A karabela sabre






18th century


Forging, silvering, carving


Steel, bronze, horn


Overall length 897 mm; blade length 762 mm

The slightly curved single-edged blade is made of plain steel with a poorly expressed yelman, a ricasso and two fullers on each side. Over the course of 145 mm from the hilt, the blade is slightly widened, and further, from about the middle of its length, it gradually widens towards the point. In the upper part of the blade, In the upper part of the blade, the letters C, E, И, О, Λ are stamped in the fullers on both sides. The hilt consists of a grip and a cruciform bronze guard with hemispherical ends. The silver coating of the guard has been partially worn off. The grip is formed by two horn scales that are attached to the tang by three steel rivets. Each grip scale is carved with chevron-shaped protrusions. The large pommel has a characteristic "eagle head" shape. No scabbard.

COMMENT. The presented item is a well-preserved Polish karabela, which was produced in the 18th century. Karabela is a common term for Asian and European sabres with an angular pommel resembling the shape of a stylized eagle's head. Blades and guards varied in shape. The distinctive shape of the pommel does not allow the karabela to be confused with any other sabre type. Nowadays, there are many opinions regarding the origin of both the term "karabela" and the "eagle-headed" shape of the pommel. Since the 16th century, the karabela type sabres were common both in Iran and in the Ottoman Empire, from where they came to Europe. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the karabela was very popular in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, where it was used not only as a combat weapon but also as a status symbol. In Poland, the karabela was considered a national sabre, and its popularity here was obviously greater than in other in other countries. Like some other varieties of Polish sabres, the karabela was an integral part of the nobleman costume. The richness of the decoration directly depended on the wealth of the owner. The presented example belonged, apparently, to a not too wealthy nobleman.