A fine Ottoman Shamshir with original scabbard and gold mounts.
The term ‘Shamshir’ refers to blade types with radical curves. The term itself takes inspiration from nature, and means ‘lion fang’, and these blades are made to represent the design as such. Shamshirs are single edged and were originally used with a single hand. However, the Ottoman Shamshirs are welded with both due to the larger hilt (though can still be used with one). This example features a horn hilt in the traditional ‘pistol’ grip. The horn shows great color with no cracks or damages. The two horn slabs are held together at the rounded pommel with a steel bolster, decorated with gold, though much of the gold on the bolsters no longer remains. The tang also features gold koftgari in geometrical patterns. The ‘T’ section or ‘Quillon’ and ‘Quillon block’ are also covered in corresponding gold koftgari to match the tang. The preservation of the gold is great, with more than 90% of it being intact. The long Quillons provide a nice separation and spacing for the hands, be it single or double.
The steel blade features fine watering patterns on both sides of the blade, throughout the entire length, with no disruptions. Thus the finely watered steel blade provides a high contrast pattern. The blade is single edged with the inner false edge featuring a thicker edge with an etched pattern.
The original wooden scabbard is covered in what seems to be black hide, stitched together at the rear. The scabbard provides a great texture and adds an organic touch to this already fine Ottoman Shamshir. En suite are two metal chapes, covered in geometrical koftgari. Towards the centre of the scabbard are two lockets with langets, both covered in matching koftgari. These were used to attach the carrying strap or to hand ornamental decorative straps.
Overall, a very fine Ottoman Shamshir, with original mounts and gold koftgari. Largely in a great state of preservation and a complete Shamshir for collectors interested in Eastern Arms.
Hales, Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: a Lifetime’s Passion, London, 2013, p.213, no.521.
M M. Khorasani (2006) Arms and armour from Iran: the bronze age of the end of the Qajar period. Legat.