Original Imperial Russian WWI Era Model 1881 Dragoon Shashka Sword dated 1910 with Scabbard
Original Item: One One Available. This is a very rare example of an Imperial Russian Model 1881 Dragoon Shashka, which was not later destroyed or defaced after the Russian Revolution. Unlike most designs used, this has a handguard, whereas these usually do not even have a cross guard.
The 34 inch long blade is in very good condition, though it definitely does show use and age. It has been sharpened, and there are nicks and dents on the edge, particularly near the tip, which is also bent over a bit. This looks to be a sword that saw some real use during its life. The blade ricasso has clear unit / regiment markings, and there are visible Zlatoust (Златоуст) factory markings on the blade and crossguard, along with a 1910 date.
The hilt now has a bit of wobble on the tang, as most likely the wooden grip has shrunken a bit over the years. The tang nut is still present, and we have not attempted to tighten it. The hilt overall has a lovely patina, and the grooved wooden grip is still in very good shape.
The Included scabbard is the correct leather covered wood, with intact brass fittings. Some scabbards were also outfitted to hold a Mosin-Nagant bayonet, however this one is not. The condition is quite good, though there is wear at the top of the scabbard. These were worn edge up on the left side of the body, and the wear pattern definitely matches what would happen from rubbing against a uniform for a long period of time.
Overall a great condition rare sword with a great worn patina, just perfect for any Imperial Russian or WWI Soviet collection.
Overall length: 39 3/4"
Blade Length: 34"
Blade Style: Single Edge Shashka with Fuller
Handguard: 5" long x 5" wide
Scabbard Length: 34 3/4"
The Shashka (Adyghe: сэшхуэ /IPA: [saʃxʷa]/ - big knife, Russian: (шашка)) is a special kind of sabre; a very sharp, single-edged, single-handed, and guardless sword. In appearance, the shashka is midway between a full sabre and a straight sword. It has a slightly curved blade, and can be effective for both slashing and thrusting. The blade is either hollowed or fullered. There is no guard, but a large, curved pommel. The hilt is frequently highly decorated. Shashkas from the Caucausus, as opposed to Russian versions, are carried in a wooden scabbard that encloses part of the hilt. It is worn with the cutting edge to the rear, opposite to the sabre.
The shashka originated among the mountain tribes of the Caucasus in the 12th century. Later most of the Russian and Ukrainian Cossacks adopted the weapon. Two styles of shashka exist: the Caucasian/Circassian shashka and the Cossack shashka.
The typically Circassian (Adyghe) form of sabre was longer than the Cossack type, in fact the Russian word shashka originally came from the Adyghe word - Adyghe: сэшхуэ (Shash ko) - meaning "long knife". It gradually replaced the sabre in all cavalry units except hussars during the 19th century. Russian troops, having encountered it during their conquest of the Caucasus (1817-1864), preferred it to their issue sabres. The Russian Caucasian Corps first adopted it in the 1830s. In 1881 shashka became official weapon in Russian troops and police.
At this time they were 3 types of shashkas.
1. Caucasus type where the handle almost sits inside the scabbard, this type was used by Kuban Cossack and tribes from Caucasus. Only one problem was with this type of shashka that during rain water could go down into the scabbard, but this type of shashka was very light 300-400 grams, very flexible, strong and sharp. The best and most famous shashkas of this types were Gurda (strong and sharp like bulat), Volchek (running wolf symbol on the blade).
2. The Don Cossack shashka has straighter blade which gave Cossacks something in the middle to combine two things in one like cutting from the horse and also fence. The weight of this shashka is around 1 kilogram.
3. Terek Cossack shashka, the handle like the Don Cossack shashka does not go inside the scabbard. It is very light and strong.
The absence of the guard is inherited from the original Caucasian construction, in which the shashka is nearly completely hidden in the scabbard, together with the hilt. The hilt is slightly curved down, thus providing an additional leverage for pulling the shashka and for additional force by wrist action.
The handle of the sabre was crafted so as to have a built-in pommel and possibly a small guard, which usually extended to only one side of the hilt. Like most medieval and then imperial Russian weaponry of the time, often the shashka and its scabbard were very ornately decorated, with gold and silver engravings, embedded gems and stones placed into, and figures carved out of or into, the hilts. The blade of the sabre was generally double or triple-fullered, and due to its greater width than that of the European sabre and its unique styles of tempering, it was much stronger too, able to deal damage to light body armor.
The shashka has the feel of a European sabre and was notable for its sharpness. There has been film footage of Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918) using a Circassian sabre in an overhead twirling motion to horizontally cut pieces from a wooden pole
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