[Tidbits] Yatagan of Ahmed Tekelu

Yatagan … a Turkish short sword … this one dating back to the
Ottoman Empire and belonging to the Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent
and made by the then court jeweler Ahmed Tekelu … circa 1526-27.

Today … you make a piece of jewelry by using a caster … a setter
… a polisher … and voil=E0. Well … maybe not that simply … but
I’m speaking metaphorically.

Ah … but the making of the hilt of this sword was an entirely
different story. This required a blacksmith … an ivory carver … a
jeweler … a goldsmith …and the ability to duplicate in gold many
of the decorative motifs found in the paintings of the time. It is
and was art of the highest caliber.

Within this hilt you will see a scaly dragon attacking a phoenix. I
wonder if there’s anyone around today that can actually make this
kind of stuff. And when one finds this person … what do you think
he’ll charge to create this ivory hilt inlaid with golden beasties
and golden floral scrolls?

I show you only the hilt today … for the blade itself is just a
blade … a mundane piece of steel designed to cut and slice and
pierce and maim. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Of course … as a weapon … this blade holds no candle to an
Inter-Continental Ballistics Missile … or a Hydrogen Bomb … or to
any other of the civilized advancements we’ve made thanks to the
sciences of the day. But then again … there isn’t a sub-machine gun
out there that can compete for beauty with the primitive weaponry of

So I say this. Let us keep up with the joys of the past. Let us
adorn our Winchesters with handles inlaid with rubies and pearls. And
our Marlins and Rugers … gold leaf etched in relief. A few flowers
here and there. A daisy perhaps. A pastoral scene for the trusty
Remington. Two maidens would do … formed with gold wire …
gamboling through a pristine meadow of green enameled grasses as a
bullet shot from its barrel goes whistling along to its target… And
as for our ICBM’s … a mural would along the body would be nice …
a cloudless sapphire sky with some seagulls … and a hawk with
black diamond eyes above for just a smidgen of terror and reality.
Whaddya think?

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Tidbits Graphics … and then click on the link that says: Yatagan
in order to view this great Ottoman Hilt.

Benjamin Mark

    I show you only the hilt today ... for the blade itself is
just a blade ... a mundane piece of steel designed to cut and slice
and pierce and maim. Nothing out of the ordinary. 

:Hello Benjamin;

A pity you didn’t show the blade itself, for it is no doubt the more
significant accomplishment within this wonderful example of Islamic
metallurgical magic. I can’t tell with certainty, there’s too
little of the blade shown, but from what I see, it may be an example
of the famed “Sword of Islam” also known to early Crusader’s as
“Damascus Steel”. It would be centuries before Europeans duplicated
this level of steel making expertise, and their discoveries would
lead to the establishment of steel making centers in those countries
and cities who’s name, for centuries, was to become synonymous with
the finest steel, namely Toledo (Spain), and Sweden. In fact, the
appetite of the moneyed gentry of Europe for hunting weapons made of
such fine steel, in my opinion, was mostly responsible for the
beginnings of modern metallurgy, if not, in large part, for the
Industrial Revolution itself. For more on this story, I’d recommend,
“A History of Metalology” by Dr. Cyril Stanley Smith.

David L. Huffman

Maybe mother of pearl inlay? A pearl would be an encumbrance to the
gun… I have engraved a couple of my black powder guns. people often
think it was done many years ago but the guns were made in the 60’s.