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Title Balkan handschar (European yatagan)
Nationality Austrian
Period c 1760
Sold
 (This item is subject to special postage, click here for more information.)

This silver-mounted, horn-gripped sword was carried by officers in the Grenzer regiments of the Imperial Austrian army in the many border skirmishes and sometimes open warfare on the Turkish frontier, which stretched from the Adriatic to Transylvania, about 1,000 kilometres (approximately 1,600 miles).

The blade (22.75" long), probably made in Passau or possibly Solingen, shows typical mid-18th-century Germany engraving with a Turk's head on both sides and a man-in-the-moon symbol. The hilt shows marked Slavonic influence. Two silver rings were mounted on the scabbard and these have now been lost. There is also some minor damage to the stitching on the seam, stretching for 1.5-2". Extraordinary to find a scabbard at all for such a weapon, made of very fine calf leather. The chape in iron could possibly be a working life replacement or, in view of the tough conditions of service, was made this way in the first place.

It could well be that this is specifically a Croatian piece, but this needs further research - there must be musuems in Zagreb and certainly a very fine one in Kotor, Montenegro, which would have examples and some more certain knowledge of the provenance of this weapon.

For a good history of the Grenzer regiments, see the Osprey Men-at-Arms series: 'The Austrian Army 1740-80: 3 Specialist Troops' by Philip Haythornthwaite & Bill Younghusband and 'Austrian Auxiliary Troops 1792-1816' by Dave Hollins & Bill Younghusband, which has among other things a map of the area.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.


[Edged Weapons : Swords : Austrian : 18th Century]

testimonials

I received the Norwegian Krag bayonet and it is more than I expected. Absolutely beautiful condition. Thank you very much.

D K, USA, 12.04.2016

Found the item a little on the expensive side and a bit disappointed that you were unwilling to bend a bit on the price of the Officer's Tunic Eagle (half the fun of buying, after all, is the haggling), but impressed by the speed of delivery and the quality of the item. Was well worth it in the long run...

G F, UK, 30.08.2005

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