Dobriden S. (2016). K probleme amurskih mechej [On the Problem of the “Amur Swords”]. Istoricheskoe oruzhievedenie [Weapons History Journal], № 3, pp. 5 — 26.

Dobriden S.

Abstract: The author devoted the article to the specific type of edged weapon which could be defined as the “Amur swords” before the special complex investigation is carried on. These are long swords used by the Tungus-Manchurian tribes. On the moment the article was written the author was not aware of any entirely preserved sword either in a museum or a private collection. The most well-preserved item is now in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History. The predominant attitude toward these swords presumes them to be a variant of famous “emus” of the Ainu.  In the article the author substantiates the hypothesis about the local, Tungus-Manchurian, manufacturing of these swords, especially as the Amur peoples and their neighbors practiced the technologies being necessary for making of all the elements of this weapon. The author thoroughly describes parts and elements of the “Amur swords” that were preserved. The blades were single-edged with a slight curve and from 50-60 to 70 cm long. Most blades were forged with a tetrahedral cross-section, a fuller, and a tung which like the “emus” of the Ainu was provided with two holes for handle fixing. Nevertheless there are trihedral blades forged without fillers. Some blades were engraved. The form of the absolute majority cross-guards is close to ellipse while there are some rare cross-guards with four sections and elongated outlines. The preserved “Amur swords” can be definitely dated to the mid 17th-18th centuries on the basis of archaeologic materials accompanying the swords, various ethnographic data, and known from the primary sources information on the period when Amur peoples and their neighbors finished blakcsmith work. To solve the problem of the “Amur swords” and the entire complex of weapons and everyday life artifacts of these peoples it is necessary to carry on the metallographic investigations of both the swords and all the metal pieces made by the peoples who lived along the Amur river and nearby territories: Yakutia, Transbaikal region, Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands as far as Hokkaido.

Keywords: Amur-saber, blade, cross-guard, Ainu people, Tungusic people, Far East, Siberia.