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>Costume Studies
>>1390 Mamluk tabardar
Subject: tabardar elite guard / halberdier
Culture: Circassian-Mamluk
Setting: Mamluk Sultanate, Egypt/Mediterranean 13th-15thc





Context

* Metropolitan Museum of Art 1987 p60
"The Mamluk sultans and amirs, probably in imitation of the Varangian (Viking) guard of the emperors of Byzantium, employed a special corps of ax bearers, who accompanied them on ceremonial occasions and into battle."

* Heath 1978 p93 (describing a Mamluk tabardar, ca. 1250)
"This figure probably represents one of the infantry guardsmen called Tabardariyyah, named after their distinctive weapon the Tabar (axe).  How big this unit actually was does not seem to be altogether clear -- it may have comprised no more than the 10 Tabardariyyah who accompanied the Sultan on parade.  Their commander was the Amir-Tabar."


Axe

* Hillebrand 1999 p456 (referring to a fifteenth-century axe, Plate 7.2)
"The weapon known as tabar was a large axe with a semicircular blade and a wooden or metal handle.  In Mamluk times it was carried by a special corps, the tabardariyya."

* Heath 1978 p93 (describing a Mamluk tabardar, ca. 1250)
"The axe was also employed by other troops, Joinville recording 30 al-Halqa in 1250 'with drawn swords in  their hands and Danish axes hanging at their necks'; the shape of the axe blade was apparently very similar to the traditional Scandinavian design.  Al-Tartusi describes the shape of the Nagin, a smaller, cavalry version of the Tabar, as like a half-moon.  The haft of the Tabar could be of wood or metal.  The blades of ceremonial axes were usually decorated with inlay and perforated patterns."

* North 1985 p44
"Some Mameluk axes of the 14th and 15th centuries are preserved in Topkapi.  These have large crescent blades and steel shafts. Many of the blades are fretted out in a design of arabesques incorporating the name of an Emir or with Koranic inscriptions.  One type has a blade with a lower edge which extends downwards.  The back of the axe is set with a quadrilateral projection for use as a hammer.  Although many of these larger axes were carried as parade arms, some show the notched and damaged edges that indicate hard usage in war."