Reviews - What do customers think about Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Peroid?
Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Peroid Nov 28, 2007
A very comprehensive description of Iranian arms, Iranian history and processes used to create Damascus steel. I found the history described to be as fascinating as the more technical aspects. Extensive pictures illustrate and complement the text. While this is certainly an academic volume, I found the text to flow and easy to read.
"Bible" or "Quran" for any collector ! Jun 6, 2007
I am not the bigest collector, neither I have the most complete library on arms and armor. But the book of Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani is trully outstanding ! Everyone knows "similar" books which are available on the market today. Some of them have very nice pictures and short description of the pictured items. Unfortunatelly some other books have only nice pictures and "fairy tales" about the pictured items. "Arms & Armor from Iran" is many PARASANGES forward in comparison with any other book writen on this subject. Is a great work which impresses not only collectors and people who have knowledge about the subject, but also any simple and occasional reader who 'll hold the book in his hands for a short time.The perfection of Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani's work, shows not only the high level of his scientific knowledge on arms and armor of his home country, but also his pure love to them ! In few words, it can be the "BIBLE" or "QURAN" of any serious or amateur collector ! Congratulations to Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani ! We are looking forward his next book !
THE Finest and Most Comprehensive Book on this Subject! Apr 8, 2007
Prior to ordering this publication, I read all the other reviews so there was already a built-up expectation of excellence in what I was to discover when the book arrived. I can unequivocally, that not only did the reputation prove correct, but in every way, the book still exceeded what I was to expect! The text is extremely detailed, the images fantastic, the construction of the book is of the finest quality. For most subject matters, one must build a large reference libary of many publications to give you the volume of information this one book provides. The price is steep but when you consider that it really is several books in one, it still proves to be a bargain. I think it would have been reasonable to publish this massive publication in multiple volumes which the buyer would then have to purchase individually and the sum of the prices would easily equal or surpass this publication's price.
The author was highly privileged in accomplishing the impossible in his access to most of the artifacts he fully displays from Iranian military museum collections closed to the general public. This book opens the door, for the first time, to enjoyment and study of rare ancient weapons and armor that have never been seen before by the vast majority of the world.
The mere publication of this book is quite an accomplishment unto itself. Everyone who appreciates arms and armor of the ancient world should include this book in their library.
A masterpeice! Apr 4, 2007
What a work of art!! I consider this book to as precious and valuable as the masterpieces Mr. Khorasani did so much research on to write this book.
This is HANDS-DOWN THE BEST BOOK EVER (EVER) written on Iranian (or Middle Eastern) arms and armor. I would go as far as to say that this is one of the best books written on the subject of arms and armor.
Look, this book weights over 10 lbs. It consumed over 8 years of the Authors' life to gather and organize all the information in this book, and this book has a lot of information. Very important information. A lot of whats in this book is RARE information. Its amazing, so much of the information in this has never even been written in English before. So, much detail... I know without a hesitation that much of info was translated from Farsi and Arabic.
There is nothing like this book. Details are given, not only about the weapons and armor, but also about how it was worn and used. I really love how the Author put this together. There is so much detail about the conduct a warrior should have, how they lived there life, and the etiquette in which a man should carry himself and his sword. Mr. Khorasani, even includes Omar Khayyam's chapter on swords, from his book noruz-nameh, as well as many other important people. It has taught a lot about my heritage. So, much so, that I am even teaching my family about our heritage. I learned that swords and swordsmanship go deep in my veins. My ancestors were even called men of the sword by the Persians. I have been studying Japanese swordsmanship for about 5 years, and my father would always ask me why. I never had a good reply, until I got this book. Now he never asks anymore. Javanmardi, is the way which I try to live my life. This book has really changed me as a Persian and as a Martial artist. I carry the same pride around now as the Sassanian warriors or Ayyer did. Pride in my weapons. Pride in my skills. Pride in my long wavy hair.
If you are reading these reviews to decided if you should buy this book or if you are into arms and armor. BUY IT!! You can't go wrong. I bought this book the 1st week it was published last year, and its still in perfect condition. So, while it is a big book; it can still take some damage. I carried my copy around for the first 3 months i got it. The price on this book will only scare you for a minute. Once you actually see and feel this book, you won't regret it. I'm sure of that.
Thank you Mr Khorasani for the dedication and sacrifices you have made to to write this book. Its a real gem. You should be proud of yourself, for a job well done. I think what you have done and what this book, really, represents is something very special. Thanks again!
Unprecedented analysis of Iranian arms and armor. Feb 5, 2007
Let me start my humble review of the book entitled "Arms and Armor from Iran" by Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani with the only absolutely negative remark I have in relation to this book. In computer-related terminology, this is not a laptop, it is not even a desktop - this is something more of a database - both in its size and the amount of information it carries - the latter, of course is a positive notion. Seriously, this book is humongous! What I would love to see is it being divided into two, with all these marvelous illustrations assembled in volume 2, carefully preserved for only the friends who wash their hands before touching this book. Also, put on my "wish list": a CD-ROM based on this book. I cannot imagine a single person interested in history, science and the art of arms who wouldn't want to have it.
Now, back to the book. I turn the page and see the excursus into the Iranian history and am surprised at first - why would I want to refresh my memory in history? And only when being almost half way through the book I suddenly realize that this excursus actually prepared me to the forthcoming chapters! Okay, spending my young years in Armenia, while studying towards my M.S. degree I was literally "around the corner" from Iran and read a lot about the country's rich heritage - but what about those whose standard is a McDonalds' ad claiming that Belgium is a city in Germany? I guess - no, I actually hope that people who grab this book with both their hands do have some basic knowledge of history, and at least some understanding of Persian to know that the word "shamshir" translates to English as "sword" and not "saber". Needless to say that this short history of Iran so wisely and properly placed in the beginning of the book, helps explain how and why such advanced metallurgy developed in this part of the world and how it led to the development of superior arms so beautifully crafted.
I allow myself to respectfully skip the Bronze Age and jump right into the crucible steel period as it has intrigued me for as long as I can remember.
The very beginning of the chapter on crucible steel may not appeal to the conservative-thinking stubborn opponents who are overwhelmed with the theory saying that the name "Damascus steel" refers to a crucible watered steel that was uniquely produced in the city of Damascus by local smiths, and this steel's unique qualities and appeal were attributed to the unique, Vanadium and Molybdenum enriched ore from the mount of Damascus - too bad we cannot check it since the mount was apparently dug down to the ground by the smiths in their quest for this miraculous ore. As for me, I am more convinced by the theory presented in this book - specifically, that the city of Damascus was a huge market place for merchants whose roads crossed in this city. In this case, Damascus was obviously a "supermarket" for many customers from around the world in search of outstanding Persian blades and good blades from India.
The author continuous by quoting and analyzing Dr. Feuerbach's research - for which fact I think many of us should be particularly grateful to Dr. Khorasani since not all of us have access to the most interesting Ph.D. dissertation on crucible steel by Dr. Feuerbach (I believe it still can be ordered from the author on CD-ROM). I do not completely agree with the theory of watered crucible steel being necessarily of a dendritic structure as other structural formations are possible and may cause similar to dendritic "watering" and qualities. Also structural analysis of old blades is somewhat challenged by the elements' migration in the steel over the time.
Dr. Khorasani then brings to our attention a detailed description of the method of making watered crucible steel as it was recorded by Massalski from the words of the smiths in Bukhara - a truly interesting historical piece which leaves us wondering: if it is described in such detail, why was it never reproduced by followers? Of course, when taking a closer look it is obvious that with all this use of silver, different types of steel, precise construction and meticulous timing - it is more reminiscent of the work of an alchemist than a metallurgist - besides, few centuries before Massalski, smiths were not that technologically advanced and yet were able to produce superb quality watered crucible steel. The author then takes us to methods used in India. Although it is mentioned that the wootz-made blade must hold the edge well and be strong, hard yet flexible, it is well-documented that many wootz ingots (cakes) are extremely brittle - as well as many wootz-made blades. The Russian Army Lieutenant (Poruchik) Maksimov, the acknowledged authority on edged weapons who spent a lot of time at the Zlatoust Arms Factory, wrote an article on the blade selection ("How to determine qualities of the edged weapons", February 8, 1857) in which he strongly advised a buyer who is not experienced in watered (personally, I prefer the term "patterned") crucible steel to buy a regular blade. He reports on being an eyewitness (1846) of the wootz-made blade made by a reputable smith (and extremely expensive) being broken into many pieces by just a gentle flat-hit against a wooden surface of a table! This particular saber was attributed (according to Maksimov) to the "famous Turkish master" and belonged to the Maksimov's friend, son of Shamkhal Tarkovsky who served in His Imperial Majesty Personal Convoy. Now, can we really imagine anybody watching for his blade not to turn flat against the enemy's blade during the battle?!
At last, the author brings us to the Iranian (Persian) watered crucible steel. With numerous sources cited, the author clearly shows the superiority of the Persian watered crucible steel and points us to the centers of its manufacturing.
Finally, we read about pattern-welded Damascus which I am personally not that fascinated with. The author then employs multiple sources to tell us about various and multiple inscriptions that appear on the swords from Persia/Iran.
I am turning the next page - and my breath is taken away by multiple examples of the patterns - although still in black-and-white (I am looking at what I call Volume 1, leaving the rich in colors Volume 2 for the later enjoyment), but regardless of that very impressive. We then see many examples of various blade marks and styles and shapes of shamshirs, some of which look like curved flamboyant swords (the author calls them "serrated"). The blades' inscriptions linked to known smiths' names - and the author refers to the recognized authorities when describing them.
What also grabbed my attention was the chapter dedicated to Persian straight swords which according to the author played a significant role in the history of Iranian arms (a fact I was largely overlooking prior to reading this book!).
Not less attention is given in this book to short-blade weapons such as the qame, khanjar, kard, pishqabz etc.
It is difficult to really stop when reviewing such a high quality book - and I did not cover even half of it! I must put myself into order here and give my overall impression of the book. In short, this book is an unprecedented effort by the author who was given access to many collections that were never before seen by the public. This book however is not just a catalog - it is a thorough analysis of numerous samples of arms and armors that are documented, described with high precision and presented in the highest quality photographs (I again raise my voice in a demand for this book on CD-ROM where one can zoom even closer to some pictures, forgetting about delicious dinner, family duties etc.).
I can clearly see - when comparing Dr. Khorasani's book with other sources (although there is not a single one of the same or even close caliber, both in the number of described items and in the depth and breadth of analysis) that the author's hypotheses are not always following the commonly accepted ones. Therefore, I would not be surprised to see some give this book a "raised eyebrow" - especially from certain respected opponents limited in their access to historical items and to original language sources. I salute Dr. Khorosani for his effort and for bringing to our attention the history, art, and science of Iranian arms and armor.