are seeing the artist's representation of a thick spine. I am intrigued by the odd nagels on the weapons, they are so uniformly depicted between the two that I suspect it is something other than contorted depiction due to the physical position - I would guess either the artist was working from memory and didn't fully understand how a typical messer hilt was assembled, and did his best to recreate on paper the thing he saw in his memory (being more an expert on his craft than the cutler's), or he has depicted them very accurately and we are seeing an unusual (rare, or limited regionally) hilt form.

I've been pretty much obsessed with messers and similar big knives since this forum turned me on to them many years ago, and I don't recall ever definitively seeing an original with a pronounced "T" spine. Or a nagel like these, for that matter.

Best,
Eric
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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Thu 13 Feb, 2014 1:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for your input, I really appreciate it.
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Thu 13 Feb, 2014 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If your looking for a European knife that resembles a Khyber pesh khabz look at rugger knives from the Bohemian region. The depiction from the manual shows messer.
But I agree that what you are looking at is a fuller and not a T back like the pesh khabs.
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 495

PostPosted: Thu 13 Feb, 2014 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: Western European Khyber knife blades?         Reply with quote

Al Muckart wrote:
Hi myArmoury,

I've been getting back into my cutlery habit after quite a long hiatus, finishing up some projects and looking at messer.

Looking at the messer in Talhoffer's 1459 Armatur und Ringkunst (PDF here and online version here)



It struck me, as it has struck others in the past that these knives look an awful lot like Khyber knives/Pesh-Kabz but mounted with a European rather than Asian style hilt.



Since I'm thinking of having one made I'm curious as to how plausible this is. I suspect, but don't know, that there was more than enough contact between central Asian and western European cultures to have imported the blade style into Europe.

To me the blade style makes a lot of sense as a messer. The T-section blade makes for a strongly reinforced point and a vey stiff thrusting weapon without sacrificing cutting ability.

The question I have is does anyone know of examples of this blade style on western European weapons from the 15th-16th century other than that Talhoffer manuscript?

Many thanks.

The T-section blade makes for a strongly reinforced point and a vey stiff thrusting weapon without sacrificing cutting ability.
if youyr cuts are swallow, yes
If you try to cut with any depth the T section will impede how deep you can cut by a great amount
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Benjamin Floyd II





Joined: 13 Dec 2008

Posts: 82

PostPosted: Fri 14 Feb, 2014 1:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Egenolff



None of the extant messers I've seen had a T-back. Of course, that's not to say they didn't exist. I think the line near the back of the messer is actually just showing the thickness of the spine.



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