Сабля казахского Вали-хана из собрания Музеев Московского Кремля

Translated title of the contribution: A Saber of the Kazakh Vali Khan from the Collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums

L. A. Bobrov, V. R. Novoselov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. We describe a saber from the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums (Inventory no. 4427). Results. The total length of the saber is 101.5 cm including the length of the blade 87.5 cm. When in the scabbard, the length is 106.5 cm. The grip and metal elements of the scabbard are made of gilded silver. Their surface is decorated with floral engraving. Mounts and big bezels contain pieces of turquoise and jade. The grip is inlaid with jade plates, gold and mounted rubies. We analyzed the construction and decoration of the saber and the scabbard and concluded that they were made by Ottoman masters in the first half of the 17th century. The closest analogues of the saber are stored in the Moscow Kremlin Armory, the State Hermitage Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc. According to the inscription on the blade, we refer the weapon to the type of insignia, which were given to Kazakh rulers who became Russian citizens and were approved as khans. A common historiographical attribution of the saber as belonging to Erali Khan (1729) has been proved wrong. According to the documents of the 18th century available, the saber initially was to be given to a famous Kazakh khan of the Middle jüz of Kazakhstan Ablai Khan (1711–1780). In 1778, the blade of the 17th century was signed in Russian and Arab, the scabbard was covered with red tissue, the gilded elements were freshened up, and a shoulder harness made of silk of two colors was added, together with a case. In the second half of 1778, the saber was delivered to the Peter and Paul Fortress of the Novyi Ishim defense line, where it was to be handed to Ablai Khan. However, due to some political disagreements he refused to accept the signs of the power, and the saber, along with other gifts, was left to be stored in the fortress. In May 1781, Ablai’s son, a newly elected Vali Khan (1744–1821), addressed Russian authorities asking them to pass him the signs of the khan’s power and Ablai’s allowance. As the insignia was to be given to the new owner, the inscription had to be changed. The saber was sent to Orenburg, where a local master changed the khan’s name and the year. During an official ceremony in the Peter and Paul Fortress, which was held on 1 November, 1782, the weapon was awarded to Vali Khan. Later on, the saber was passed on and stored by some families of noble Kazakhs. Conclusion. The saber is of a high scientific value as it is the only surviving and almost undamaged symbol of Kazakh khans’ power. It is a unique relic of Russian-Kazakh relations in the 18th century.

Translated title of the contributionA Saber of the Kazakh Vali Khan from the Collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)87-104
Number of pages18
JournalVestnik Novosibirskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta, Seriya: Istoriya, Filologiya
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Ablai Khan
  • Insignia saber
  • Kazakh weapons
  • Kazakhstan
  • Vali Khan


  • 6.01.MM HISTORY

State classification of scientific and technological information

  • 03.41 Archaeology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A Saber of the Kazakh Vali Khan from the Collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this