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New Gallery Of Ancient Bronze Weaponry From Western Asia

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 Posted 04/29/2022  2:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another interesting and rare type of dagger, just delivered this week.



AE Dagger #13
NW Iran, Possibly Amlash
1200 - 800 BC
40.6 cm (16")

Cf. Khorasani (Arms and Armor from Iran), Cat. 34 (for similar penannular guard)
Cf. Mahboubian (Art of Ancient Iran: Copper and Bronze), 393 (for similar blade and penannular guard)

Description:
Mold-cast blade with wide, flat midrib; penannular guard; hilt cast upon blade via lost wax process; pommel and upper portion of grip broken off or removed.
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 Posted 04/29/2022  5:04 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent addition Bob, I would love to see what these pieces looked like when they were first made. You should see about having one made. I have two reproductions swords that can be used in combat, one is a 11th century Viking sword and the other 14th century medieval sword.
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 Posted 04/29/2022  5:32 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another lovely addition Bob...
Quite a mean looking dagger, no messing around with one!
Interesting how the penannular (broken circle) "guard" doesn't seem to really "guard" anything?, apart from the flow of blood...
What would the grip have looked like?


Quote:
Looks to be in good condition Bob and a very nice example!
I have two reproductions swords that can be used in combat, one is a 11th century Viking sword and the other 14th century medieval sword.
...Love to see some photos Ron.
Edited by Palouche
04/29/2022 5:35 pm
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 Posted 04/29/2022  5:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, guys.

I agree, Paul. The guard seems to have been more decorative than practical.


Quote:
What would the grip have looked like?


Not sure. I've seen (in reference books) blades with these penannular guards that have "mushroom pommels":



But here's an alternative form (a different type of pommel) below. This one is from Amlash in northwestern Iran. It has a more ornamented grip than mine, but a similar blade with the wide, pronounced midrib near the grip, that tapers toward the point:

Edited by Bob L
04/29/2022 5:53 pm
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 Posted 04/29/2022  6:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hmm that's interesting Bob as the examples you've shown seem to imply that the grip was cast along with the dagger itself?...Whereas your example seems to have a spigot which maybe impaled a wooden, bone or even an ivory pommel?...Just throwing some ideas in here..
Edited by Palouche
04/29/2022 6:04 pm
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 Posted 04/29/2022  6:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've read, in Khorasani, that the blades were created first and that the grips were cast over them, via lost wax method. So, no doubt, the tangs of the blades are embedded within the grips on the complete specimens from the books.
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 Posted 04/29/2022  7:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes I understand the manufacture of the blade and grip but it's the end of the grip, the want of a better word, Pommel that's confusing me?....Is this also bronze?
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 Posted 04/29/2022  7:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes - bronze, Paul.
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 Posted 04/29/2022  7:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
How was this attached as it is obviously a separate entity?
Edited by Palouche
04/29/2022 7:11 pm
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 Posted 04/29/2022  7:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Paul, I'm editing my reply here. I've been thinking about your question - trying to understand what you're asking. I think I have a handle on it now. (Pardon that really bad pun!) In rereading your comments, I think you are asking about the missing part - the part that was above (in sword parlance) the exposed tang. (It's actually below in my photos, given their orientation.)

Some of this requires a bit of speculation. To begin with, regarding your comment "...it is obviously a separate entity?": I believe that may be incorrect. In the case of the "mushroom" pommel swords above, for example, I believe the pommels were contiguous, connected, in one piece, with the cast-on grip that encased the tang. It was one form that was cast over the "upper" portion of the blade and the tang. On my dagger, that casting created a perfect bond at the area of the guard - it is seamless. But the bond was less homogeneous over the upper portion of the tang.

But, as I write in the description under the picture of my dagger above, "pommel and upper portion of grip broken off or removed".

Here's where some speculation comes in. When the item was listed at auction, the end portion of the grip looked like the following, and the description included this: "Please note that the end (4.5 cm) of the grip has been repaired." In fact, it was not so much of a repair as it was, simply, a bronze end cap, not original to the weapon, stuck over the exposed portion of the tang. That cap may be from another ancient trinket of some sort, but it may have been placed on the dagger in recent times. I removed it upon receiving the dagger since it is not original to the piece.



I suspect that the upper portion of the grip (the part that is missing) was never fully bonded to the tang as the "lower" part (where the tang meets the shoulders of the blade) definitely is. Furthermore, I speculate that it (the upper portion of the grip) was damaged or broken off when the dagger was, presumably, excavated. I think it's likely that the grip in that busted area may have been jagged, sort of like the end of the broken bronze that was cast over the iron tang on this pommel I own:
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/g...E_Hilt_1.jpg

I believe it's possible, then, that the grip was cut (perhaps in modern times) straight around the circumference, producing a fairly straight edge, to allow the end cap to be placed over the exposed tang, for cosmetic reasons.

As for the next one: Last night I won an ugly, but very important dagger - this time an iron one. I think it may have been misattributed, as I'll explain in a future post. I look forward to having it in hand, and sharing my thoughts.
Edited by Bob L
04/30/2022 08:28 am
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 Posted 04/30/2022  11:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
https://books.openedition.org/momeditions/8181
Thanks Bob that cleared up my query thanks..
You might find the link interesting, has some great photos.
Edited by Palouche
04/30/2022 11:34 am
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 Posted 04/30/2022  3:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the link, Paul. That article may be punching a hole through my theory (of a damaged hilt being cut back from the end of the tang in modern times for cosmetic reasons).

Below is the article's illustration for Iron Age II daggers with crescent guards. Most apparently had iron blades and bronze handles - on my example, both are bronze. Note the red arrows I added, pointing towards the two at lower left. These clearly show tangs of the blades projecting out of the upper part of the hilts, just like mine. So, apparently, this was part of the design. I think, then, that my earlier speculation - which I deleted for my edited version above - may have been correct after all. I had said that the pommel, assuming my dagger had one at one time, may have been attached separately, somehow mounted on the end of the tang. If so, perhaps my dagger had a pommel, maybe of the cotton reel (a.k.a. double-disk) type, like the fourth in that grouping at lower left. It's hard for me to believe the tang was supposed to just stick out of the grip like the two at left (and like mine), with no decorative ending. But, I guess it's possible.


Edited by Bob L
04/30/2022 3:12 pm
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 Posted 04/30/2022  4:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Glad the article was interesting for you Bob, it certainly was for me and I thoroughly enjoyed reading through it...

Yes sorry Bob I think we were at cross purposes I didn't clarify exactly my confusion...I agree that the 2 illustrations you've highlighted scream " not finished" surely your hand would just slip off?...Also I notice the Sang Tarashan diagrams (middle example) needs an end?..This is why I thought maybe a wooden pommel at the end of the grip would be needed but as you've explained it would definitely be of bronze...I also enjoyed how the article illustrated how the tang was attached to the blade, showing the slits...
Just as a side note..The piece you took off of the grip looks to have exactly the same patina?

Looking forward to seeing your new iron purchase..
Edited by Palouche
04/30/2022 4:11 pm
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 Posted 05/04/2022  1:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Congratulations on the latest rare dagger, Bob.

Quote:
I've read, in Khorasani, that the blades were created first and that the grips were cast over them, via lost wax method. So, no doubt, the tangs of the blades are embedded within the grips on the complete specimens from the books.

The texts between yourself and Paul makes very interesting and informative reading. Using the lost wax casting method was an innovative way of forming the grip. Super images and illustrations as always.
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 Posted 05/12/2022  5:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A very special dagger pickup - well, maybe...

Since I began collecting ancient weaponry a few years back, I've really wanted to acquire an ancient Parthian dagger or spearhead. Since I have collected Parthian coins for thirty years, a Parthian edged weapon would be a real score for me.

However, they are exceedingly rare. The few examples I've seen on the market were - I believe - fakes. (Including one currently listed at auction from a seller with a bad rep.)

Parthian daggers, swords, and spearheads were typically manufactured in iron. Accordingly, the examples from museum collections and references that I've seen are usually in fair condition at best. None that have survived are in pristine shape, it seems.

Here are some documented examples, the top three from the Iran Bastan Museum, the bottom three (a sword and two daggers) excavated from graves near the Iranian village of Vestemin in northern Iran:



And here are more examples of Parthian swords and daggers, from Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani's Arms and Armour from Iran. These are from Gilan (NW Iran), and are housed in the collection of the National Museum of Iran in Tehran. As Khorasani points out, Parthian daggers "have quillons (cross guards) similar to the quillons of the Parthian swords.":



The dagger below arrived today. It was listed as coming from a German collection that spanned the 1950's - 1970's, before being sold to an American collection:



The listing had it as 2nd century AD Roman. While that attribution is, perhaps, possible, I think it is likely inaccurate. It is unlike any legitimate Roman daggers or "pugiones" that I have seen, all of which have more ornate grips, often in addition to differently shaped and proportioned blades. Of course, I freely admit I am no expert with any of this material.

The challenge here, of course, is the dagger's very economical form - an example of form following function, with no embellishments or other features that might definitively pin it to a specific culture and period. It could be ancient, but then again it could be medieval.

On the other hand, it seems quite similar to the Parthian swords and daggers of the 1st through 2nd centuries AD from north and northwest Iran. The thickness and shape of the quillon is a close match, as is the blade shape and length, and the tang-like grip - which I suppose might have been embedded or wrapped in another material in antiquity.

Complicating the attribution, somewhat, is the fact that some early Sassanian (3rd - early 4th centuries AD) edged weaponry from Gilan (northwest Iran) seems nearly indistinguishable from those of the defeated Parthians, although it seems they have sometimes survived in slightly better condition:



(Later Sassanian edged weaponry became much more ornamented.)

Given my dagger's relatively decent condition, it may be Sassanian rather than Parthian, assuming it is indeed from ancient Iran rather than ancient or medieval Europe.

The dagger will be cataloged in my collection with question marks: "Parthian? Early Sassanian? 1st - 4th century AD?". I'm hopeful I'm on the right track, but I invite other opinions that might bust my bubble.
Edited by Bob L
05/12/2022 5:58 pm
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