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40,4 cm / sheathed 47 cm
steel, iron, horn, brass
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region, late 19th C.
For sale from a private collection. An antique dagger referred to as a pesh-kabz. These daggers were worn among others by the infamous Pashtun of the Khyber region.
It has a long, slender blade with a 11mm T-shaped spine reinforcement that provides great stiffness to an otherwise thin blade. A secondary bevel forms the still very sharp edge. It has a steel bolster and steel hilt, with on either side a slab of horn with a nice gradient from blond do darker brown near the pommel.
The top of the spine is chiseled to form a ridgeline and there is some engraved decoration in the Persian style. On top of the steel bolster is written "٢١", 21 in Arabic numerals.
The wooden scabbard is covered with brass plating, punched and chased with with traditional scroll motifs. It has a characteristic upturned scabbard end. Considering this is a tribal items the condition is very good.
The piece comes from Han Hendriks (1919-2008), a notable Dutch blacksmith with a forge in the Balistraat, The Hague. He kept a study collection of antique ironwork from around the world.
Below a photo by John Burke late 1870's of a pashtu warrior with a similare dagger type.
1. Egerton illustrates an example that comes from Bannu, in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. See: Lord Egerton of Tatton: Indian and Oriental Arms and Armour. Dover Publications; Revised edition, 2002. Page 130, number 624 & plate XIV.
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