Artifact of the Day


Shamshir (saber)

Probably Persian with Turkish decoration (1800s)

Single edged curved watered steel blade. Steel short crossguard terminating in flattened spheres. Ivory grip plaques with silver braided wire between grip & crossguard. Silver strapping & right angled pommel with floral repoussée work. Silver applied decoration seems Ottoman in style, and doesn't fit well physically or stylistically with the rest, suggesting redecoration to suit Ottoman tastes.

Steel blade of wedge section, having a slightly rounded back and a single cutting edge and no yalman. The blade extends straight from the hilt to about mid length, at which point it begins to curve back. The blade is rather uniform in its depth, to the foible, where it narrows more acutely. The blade section is also rather uniform and thick to this point. The blade is plain, and without decoration. The hilt is typical, having an iron guard of nearly lozenge appearance, extending down onto the blade in short, narrow langets, and having short straight quillon of square section, with small, flattened pillow-like terminals. The guard also has langets extending onto the grip, but these are covered by twisted silver wire wrapping, itself intertwined on both front and rear. Some form of organic filler appears between the guard and the blade. The slim grip is short and straight, with rounded side pieces of walrus (?) ivory secured to the tang by a pair of brass, flatened rivets. The pommel is thimble shaped, and bends forward at nearly a right angle to the grip. The pommel, and the front and rear faces of the grip are covered with this silver sheeting. This is embossed and chased with running floral tendrils and ascendent petalled motives.