Fine Daghestan or Central Asian enamelled silver Shashka sword

Fine Daghestan or Central Asian enamelled silver Shashka sword

 A very attractive and unusual Caucasian sword of Russian style 'Shashka' or Shasqua'. This form of sword was used throughout Russia and the Caucasus and became famous as the sword of the Cossack. Typically it is without a guard to the hilt, and differed from most other eastern swords in being hung from its straps with the blade uppermost, enabling it to be drawn and used with one slashing movement. This example has the most splendid enamelled silver decoration to the front,  noteably the two decorative rosettes beneath each of the hanging rings which are further decorated with niello inlay. Fully enamelled shashkas are extremely rare, it has been suggested that enamelled swords may have become popular fashionable commissions for Russian officers in Kubachi, the famous crafts centre in Daghestan which produced the finest kindjals and metalwork in the Caucasus. This example however seems to have strong Central Asian influence on the enamel inlaid silver designs, so it is very likely that it had connections with Bukhara or Samarkand, maybe even being manufactured there. The construction is unusual in that the silver designs have been applied directly onto the scabbard body to the front in panels, with the various enamelled colours green, blue, white, red black and brown sitting within the decoration in the champleve style. The back of the scabbard shows silver, with traces of gilding which has been cut out for panels of velvet fabric. The sword has the typical split pommel, the insides applied with silver, the pommel halves cut from silver sheet decorated and applied with turquoise enamels in a most attractive pattern, the lower grip of black horn. The blade is of good quality steel, thick, curved and with multiple fullers for strength. The back edge is sharpened. This is a practical fighting sword which despite the fineness of its enamelled decoration would have been used, rather than just a showpiece. The visual impact of the fine silverwork, accented by the bright colours of the enamels is wonderful. There is some loss and discoloration to the enamel in places commensurate with age. The overall length is 40 inches approximately. This sword dates to the 19th century.  russian cossack shaska shashka shasqua middle east tula kindjal georgian bebut tsibli uzbekistan khazakstan

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