153 items of the collection are analyzed in details:
I. OTTOMAN ARMS
The arms from the Ottoman Empire including the Balkans which are analyzed and presented in the catalog compromising 47 items which include: 18 yatağan swords, 1 pala kılıç saber, 2 kılıç sabers, 5 Ottoman sabers with Persian shamshir blades, 2 bıçak knives, 2 Ottoman daggers, 13 Ottoman flintlock guns, 2 Ottoman flintlock pistols and 2 cartridge boxes.
II. CAUCASIAN ARMS
The Caucasian arms which are analyzed are 6 items: 1 curved kindjal and 5 qama.
III. ARAB ARMS AND ARMOR
One Arab saif is also presented.
There are 8 African items in this collection which include 1 sword and 7 daggers.
Persian arms and armor (23 pieces) compromise 1 khanjar (dagger), 1 kashkul (begging bowl), 1 bāzuband (arm protector), 1 qaddāre (one-edged short sword), 3 qame (double-edged sword), 2 straight shamshir, 2 curved shamshir, 5 tabar (axe), 2 gorz (mace), 1 kolāhkhud (helmet), 3 separ (shield) and 1 neyze (spear).
VI. CENTRAL ASIA
One Central Asian sword is also analyzed here.
There are 14 Indian arms and armor analyzed in this collection: 2 shields, 4 katār (push daggers), 4 different daggers, 1 knife kukri, 1 tulwar sword and 2 maces.
A Chinese dao (single edged sword) and a trousse (traveling eating set of a knife and chopsticks) are also presented.
There are 12 Indonesian items in this collection compromising 10 keris and 2 short swords.
There are 40 pieces of Japanese arms and armor in this collection. These include 4 katana, 3 wakizashi, 1 tanto, 6 naginata, 3 yari, 1 yumi bow, 2 kabuto, 3 zanuri kabuto, 8 jingasa, 2 o-yoroi, 1 wakibiki and 6 teppo.
The book “Heirloom of Steel” presents a detailed analysis of the arms and armor collection of Max Mayer-Ahrdorff which is kept in South Moravian Museum in Znojmo. The collection of arms and armor of Max Mayer-Ahrdorff has been kept in the Museum of Znojmo since 1921. The museum was established in 1878 and has different locations around the city. The collection has Persian arms and armor, Ottoman arms, Caucasian arms, Japanese arms and armor, African arms and armor, Indian arms and armor, Indonesian arms and some selected pieces from Arab countries and China. The collection of Persian arms and armor includes beautiful items, among them chiseled and etched steel shields and a helmet, Persian straight and curved swords with etched blades, Persian crucible steel blades with gold-inlaid and overlaid cartouches, Persian axes with chiseled and etched surfaces, Persian bull-headed and demon-headed maces, Persian flintlock guns with pattern-welded barrels, Persian bāzuband with chiseled and etched surfaces, a Persian begging bowl with a beautiful chiseled surface, a magnificent Persian crucible steel shamshir blade (mošabbak pattern) from the Safavid period with gold-inlaid cartouche with the mark “Amal-e Assadollāh” (the work of Assadollāh) in Ottoman mounts, etc. Some of the handles of the Ottoman fittings are made of beautifully translucent rhino horn.
The collection of Ottoman and Caucasian arms and armor also includes exceptional items, such as a beautiful Turkish pala kılıç saber with a pattern welded steel blade (most probably Turkish ribbon pattern), Ottoman Turkish flintlock pistols and guns, and different yatağan swords, mostly dated with the names of the smiths and owners. Some have handles made of walrus ivory. There are some beautiful Caucasian qame (kama) in the collection as well.
The collection of Japanese arms and armor contains magnificent items such as teppó (matchlock arquebuses), Japanese jingasa (war hats), katana, wakizashi, tanto, yari, naginata, and two beautiful complete sets of Japanese armor.
The collection of Indian arms and armor include some interesting items, such as beautifully painted brass shields and a beautifully inlaid hide shield, different types of katar push daggers, a flanged mace, a piked mace, different types of daggers and tulwar, etc.
The collection of Indonesian keris contains some beautiful early keris with very beautiful patterns.
There is also a collection of North African weapons and also other African weapons from Morocco, Sudan, etc.
But we should take into account that not all of the arms and armor presented in the catalog of this book used to belong to his collection. For example, the artifacts with museum inventory numbers of Zb 600 and Zb 610 were donated by Count Salm to the museum; the artifacts with museum inventory numbers of Zb 619 and Zb 621 were donated by Mr. Šilhan to the museum; the artifact with the museum inventory number of Zb 896/A–B was bought from Antonín Hudec and the artifact with the museum inventory number of Zb 739 was confiscated after the World War II. Further, the museum cannot provide any further information on the origins of the following weapons: artifacts with the museum inventory numbers of Zb 864, Zb 836, Zb 750, Zb 927, Zb 932, Zb 941, Zb 894 and Zb 881/A–H. The rest of the arms really belonged to Max Mayer and he sold them to the museum.
The book is also published in Czech language in a separate volume as well.