Ottaman Kilij; Yataghan Sword

Yatagan sword

Yatagan sword is a famous and effective type of sword that was widely used in the Ottoman period from the 16th to the 19th century. One of the first known yataghan swords is the sword made by master Ahmet Tekelû for Sultan Suleyman. The sword is exhibited in New York Metropolitan Museum today.Yataghan sword is also known as Turkish sword by foreign countries. The biggest reason for this is that the Yataghan sword was the most used sword especially during the Ottoman period. The cultures of the Ottomans, who owned land on three continents, also settled in these lands over time. The Yataghan sword has brought internationally known terms to sword production. One of these terms is “Turkish curve”.The Yataghan sword is difficult to use due to its center of gravity, Turkish curve, and ideal swinging style but the destruction and cutting effect on the hands of a good user is much higher than that of its contemporary swords.Yataghan swords perform the defensive and offensive functions of any sword, although they differ in structure and size from casual swords.

The head of the handle, made of white or black bone, ivory, wood or horn, is divided to the right and left in the form of two broad ears. These prevent the yataghan sword from getting out of hand during the movement and give the weapon a distinct aesthetic appearance.Because of this appearance, it is called as “Sword with ear” among the people.Ottoman kilijis usually 60-80 cm long.

Yataghan swords were both produced in an ordinary way by the public and were produced by real masters from a single piece of steel.In order to make high quality yataghan swords suitable for the status of its owner, more than one master who specialized in a certain part of the sword was needed.Bir usta bıçak kısmını yaparken biri kabzayı,  öbürü kınını, bir başkası da motifleri yapmaktaydı.One master was making the sharp steelpart, one was making the handle, the other one was making the scabbard, and another was making the motifs.

Yataghan swords got their name from the name of a town where they were produced during the Ottoman period. Today, Yataghan is a town of Denizli in Turkey.During the Ottoman period, skilled craftsmen produced the most useful and best swords of the age in this region. It is said that many of the sword masters in this region today are the descendants of the masters of the Ottoman period.The town’s name is said to come from Bektashi Yataghan Baba.

Yataghan is curved like most eastern swords, but unlike traditional swords, it is curved with the sharp side inward. Both sides of yataghan, which were exposed to high stress during the collision, were made of steel, and their backs were made of iron to gain flexibility.Most of the Yataghan swords have engravings on their handles and hilt. The handle is decorated with mother-of-pearl inlaid, pearls and precious stones.

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