Turkish Ottoman Empire Kilij. Ottoman Army Officers Sword

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The Ottoman Empire ruled over most of south-eastern Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. This sword is an interesting example of an Ottoman Empire military officer’s weapon and can be described as a non-traditional Ottoman kilij.

Kilij was essentially the word for sword but became associated with a particular pattern. Traditionally the kilij has a broad blade and wide yelman commencing with a sharp curve about two-thirds towards the point. There can be confusion over the correct classification of some Ottoman swords as they exhibit characteristics from several cultures from across the Ottoman Empire. This sword could also, and probably more accurately, be described as an Ottoman sabre.

The 780mm slightly curved blade has a single edge and three fullers, each longer than the previous one. The first fuller is only 130mm long, commencing directly below the flat spine. The blade narrows slightly from 31mm at the shoulder down to 26mm at the end of the first fuller. The second and widest fuller is approximately 10mm wide and runs for 490mm. The third and final fuller is the same width as the first, being 3.5mm wide and runs for 540mm. All three fullers begin 80mm from the blade shoulder.

The blade does have a narrow yelman. Commencing just before the end of the second fuller the blade widens to 29mm before narrowing to a spear point. The blade is double-edged for the last 230mm.

The blade is in fair to good condition for its age with pitting. The pitting has been treated and cleaned using Renaissance De-corroder and finished with Renaissance Wax.

The horn hilt is of typical pistol-grip form and is furnished with silver. The decorative silver crosspiece has down-turned scrolled quillons and shaped languets. The hilt is in good condition and the blade is firm, the horn grip scales being riveted through the tang.

The sword is complete with its leather covered wooden scabbard with silver mounts. The decoration on the mounts matches that of the crosspiece and the shaped languets mate with the shaped top of the locket. The front of the locket bears the star and crescent of the Ottoman Empire and the obverse incorporates a bead-like silver ball through which a chain or cord may have passed. The scabbard has two silver suspension bands with rings. The scabbard is finished with an iron chape. The chape has a figural top and the front is engraved with a floral motif.

The leather of the scabbard has a period repair, additional leather having been sewn over the original. The repair is strong and the stitching intact. The scabbard is in overall good condition and the sword sheathes fully and is held firmly within.

This is a scarce and good example of an Ottoman Empire fighting sword that was probably the property of an officer in the Empire’s army.


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