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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Indo Persian Shamshire Reply to topic
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David Cooper




Location: UK
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Sat 25 Nov, 2017 11:43 pm    Post subject: Indo Persian Shamshire         Reply with quote

Another addition to my collection. This one purchased at auction. It was described as a scimitar, I hope I am right to call it a shamshir.

Catalogue description:
Early 19th c Indo Persian Scimitar, 31 inch single edged, curved, watered Damascus steel blade. Steel disk ended cross-guard with double langets. Polished wooden grips with inlaid star and stud decoration. Silvered disk decorated slab overlays leading to the silvered floral decorated cap pommel. Base of grip with twist silvered wire binding.

My Stats:
Weight, sword: 1lb 10.5oz (0.75kg)
Length overall: 36'' (91.5cm) Blade: 31'' (79cm) measured across the arc of the blade.
POB: 8'' (20cm) from middle of cross-guard
Profile taper: 1.23'' (31.4mm) at ricasso, 1.08'' (27.4mm)at mid blade, 0.58'' (14.7mm) 2 inches from tip.
Distal taper 0.21'' 5.3mm) at ricasso, 0.15'' (4mm)at mid blade,. 0.09'' (2.2mm) 2 inches from tip.

Hilt missing some of the stud and star decorative inlays and two of the silver rosettes. Metal appears to be silver or an alloy thereof, not silver plate.
I think the description "watered Damascus steel" is a bit poetic. I wouldn't know wootz if it bit me but I feel fairly confident to describe this as mechanical damascus or pattern welded steel. I have used a weak solution of ferric chloride to bring out the pattern. The early 19th-century date may also be a bit optimistic, I would think late 19th, early 20th century.
Anyway please feel free to chime in, I welcome any and all suggestions/comments, particularly as regards terminology, origin and date.



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Geoffroy Gautier





Joined: 18 Nov 2009

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Sun 26 Nov, 2017 1:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree that this probably isn't wootz: it is way too linear and "layery", it almost looks like some sort of sandstone or stromatolite, something which, as far as I know, never happens in a crucible. But I can't help you dating the hilt.
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William Fox




Location: Great Britain
Joined: 05 Jan 2017
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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 6:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have seen several examples of Solingen pattern welded blades supplied to Arab and North African customers, and hilted in their own cultural style. This could be a 19th Century German blade that mades its way to the Middle East and was hilted there.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 11:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This link to a youtube video on Scholagladitoria by Mat Easton showing how he cleaned and revealed a wootz pattern on a saber.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JqLLhoSmXc

I am not necessarily recommending cleaning the blade and doing the same thing if you don't know what you are doing, but the video does explain a lot about wootz and towards the end of the video one can see the pattern reasonably well, although it's probably harder to see on a video that up close in real life.

Matt has a few other videos dealing with wootz that should should be able to find with a site SEARCH.


I'm not sure but I don't know if your sword is wootz or pattern welding, but I'm betting on pattern welding or an artificially etched blade made to look like pattern welding ? This doesn't mean that the sword isn't authentic as this was sometimes done for aesthetic reasons.

It may very well be pattern welded, I'm just suggesting options, and it's hard to tell from a pic.

Since you already used some ferric chloride you already know about the method used by Matt in his video: Not sure how much cleaning is wise to do with an antique as it can at times reduce value if the cleaning is too aggressive ?

Hope this helps a bit.


I have been able to produce some fake pattern welding on modern blades using things like lemon juice, yellow mustard and even instant coffee grounds to create artificial " grey-ish " patina and the coffee grounds seemed to work the best in bringing out contrast in the pattern, and with some luck some occasionally nice etching patterns on blade: But that is sort of another Topic ..... Wink Big Grin

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David Cooper




Location: UK
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 108

PostPosted: Tue 09 Jan, 2018 2:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks all. I'm probably not going to do much more in the way of cleaning. I am now pretty sure it is pattern welded. I think if the pattern was just etched on then using ferric chloride would have removed or altered the pattern rather than just making it stronger as it did. I did get a suggestion on another forum that it was something called sham wootz, which is apparently different from false wootz. As I said I will settle for pattern welded.
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William Fox




Location: Great Britain
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jan, 2018 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In fact I attach here a photograph of an Imperial German Navy Officers sword blade, made of hand forged 'Damascus' steel in Solingen between 1890-1914. Of course what the German wordsmiths called True Damascus, or Echt Damast, was actually pattern welded steel, and very beautiful, but not the same as Wootz 'Damascus', or crucible steel blades.

Anyhow, I am pretty sure that this Arabian style hilted sword has a nineteenth century pattern welded blade made in Solingen Germany.



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David Cooper




Location: UK
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri 12 Jan, 2018 3:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those Solingen blades did get about a bit, didn't they! Wink
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