Gandhi,Parinaz (2008). Wisdom of Weapons. Review of Arms and Armor from Iran by Parinaz M. Gandhi, Editor of Parsiana, Parsiana, April 21, 2008, Rs 30, pp. 30, 32, 34. 

Wisdom of weapons

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The Sassanian noblemen were known to carry three weapons; a short sword or tourattached to the right side of the sword belt, a long sword or sousser on the left side, and a dagger or nran, attached to the thigh, covered by the foulds of the pants. The reverence for the sword among the Iranians surfaces distinctly in Manouchehr Khorasani’s work and as mentioned in the foreword by executive editor Richard Dellar, an expert in the histotry of Europoean military swords, “They were considered heirlooms and passed down from generation to generation. Often bejeweled and with their ivory handles and precious metal fittings, these swords are works of art in themselves.... Yet despite this beauty they were also formidable weapons of war and we have accounts of their fearsome effectiveness.”
Perceiving a significant lacuna in the market with regard to the history and development of Iranian arms, Iranborn Khorasani, with a strong sense of his own heritage and that of his mother country, set on his research mission. “This book has been the result of eight years of painstaking research and an analysis of over 600 primary sources of Iranian arms and armor as well as many secondary sources....It is a work of epic proportion,” writes Dellar.
As notes an introduction to the author, Khorasani had analyzed the inventories of 10 Iranian arms and armor museums and is considered a specialist in the weaponry of the
 Middle East with a special  emphasis on Iranian arms and armor . With extensive experience in international martial arts competitions, he is an instructor in Iado and Kenjutsu as also kungfu Toa, and is he holder of second dan black belt in contact karate and Nam Wai Pai. He has been conducting seminars in executive coaching, leadership and intercultural training in the banking industry and has taught acrossEurope in English, German and Spanish.
Khorasani’s 776-page book has been edited by 17 editors – one chief executive editor, three executive editors, 112 technical editors and one copy editor – from
 USA,Canada, UK, Iran, Australia, New Zealand. Explains the author, “I set up a team of 17 specialists to edit my book. Each one of them was assigned to the field in which he or she expertise.”
“The reader will find that this book thoroughly explores the history of the
 Persian Empire, replete with socioeconomic, acheological, military, martial and photographic evidence,” commends chief executive editor Doug Mullane whwn commenting on this “monumental work”.
“Iran has always managed to significantly “Iranify” ist conquerors and its neighbors...with a strong linguistic and cultural tradition that tends to assimilate and enculturate invading and neighboring groups with ease so that today’s foreign conqueror ends up being tomorrow’s proud native. Indeed the influence of Iranian culture on the world in the fields of artistic expression and military development has been both enormous and difficult to quantify precisely,” writes another editor John Cocksey, a specialist and scholar on acient Iranian history and Zarathushti religion.
Adding to the easy comprehesion of this fact-filled tome is the map of
 Iran and a full page devoted to the ages and dynasties starting with 3000 BC and ending with the Qajar Dynasty in 1907 AD. The first half of the heavy compendium is loaded with information on the evolution of the different  tools of warfare in Iran. Avestan references to the weapons would be of particular interest to Zarathushtis.
Khorasani quotes scholar Pur Davood as stating that the spear or arshti isthe first weapon mentioned in Avesta and a spearman was one of the highest ranks in the Achemenian army. The main weapon of attack of the Savaran (Sassanian heavy cavalry unit) from the early Sassanian period was the lance. “The Sassanian cataphracts, armed with lances, mounted their horses and were as stable sitting in their saddles as if they had been chained there. They made up the first ranks of Sassanian battle formation like walls, behind them were positioned the bowmen and behind the archers came the war elephants,” explains the author.
According to Poor Davood, the Mihr Yasht refers to a weapon called chakush, a two edged axe that was thrown at the enemy. An axe has been an efficient weapon on the battlefield for centuries in
 Iran.
Yet another symbol of kingship and sovereignty was the bow. It displayed the warriors’ martial abilities and courage during combat and also served as a status symbol. Skill in archery, regarded as one of the most important attributes along with horsemanship, was required of both sexes of the upper classes. According to Pur Davood, the Avestarefers to the bow as chanvanat, while the Vendidad mentions thanvan or thanvare. The arrow which is cited even more often in the Avesta is known as ishu or ishoash. Mehr the Zarathushti solar deity was said to have 1,000 bows in his ghardune (wagon). Since the sun give light and heat and provides food, the ancient Zarathushtis called a person. Mehr if he was generous and treated all equally. “One of the roles of the sun was to purify, and another role was to serve as the symbol of the Iranian kingdom and ist power.” The image of the sun adorned the Kig’s crown as also some helmets, armor and steel shields. The term Tir has ist origin in Avesta where there is reference to Tighra, the Zarathushti deity who is  the guardian of the rain.
A bull-headed mace carried by the young Zoroastrian priest initiate owes ist origins to the legendary king Fereydun who loved the cow that suckled him so much that he used a bull-headed mace in battle to fight the evil Zahak who was subsequently chained and imprisoned in
 MountDamavand. The cow remains a very important element in Persian mythology. According to the Bondahesh, the first creature made by Ahura Mazda was the bull, varzav. One of the major ceremonies of Mithraism was sacrificing a bull, so that its blood shed on the ground could help plants to grow. Iranian kings and heroes in the Shaname written by Ferdowsi, use an ox-headed mace in crucial times. This weapon was later used as a prestigious, symbolic weapon, an attribute of kings in Iran.
The bande din (belt of the religion) calld kustik in Pahlavi and kusti in Farsi Dari, finds a detailed explanation in the section titled “Koshti wrestling and other martial practises and their role in prepaing the warriors fot the battlefield.” The term kosti was later called koshti to represent the waist band used by wrestlers an grabbed during wrestling matches.  Wrestling was considered one of the important arts to prepare a warrior.
The visual treat, commencing from page 373 onwards and ending at page 748, all in color, presents a catalog of arms and armor from
 Iran. The detailed photographs with the acompanying narrative stating the physical features ot the weapon, ist method of making, excavation site, current location and other features gives this book an almost encyclopedic aura.

 

Parinaz M. Gandhi

Miri, Sima (2007). Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period. Reviewed by Sima Miri, Head of Luristan Department, National Museum of Iran, Iranian Journal of Archaeology and History, Vol. 20, Nos. 1-2, Serial Nos. 39-40, March 2007,pp. 104-105.

 



[Translated from Persian into English]

The western scholars have placed a large part of Iranian weapons in the category of Islamic weapons.  Although this classification had been accepted to some extent before more detailed analyses of pre-Islamic weapons were done, the discovery of new archaeological sites and ancient weapons have added to our knowledge of pre-IslamicIran and show the necessity to review and reclassify the Iranian weapons.  The author of the book “Arms and Armor from Iran,“ Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani is a graduate of business administration [and English and Spanish] from the German university (Giessen), American University (Wisconsin), and Spanish university (Salamanca), and is an expert in the Middle Eastern weapons especially the Iranian arms and armor.  He spent years in doing research on different important sources on arms and armor, Iranian military history, decoration on Iranian arms and armor, and casting methods for bronze and iron weapons.  In addition to collecting many types of weapons from the bronze age to the end of the Qajar period, Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani provides a new insight on arms and armor and the  military point of view.  Parts of his research deals with several books and articles dealing with art, art history, military history, religious and epic texts, such as the Avesta, the Qur’an, the Shahname.   Another part of his research presents a collection of artifacts from private collections in Euorope, USA, and Iranian museums.  The collections of Iranian arms and armor [from Iranian military museums] was already analyzed by Professor Romanowsky from Russia in the Pahlavi period.  However, with the course of time and new research, there was a necessity to do research on these items again.  As it is mentioned in the introduction, by publishing this book Manouchehr Moshtagh “has shown the western historians and scholars that the new classification and analysis of arms and armor from Iran represents the rich culture of Iran in historical and Islamic periods.“  What distinguishes this book is showing the relationship between the artifacts and their usage based on the political and cultural background of the society.  The interesting work done by Moshtagh Khorasani includes the explainations of the historical and cultural relationship of these periods by taking royal and religeous symbols into consideration.  The book has 28 chapters, 378 pages of colored catalog, 9 pages of index, and 14 pages of references.  The author provides an important overview of the most important events in the Iranian history and then describes different kinds of arms and armor such as swords, daggers, knives, shields, maces, axes, helmets, and bows and arrows from the bronze age to the end of the Qajar period.  He also provides a list of weapon makers who wrote their names on some artifacts.  He also explains the symbol of the lion and the sun, the lion and the bull, the dragon, tools used in the varzesh pahlavani, and the principles of javanmardi.  The pictures of artifacts are taken from some Euoropean and American private collections, Iranian museums, and the Zurkhane of Astan Qods Razawi.  The majority of these pictures are shown for the first time.  A group consisting of 17 experts from the USA, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong were responsible for editing the book.  The chapters include 1. Introduction 2. The Iranian cultural influence in the region and the Iranian search for independence 3. Bronze and iron weapons from Iran, 4. Median and Achaemenian daggers and swords, 5. Parthian swords and daggers, 6. Sassanian swords, 7. The importance and meaning of the sword in Iran after the Muslim conquest,  8. Shamshir (sword) and its varieties, 9. The mystery behind dhufaghar “zolfaghar”, the bifurcated sword of Ali, 10. Iranian straight swords: the re-emergence or coexistence with curved swords, 11. Iranian military swords from the Qajar period (shamshir nezami),12. Qame and qaddare (double-edged short sword and one-edged short sword), 13. Khanjar (double-edged dagger), 14. Kard (one-edged knife), 15. Pishqabz (double-curved, one-edged dagger), 16. Neyze and zubin (spear and javelin), 17. Gorz (mace), 18. Tabar / Tabarzin (axe and saddleaxe), 19. Separ (shield), 20. Zereh and joshan (armor), 21. Tir va Kaman (bow and arrows), 22. The meaning of the emblem of the lion, the sun, and the lion fighting a bull on pieces of arms and armor, 23. The Iranian warrior tradition: Iranian treatises on warfare and martial arts, 24. Koshti (wrestling), other martial practices, and their role in preparing the warriors for the battlefield, 25. Dervishes, 26 Naggali (traditional reciting of Shahname) ,27. Arms and armor used in taziye (Shiite passion play), 28. Conclusion, and 29. Catalog

 

Sima Miri

Feuerbach, Ann (2006). One Scholar's Point of View. Review of Arms and Armor from Iran by Dr. Ann Feuerbach, Fravahr.

 

The book, Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the Qajar Period, by Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, is, in one word, inspirational.

As an academic whose work is referred to in the text, is undertaking active research in the subject area, and is teaching University courses in the archaeology and history of the Middle East and Central Asia, my knowledge of this vast field is strong (yet ever growing). I have no affiliations with the book. I was not consulted by the author or anyone affiliated with the book in any way. This is my personal opinion. As the foreword by Richard Dellar states, it “is a work that will immensely increases our knowledge and understanding of the arms and armour of Iran throughout the ages” (Khorasani, 2006, 13). I know it increased my knowledge greatly and I have not yet studied the contents of the book in great depth!

Mr. Cooksey’s contribution discussing the relationship between art, technology and long term cultural change is very important and a topic I am heavily involved with researching. Iranian and Persian weapons often fall under the topics of either Sasanian or Islamic arms. In Islamic studies, the Middle East and Arab influence is often stressed, whereas the influence of pre-Islamic Iranian and Central Asian lands is often ignored by scholars. Coorsey (p. 14) correctly states that the Arab conquest “did not swallow or overpower native culture and artistic traditions”. The book illustrates that and, although the arrival of Islam influenced the art of Iran, it did not eradicate traditional artistic themes and styles. For example, the use of images of people and animal for decoration remain after the arrival of Islam particularly in the artwork of the people of Iran and Central  Asia.

I find Dr. Farrokh’s section “Iran’s Silent Legacy” to be an accurate short summary of the very complex situation of Persian history. It is well known that there are cultural connections between the early people of Iran and those of India. This is exemplified by the fact that Zoroastrianism (the religion of the Persia before Islam) and Hinduism (the religion of India) have the same roots. Although, I would have left out the suggestion that the so-called Aryan warriors of Iran “invaded” India, as the evidence of an “Aryan invasion” is a hot topic for debate. However, the influence of proto Indo-Europeans on India’s culture is evident from the archaeological and historical literature. Furthermore, the influence of the Iranian Empires (Achaemenids, Parthians, Sasanians, in the sense of people who lived in that area under their rule, not an ethic group) on world history has been downplayed in European scholarship. If it was not for the Persian Empires, much of the knowledge of “The Classical World” would have been lost.

A large part of scholarly research is reliant on the accuracy of work of others. I admire that the author does not reiterate all the myths and misinformation regarding “Damascus steel”, but rather takes an objective and scholarly presentation of the available evidence. Too many publications state the same generalizations but do not provide the evidence or the sources of the information. In my view this is one of the great strengths of the book… it concentrates on primary sources of information, texts and objects. For an academic like me, this is wonderful and it is what makes the book inspirational. It inspires me to undertake new paths of research. Even a book this size does not answer all the questions about the Arms and Armor of Iran. Indeed it would be sad if it did… it would leave no room for new insights and debate. In one passage, the author states that one of my research statements is not entirely correct (p. 102). Does this upset me? Does it make me less of a scholar, no. Quite the opposite. It shows that my research has been read, considered, and built upon!

Are all the dates of manufacture of the objects correct? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Dating blades can be tremendously difficult; blades were reused, new grips, new styles, old “revival” styles etc. Unless an object has an unquestionable provenance, the date is debatable from an academic standpoint. Those who find fault with any information present in the book should research where the author gathered that information from, and prove the information wrong, rather than basing your judgment on your opinion, rather than on hard evidence and facts. No true scholar minds being proven incorrect, provided they did the best they could with the information that was available to them. Research is all about challenging existing ideas, assumptions and preconceptions.

Unfortunately, many of us will not be able to visit Iran and see the objects for ourselves. Apart from the production of a CD where I could enlarge the photos to see small details, the author gives us the next best thing. While some of the photographs may not be perfect, I am glad they are given. Having taken photographs of swords in foreign museums myself, I am well aware that time is often at a premium. (Once, I had one hour to document, photograph and sample 18 blades!). One takes as many photographs as one can for documentation, because one is well aware that the opportunity may never arise again. The result can be often be “less than perfect” photographs, however, I would much rather see a imperfect photograph than none at all or, the ever frustrating and almost useless, single photograph of the overall object with no close-ups!

Personally, I do not like the use of the term “wootz” in many of the descriptions of the blades metal. The term implies an Indian origin for the steel. The text gives many examples of the production of crucible steel (pulad) in Iran and neighbouring regions. The term crucible steel should have been consistently used until more research allows us to confidently state where the steel was made.

As a person who does most of her reading on public transportation I do feel the book may have benefited for being in two volumes. However, the use of a Table Mate II (“as seen on TV”) eliminated the weight issue and allowed me to take notes without having to balance the book on my legs. Perhaps, if the publishers mistook the book as a “coffee table book” the size would be justified, but it is a scholarly publication which will be used by all those interested in the Arms and Armour of Iran, for many years to come. My only protest is the book leaves me wanting more (like a good meal or a visit from an old friend). The early Persian and Sasanian blades beg me to analyses them to determine if they are crucible “Damascus steel”. I want the complete translation of Omar Khayyam Neishaburi, not a teaser! It inspires me by highlighting avenues of research which I want undertake. The book provides a strong reliable foundation upon which further scholarly research can be built.



Brancaglion, Geiorgio (2007). Arms and Armor from Iran. Coltelli, Anno 8, No 25, December- January 2008, p. 78. 

Si acquista su internet questa interessante enciclopedia dedicata alle armi  bianche persiane. Illustrata con pezzi mai usciti prima dalle collezioni, è una risorsa inesauribile per gli amanti delle spade etniche. Il sottotitolo di questa monumentale opera è eloquente: „Dall’età del bronzo alla fine del periodo Qajar“ ovvero il 1925. L’autore di questo monumentale volume, Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, traccia una rigorosa e precisa storia delle armi bianchi persiane, presentate in circa 2800 fotografie a colori e 600 in bianco e nero per un totale di 780 pagine di 30,5 x 27 cm che rendono quest’ opera una delle più complete mai scritte sulle spade.

Il volume, scritto in lingua inglese, si apre con uno studio dei sistemi di fusione del bronzo per poi prendere in esame le tipolgie di armi tipiche delle diverse regioni dell’ Iran e di come queste si siano modifcate grazie alle ondate migratorie indoeuropee.

Viene poi esaminata con scrupulosa precisione la composizione del’acciaio wooz usato per la fabbricazione delle spade, ma anche di lance, scudi, daghe, coltelli e armature.Moltissime delle spade presentate, di straordinaria qualità construttiva ed estetica, sono state fotografate per l’occasione, e vista la relativa difficoltà di visitare le varie collezioni iraniane, rapresentano una fonte di informazioni inedita.

Gran parte di pezzi si trovano nei musei militari di Tehran, Shiraz e Bandar Anzali, mentre altri provengono da collezioni private europee e americane. Molto interessante, ed efficace come „pausa narrativa“ il capitolo dedicato alla „Jawanmardi“ ovvero le regole di comportamento del guerriero persiano.

Un’opera del genere non può certo mancare nella biblioteca di un appassionato di lame etniche. Peraltro il prezzo al quale è venduto online (149,80 euro) pur non essendo leggero in assoluto, è giustificato dalla qualità della stampa e dei contenuti.

Möhring, Hannes (2007). Review of Arms and Armor from Iran by Dr. Hannes Möhring, Kunstbuchanzeiger.

 

Die Herstellung von (Damaszener-)Stahl, Blankwaffen und Rüstungen hat in Iran eine Geschichte, die sich über Jahrtausende erstreckt. Dies wird dem Leser des Buches höchst eindrucksvoll vor Augen geführt. Der Inhalt ist zur einen Hälfte in einen fortlaufenden, dreispaltig auf großen Seiten gedruckten Text mit vielen Schwarz-Weiß-Fotos geteilt und zur anderen Hälfte in einen Katalog, der eine Fülle hervorragender farbiger Gesamt- und Detailaufnahmen bietet sowie genaue Beschreibungen der abgebildeten Stücke mit Angaben auch von Maßen und Gewicht. Alle Inschriften werden im Wortlaut wiedergegeben und übersetzt. Freilich vermag die Umschrift des Arabischen und Persischen wissenschaftlichen Ansprüchen nicht immer zu genügen. So findet sich beispielsweise der auch in Europa berühmte Sultan Saladin als „El-Sultan-Salah-el-Din el-Aiubi“ (S. 123) wieder statt als Sultan Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi (oder:Aiyubi). Den Kern des Materials bilden Exponate aus zehn iranischen Museen. Keine Feuerwaffen, aber die verschiedenen Arten von Schwertern, Dolchen, Streitkolben und Streitäxten, Speerspitzen, Pfeil und Bogen, Schilden und Rüstungen werden von der Bronzezeit bis in das 20. Jahrhundert hinein ausführlich vorgestellt und klassifiziert. Im Mittelpunkt steht der Shamshir („Löwenschweif“), ein Schwert mit ursprünglich gerader Klinge. Der Autor kann anhand mehrerer Beispiele zeigen, dass Shamshire mit gebogener Klinge bereits unter der Herrschaft Timur des Lahmen (gest. 1405) und nicht etwa - wie früher angenommen - erst unter dem safawidischen Schah Abbas I. (gest. 1629) hergestellt wurden. Der Säbel verdrängte in Iran aber nicht völlig das zweischneidige Schwert mit gerader Klinge. Eine ganze Reihe von Shamshiren mit gebogener Klinge, aber keine Dolche oder andere Waffen, weisen eine Schmiedemarke auf, die den Beinamen des vierten Kalifen Ali, Asadallah („der Löwe Gottes“), trägt. Sie hat der bisherigen Forschung erhebliches Kopfzerbrechen bereitet. Vom zeitlichen Rahmen her ist klar, dass damit nicht nur ein Schmied gemeint sein kann. Mit guten Argumenten vertritt der Autor die Auffassung, dass nur Männer, die ihr Handwerk mit herausragender Meisterschaft beherrschten, dazu berechtigt waren, die von ihnen hergestellten Klingen mit einer derartigen Schmiedemarke als Ehrentitel zu versehen. Der Verfasser bemüht sich, die Entwicklung der verschiedenen Waffenarten vor dem allgemeinen kulturellen Hintergrund aufzuzeigen. Dabei geht es ihm auch darum, die iranische von der islamischen bzw. arabisch-islamischen und türkisch-islamischen Kultur abzugrenzen und die kulturelle Eigenheit und Eigenständigkeit des Iran deutlich zu machen. Infolgedessen geht der Autor mit einiger Ausführlichkeit beispielsweise auf die Literaturgattung der Handbücher über die Kriegführung ein und auf frühere Trainingsmethoden im Zweikampf, nicht zuletzt auf die große persische Tradition des Ringkampfes, aber auch auf die Aussagen der Quellen über das legendäre Schwert des Kalifen Ali sowie auf Fragen der Ikonographie, etwa auf das weit verbreitete, zum iranischen Staatssymbol gewordene Emblem der Sonne über einem schreitenden Löwen und auf das Motiv des mit einem Stier kämpfenden Löwen. Der Preis achtjähriger Arbeit entspricht dem Ergebnis. Das Buch verrät auf jeder Seite, wie intensiv sich der Autor mit allen für sein Thema wesentlichen Fragestellungen auseinanderge-setzt hat. Es wird vermutlich schon bald in der Fachwelt als Standardwerk gelten, mit dem die Grundlage für weitere seriöse Forschungen geschaffen ist.

Dr. Hannes Möhring

Meysami, Zohre (1389/2010).  Ketab-e Mah-e Honar (Monthly Book of Art). Jangafzar va Joshanha-ye Irani [Review of Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period]. Together with the Interview with the Author, No. 140, pp. 114-122.

LaSalle, François-Xavier (2007). Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period. Reviewed by François-Xavier LaSalle, La Passion des Couteaux.

Une véritable somme, remarquablement documentée. Beaucoups des armes présentées proviennent des réserves des museées iraniens, et sont montrées au public la premiere fois. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani est un spécialiste des armes du Moyen-Orient, brillant universitaire et linguiste. Il est également pratiquant de plusieurs arts martiaux. Quelque chapitres de cet ouvrage sont dédiés à la metallurgie et notament au Wootz. 

 

Une œvre majeure, qui passionnera tous ceux qui s’interessent aux armes perses et à l’histoire des armes blanches en général.

Rok Karimi (1386/2007).  Ketab-e Mah-e Honar (Monthly Book of Art). Jangafzar va Joshanha-ye Irani Asr-e Bronze Ta Payane Doreye Qajar [Review of Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period], No. 90-92, pp. 109-110.

von Hoffmeister, Alexander (2006). Review of Arms and Armor from Iran by Dr. Alexander von Hoffmeister, Iran Now.

 

Orientalische und islamische Waffen strahlen seit jeher eine besondere Faszination aus. Große Museen in Europa und den USA haben teils prächtige Sammlungen vorzuzeigen. Die Literatur über dieses Gebiet wartet meist mit populären Werken auf, von sehr wenigen Ausnahmen abgesehen. Das kürzlich erschienene Buch - Arms and Armor from Iran - füllt die Wissenslücke über persische Waffen und genügt höchsten wissenschaftlichen Ansprüchen.

Der Autor ist Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, ein gebürtiger Iraner. Seine akademische Ausbildung erhielt er an deutschen, spanischen und amerikanischen Universitäten. Er ist ein ausgewiesener Spezialist für die alten Waffen des Nahen und Mittleren Ostens, dafür spricht auch seine Tätigkeit als Moderator eines einschlägigen und renommierten Internetforums. Sein Buch ist das Ergebnis jahrelanger und ausgiebiger Forschungen. Es spannt einen gewaltigen Bogen von den Ausgrabungen der Bronzezeit bis zum Ende der Qajar-Periode 1925. Die Leidenschaft des Autors und sein Enthusiasmus für persische Waffen geben dem Werk echten Tiefgang bei diesem enormen Zeitrahmen. Man kann ohne Einschränkungen behaupten, dass dieses Buch viele bisher bestehende Meinungen und Theorien über persische Waffen verändert, weil gerade auch Quellen verwendet wurden, die bislang überhaupt nicht zugänglich waren. Über 60 % der Quellen nämlich sind iranisch. Es werden eine Unzahl von Waffen aus iranischen Museen beschrieben, die westliche Interessenten überhaupt noch nicht zu Gesicht bekommen haben, geschweige, dass Untersuchungen und Beschreibungen darüber existieren.

Zusätzlich sind natürlich auch viele Stücke aus europäischen und amerikanischen Privatsammlungen analysiert worden. Eingebettet sind die Untersuchungen der Waffen in Abhandlungen über die persische Geschichte, im speziellen natürlich der Militärgeschichte. So wird etwa das Eindringen indoeuropäischer Stämme nach Persien und deren Einfluss auf die Waffengestaltung überzeugend dargelegt. Das gleiche gilt auch für die Islamisierung des gesamten öffentlichen Lebens wovon auch die persischen Waffen im einzelnen geprägt wurden. Entsprechende artverwandte Aspekte über Kultur und Kunsthandwerk werden ebenso treffend beleuchtet. Einen bewundernswerten Schwerpunkt im Werk des Autors bilden die persischen Shamshire mit den prächtigen Klingen aus Wootz-Stahl und Applikationen wie Einlegearbeiten, Eisenschnitten etc. Dabei wird auf die Stahlherstellung detailliert und intensiv eingegangen. Die Khanjars, Kards, Pishqabz, Speere, Äxte, Rüstungen, Pfeile und Bögen haben eigene Kapitel und werden ausführlich gewürdigt.

Von besonderem Interesse ist die endliche Deutung des Herstellernamens "Assadollah", der über einen längeren Zeitraum auf persischen Klingen als Kartusche auftaucht. Jedenfalls viel länger als gewöhnlich ein Handwerkerleben dauert. In der bislang bekannten Literatur existieren darüber verschiedenste Theorien, so soll der Name eine Werkstatt bezeichnen oder eine Schmiedefamilie. Der Autor konnte nun schlüssig und verständlich nachweisen, dass die Bezeichnung "Assadollah", ein Name eines ehemaligen Shamshir-Schmiedes, fürderhin als Ehrentitel für höchste Handwerksqualität vergeben wurde. Damit ist auch eine Zeitspanne von mehr als 200 Jahren erklärt wo die Assadollah-Kartuschen auf Klingen auftauchen. Die Herstellung von Shamshiren war das größte Prestige und die höchste Kunst eines Waffenschmiedes, diese stellen somit die Elite dar. Auf Khanjars und Kards erscheint "Assadollah" nämlich nicht. Bemerkenswert und in diesem Rahmen bislang nicht gekannt ist auch die sehr aufschlussreiche Erklärung der Ikonographie auf Schwertern und Dolchen. Darunter gehören z.B. der Adler, Löwe und Bulle, Löwe und Steinbock sowie Löwe und Sonne.

Die zahlreichen Farbabbildungen ( an die 2800 ! ) machen das Buch zu einem wahren Augenschmaus und unschätzbaren Nachschlagewerk. Zudem illustrieren zusätzlich Zeichnungen den ausführlichen Text. Jedes Stück ist genau beschrieben sowie vermessen und wird auch mit anderen Referenzwaffen verglichen. Meisterlich sind die Übersetzungen der Kartuschen, Klingeninschriften etc., nicht zu vergessen die Datierungen zu bestimmten Shah-Perioden. Die Quellenangaben und das Literaturverzeichnis sind in Ausführlichkeit nicht zu übertreffen, so dass man Lust bekommt sich noch intensiver mit dem Thema zu befassen.

Das Buch ist nicht nur für einschlägige Museen, Bibliotheken, Auktionshäuser und natürlich den Sammler und Waffenfreund eine wertvolle Hilfe. Es ist darüber hinaus eine tiefe Quelle für Historiker, Kunsthistoriker und Anthropologen. Man kann wirklich leicht behaupten, dass es Standard für einen längeren Zeitraum sein wird. Ein Desiderat wäre allerdings noch die Erforschung und Untersuchung der persischen Schusswaffen mit ihren oft wundervollen Damastläufen und kunstvollen Verzierungen. Eine Aufnahme dieser Waffen in das jetzige Werk hätte jedoch den Rahmen völlig gesprengt. Wie ich vernommen habe, hat der Autor allerdings schon eine derartige Arbeit in Vorbereitung. Dazu ist ihm der gleiche Erfolg und ein ähnlich wunderbares Ergebnis zu wünschen.

Von Dr. Alexander von Hoffmeister

Dr. Alexander von Hoffmeister lebt in Süddeutschland. Er ist ein profunder Kenner der antiken Waffen aus dem Osmanischen Reich,Persien und Indiens. Für wissenschaftliche Studien steht ihm eine sehr umfangreiche Bibliothek über das Thema zur Verfügung.



Persian Heritage (2007). Review of Arms and Armor from Iran in Persian Heritage, Persian Heritage, vol. 12. No. 47, p. 35.

 

There are "coffee table" books and then there are "coffee table" masterpieces. The second best describes author Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani's book Arms and Armor from Iran. It is a collector's piece for the Iranian library, home or institution and reflects years of love from print to photo. The book describes and analyzes the development of weapons used during the course of Iran's history. Most are accompanied with a clear and modern photo of the piece. It also goes beyond the scope of tangent weapons and explains the martial arts influence in Iran, passed and present.

 

No historical analysis of military weapons can be complete without an in depth look into the weapons and military technology of early Iran.It has clearly influenced the development of more modern weapons.

 

While reading the book it may appear to be a daunting task, in reality it is not. The author delivers his information in story form, hence making each chapter very interesting. It is as if you are on a tour of a museum.

 

The book is written in an understandable manner which makes it recommended.