Novosyolov V. (2018). Proishozhdenie i prinadlezhnost’ gruppy dragocennogo oruzhija, postupivshej v oruzhejnuju palatu iz Ministerstva Oborony SSSR v 1955 godu. [The Origins and Appurtenance of Richly Ornamented Weapons Transferred from the Ministry of Defense of the USSR to the Armoury Chamber in 1955]. Istoricheskoe oruzhievedenie [Weapons History Journal], № 5-6, pp. 77 — 110.

Novosyolov V.

Abstract: The article is devoted to the group of richly decorated edged weapons transferred from the Ministry of Defense of the USSR by order of G.K. Zhukov, the Minister of Defense, to the Kremlin Armoury Chamber in 1955. The group consists of two daggers, a Caucasus cavalry word (shashka) and seven sabers. One of the daggers represents an Iranian dagger type usually called “khanjar, the other is a Caucasus kama. Two sabers are of “Asian type” with golden mounts decorated with colored enamel, diamonds and other precious stones. Another saber represents again the “Asian type” with silver mount ornamented with enamel and diamonds. Two sabers are the so called shamshirs also decorated with enamels and gold and the last pair of sabers represents the golden honorary weapon. Most blades were provided with Arabian inscriptions and marking stamps which haven’t been studied and translated yet. The translation of these inscriptions which was made specially for this research, the analysis of both the inscriptions’ meanings, and countertypes of the weapons under the study as well as investigation of the ways they came to other collections permitted to trace the connection between these weapons and M.V. Frunze, the head of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council of USSR and Commissar for Military and Marine Affairs. These richly ornamented weapons originate from the soviet military commander’s collection. After his death the collection was found in his study and later preserved firstly at the Secretariat of Commissariat and then at the Secretariat of Ministry of Defense of USSR. Oriental sabers and daggers were taken from the territory of Central Asia, particularly from Khanates of Bukhara and Khiva where Frunze commanded the military campaigns on establishing of the soviet regime. Most probably they belonged to the Amir of Bukhara and the Khan of Khiva.

Two Russian sabers with golden hilts are rare samples of golden honorary weapon rewarded “for Bravery”. One of them was commissioned by Chapter of Russian military medals to Kaibel jewelry firm in 1856-1862. The second one is a golden weapon that was used in battles instead of golden weapon decorated with diamonds. This saber belonged to the field general I.V. Gurko, the hero of  the Balkan war. It was presented to him by officers of the life-guard hussar regiment as a member of which he started his military service and connected to throughout his life.

This group of weapons is remarkable not only with richness of the precious decoration, the high quality of blades and artistic level of jewelry work. The study of the history of these weapons origin and the translation of the Arabic inscriptions permitted to understand their appurtenance and ways they came to the Ministry of Defense in details. These weapons are connected with the important events in Russian history and outstanding people of its imperial and soviet periods and reflect complex vicissitudes of national military and political life.

Keywords: richly ornamented weapon, honorary weapon, Frunze, Arabic inscriptions.