• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7630

    Russian Works of Art

    24 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 29

    A Caucasian parcel gilt and niello shashka


    Price Realised  


    A Caucasian parcel gilt and niello shashka
    Marked with the Georgian initials of the workmaster Iossif Popov, Tiflis, 1865 and embossed with the Imperial warrant.
    Curved, the parcel gilt and niello hilt with bifurcated pommel with a russian inscription 'For Bravery', (miniature of the Order of St. George missing), the leather scabbard with parcel-gilt and niello mounts en suite, the upper one with the engraved Russian inscription on the reverse which translates: 'To His Imperial Highness Commander of the Caucasian Army From the Nijny Novgorodskii dragoon regiment 1866 Feb 6'
    38 9/16 in. (98 cm.) long (2)

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    As narrated in the history of the Nijny Novgorodskii regiment written by V. Potto in 1865, the officers of the above regiment decided to present to the Emperor and his brother the Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich, commander of the Caucasian Army, a Nijny Novgorodskaia shashka (called as such due to the specific design appearing on the swords worn by the officers of the regiment).

    The blade of the present sword is uniquely described by Potto: "The blade, chosen by the Grand Duke, is also of historical importance in the Caucasus; it was kept for generations for over 100 years in the Shapsug Maratuzov family and was well known all along the coast of the Black Sea." The sword is not only described by V. Potto, but also illustrated with the the Grand Duke Michael wearing it.

    Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich (1832-1909), the fourth and youngest son of the Emperor Nicholas I, started his military career at an early age, in the pure tradition of the Romanov dynasty
    His first experience on the battlefield was at Inkerman during the Crimean war during which he received the Order of St. George 4th class.

    From December 1862 and for the next 20 years Grand Duke Michael was Viceroy of the Caucasus and Commander of the Caucasian Army. During his leadership the pacification of Chechnia, Dagestan and the Western Caucasus was accomplished.

    In 1864 he was awarded the Order of St. George 2nd class for the pacification of the Western Caucasus and the end of the war in the Caucasus.

    During the Turkish war in 1877 he was awarded the Order of St. George 1st class and was made Field Marshall in April 1878.

    Such a caucasian sword with such a blade and such Imperial provenance can be truly considered a unique and extremely rare piece on the market.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    V. Potto, History of the 44th Nijny Novgorodskii Regiment, Volume IX, St. Petersburg (1895), pp.15-22.
    Prince N. S. Trubetzkoi, About the Nijny Novgorodskaia Shashka, The Military Fact (1964) N-65 p. 27-28.