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Very Fine 19th C. Imperial Russian Alexander III "For Bravery" Shashka Sword with Badge of St. Anne

( ID: rs1054 )

A fine example of a rare Russian shashka sword dating to the period of Alexander III, 1881-1894, completely original and in untouched condition. This example is mounted with the badge of St. Anne awarded for bravery and marked in Cyrllic on both sides of the crossguard. The black grip is in fine condition with a small hairline fissure but is completely sound and tight. The blade is a rare example made by a non-Zlatoust Russian maker from the famous Russian iron working city of Pavlovo. 

The town of Pavlovo on the Oka River, founded in the sixteenth century, is an ancient centre of metalwork. The 1666 census records 40 smithies, at which 70 blacksmiths worked. Foreign travellers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were delighted with tiny Pavlovo locks. The Swede Stralenberg in his account of his travel to Russia, The Russian State (1730), wrote the following about Pavlovo: “The whole population of the town are practically blacksmiths. Their apprentices carry various metal ware for sale throughout the whole region, and among them are tiny locks the size of a pea and others a little bigger like white Turkish beans. They all have keys and are very neatly turned out and fitted, so they open and close.”

This shashka would have been a continuation of that tradition of metal working and would likely have been specially ordered by the officer who carried this sword.  The blade is heavy and very well made and displays distinctly different proportions from the more common Zlatoust or Solingen blades that are usually found mounted on these types of shashkas.

Overall length 38", blade 32".

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