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Title Mameluke style axe
Nationality Ottoman
Period 18th century
Price £650.00

This parade axe has a blade just over 13" top to bottom and would have been carried in front of local authorities as a symbol of office, much like the use of the fasces in ancient Rome. When the Mamelukes were finally crushed in a revolt against the Ottoman Sultan in 1516-17, this practice was transferred to the Ottoman empire.

Axes of this size and origin rarely come on the market. The shaft is bamboo with brass mounts and is clearly of some age, but almost certainly of more recent origin than the axe head. The axe is quite crudely engraved with various motifs: the tree of life and Mameluke blazons in particular.

There is a small age crack, about a centimetre deep, near one point and extensive bruising to both faces of the axe. The iron is a mix: light patches of old grease-impregnated surface rust and a lighter grey colour with some brighter highlights suggestive of historic maintenance.

David Edge of the Wallace Collection in London kindly looked at this for me and in his opinion this is not a 19th century axe by virtue of its solid construction, but rather a 17th/18th century provincial Ottoman piece. He tested the edge for hardness and it came up soft, ie regular iron of the same ilk as the rest of the axe.

NB: The illustration comes from Axes of War and Power by J D Gamble, published 2002.

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

[Edged Weapons : Polearms : Ottoman : 18th Century]


The sabre arrived perfectly. Magnificent piece.

B V, Spain, 17.08.2016

Swords mattered [arrived?]. I am very content. You still have which good swords for the sale?

H K, Germany, 17.10.2005