Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi 22nd February 2017 10:14 PM

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It appears from right to left but in arabic numerals 88 / 11 / 19 with the word hijri in old arabic...certainly old omani arabic... It cannot be late 20th century since the wear on it is much older than that ... I suspect 19thC. Now could the date be one of those puzzles with numbers... 19 minus 11 is 8 , 8x 11 = 88... It happens to be a day after national day ..Coincidence?... Could it be the date of the placement of a new hilt... ? It is, after all, inscribed on the hilt..which may well be a later addition, We may never know... Any ideas? :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 28th March 2017 11:59 AM

Khanjar Dance; Barah.
There is in fact a traditional dance in the Funun called the Barah described as
Quote"Al-Barah is a Bedouin musical tradition from the Dhofar mountains in southern Oman. It takes the form of a warlike dance performed to drums and the chanting of poetry in a local tribal dialect. Al-Barah is performed in a half circle formed by ten to thirty men and women. As they chant and clap, two male dancers holding khanjars (daggers) perform codified dance movements, brandishing their daggers above shoulder level. The dancers steps are uncomplicated, but coordination with other performers and the music requires considerable skill. Each tribe has its own characteristic form of al-Barah, possessing different drum rhythms and dance movements. The musical accompaniment is provided by the al-kasir, al-rahmâni and ad-daff drums and al-qassaba flute. The dance is performed outdoors, on occasions such as weddings, circumcisions and religious feasts. As for other Omani Bedouin dances, class and other distinctions are erased, as tribal leaders perform alongside the most humble of the population. The tradition represents the chivalric spirit, strength, courage, generosity and hospitality associated with Bedouins. The dance also emphasizes poetic themes of love and flirtation. Al-Barah has many practitioners from Dhofar, who contribute to maintaining and transmitting its poetic variety and practice.''Unquote.

The above from which also has a video for interest. In fact it is also practiced in the Sharqiyyah and in Yemen I understand.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 31st March 2017 12:12 PM

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I was impressed by a Royal Khanjar I saw at the Zubair Museum in Muscat and show that below...It may be noted that the hilt although mostly shrouded behind silver decoration is Rhino but that this is a material greatly liked not only because of the inherent strength and fearlessness for which it was famous but because the horn itself can accept lots of securing silver pins without cracking. Many weapons are being made these days with recycled old hilts or composite high density compounds which are just as strong and pliable. You will recall that it was one of Saiid The Great's wives who invented several adornments on her husbands behalf or to brighten his day thus the following were her contribution; The Royal Khanjar Hilt, The Royal Turban, The Royal Camerbund, The Iconic Battle Sword Royal Hilt, and probably the Omani Dancing Sword.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 13th July 2017 12:21 PM

For a detailed paper on The Omani Khanjar see

Gonzalo G 13th July 2017 11:33 PM

Thank you for sharing, Ibrahiim. All publications are welcome. They are impossible to find where I live. Except for the Internet.


Ibrahiim al Balooshi 14th July 2017 03:02 PM

Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
Thank you for sharing, Ibrahiim. All publications are welcome. They are impossible to find where I live. Except for the Internet.


Then you are in the same position as I. !! :)

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 15th July 2017 02:27 PM

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Perhaps a few atmospheric shots of Khanjars being worn... :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 28th August 2017 05:27 PM

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I have yet to post a Khanjar naming the different parts... Fortunately has done the hard work for which I commend his informative web site thus below is the named weapon parts diagram.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 9th September 2017 12:58 PM

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It is very easy to get carried away in an Omani Souk...Feast your eyes...!!!!

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 12th September 2017 10:08 AM

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A further group of excellent Omani Khanjars... :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 19th September 2017 04:41 PM

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A couple of pointers ...for interest. Many people ask me how to identify Rhino Hilts. The fact is its not easy but rhino looks like bunched spaghetti and can be better seen if a light is shone into the hilt from a powerful mobile fone torch ....The material is translucent and almost glows . Here is one of the best I have seen illustrated ...Rhino is excellent material for Khanjar hilts since it can take the myriad of tiny nail/pins without splitting. In fact one of the give aways on a Khanjar is the thousands of such silver pins hammered into the face and top of the hilt. To me it is as if the intentional pattern derives from the end view of Rhino hilts... the massing of fibres giving rise to this pattern reflects in my view to the design of pins hammered into the hilt. :shrug:

Once again I draw the attention of readers to which is a dissertation of huge importance to Omans cultural herritage.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 29th September 2017 12:46 PM

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For a few years now we are seeing complete formal matching sets of weapons for court purposes using the full combination of historical and correctly applied matching decoration... Note the belt which is a camerbund and the interesting hilts on the swords...Not everyones taste but very attractive ... Tomorrows antiques I suppose.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 16th October 2017 11:00 AM

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The Omani Khanjar; Some unusual examples...

Please see Omani for a further angle on Omani Khanjars.

See which shows a reasoned discussion on Walrus / Elephant Ivory.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 16th October 2017 11:18 AM

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In this case the Khanjar is in fact not Omani...but chevron styled rings at centre belt coupled with the expanse of leather below the belt indicate a UAE weapon.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 18th October 2017 04:06 PM

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I see strange looking daggers occasionally but this one was extra odd looking...
The crown is extra bulbous not to mention 10 rings! and a very odd looking central ring belt with unusual rectangles ..I don't know....Anyone got any ideas...? :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 27th October 2017 07:13 AM

Most peculiar. This Khanjar above has been seriously meddled with ...With more than 10 rings it is most odd... Usually 7 rings is the maximum but I have seen 8 or 9... The other unusual thing is the crown which is huge. A very un Omani like belt section with strange modernish architecture throws a further spanner into the works and almost no decoration to the dagger and no decoration below the puzzling coupled with the general demeanor of a very non Omani looking Khanjar.
My thought~ This isn't Omani. I did toy with Al Wustah but I think it is from the Abha region in what is now Saudia and was in Yemen before about 1923.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 1st November 2017 10:56 AM

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I think the give away on the Khanjar above is the crown which is bulbous and seemingly oversized which is the fashion on Khanjars / Jambia in the Asir region of what was Yemen pre 1923 and is now part of Saudia Arabia. Omani people call this style ahbaabi or "of Abha". They are discussed on ~

These Abha weapons are very very similar to Al Wustah Omani Khanjars and I have to say that Omani which is an excellent reference site ...thinks they are Omani whereas I do not. They consider the flower stamp to be from Oman and although I think they are linked historically since the main port in the Wustah region is Sur and it was a stepping stone Port to the Asir region and on the route to Zanzibar and back...which is probably how the style was exported and froze in that region and was thereafter produced there with minute changes to detail and inscriptions added etc...That is in my view how it happened but if I am wrong I will immediately consider altering my notes! but not for now.

Here are examples of the bulbous crown of Abha styles below~

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 3rd November 2017 12:16 PM

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Back to Omani Khanjar Style.

Here is a slightly smaller Khanjar probably from Sur. Of note is the work knife (sikeen) tucked behind the main dagger and the small silvered leather wallet for a few coins. The Hilt is particularly attractive with two flowers and a central band as well as silver pins hammered into the Rhino Hilt.

This is a National Museum Exhibit.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 17th November 2017 02:42 AM

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Sinaw souk in the Sharqiyyah...Oman.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 18th November 2017 10:28 AM

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One of the best blades (Naslah) I have seen in a long time. This is Omani made. :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 20th November 2017 11:02 AM

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Since we are taking apart the Omani Khanjar in this page I would like to put up for interest some more pieces... The Hilt for example ... Comments welcome of course..
The single Rhino hilt held to a strong light becomes translucent ....You can spot Rhino hilts a long way off as they are invariably covered in a myriad of silver pins. On cow horn such a load of pins would split the poorer quality bone especially at the top right and left corners which I will show in the next post... In my view the pins reflect the rhino horn effect as it is seen from the top of the hilt ...sometimes called stacked spaghetti by collectors...

The three blades below are from Salalah freshly paired with hilts and the interesting dotted blade in the centre is favourite...perhaps showing evil spirits three dots in either direction on both sides of the blade and on each of the two segments of the joined blade ...i.e. either side of the central ridge...

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 20th November 2017 12:16 PM

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Here is a hilt showing how it can errode at either end of the T shaped hilt when cow horn is used with silver pins...More common with cow horn is a shaped silver plate covering much of the front of the hilt.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 20th November 2017 12:21 PM

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Cow horn with silver shaped frontal plate...copying the shape of the more ornate pins on the preceding post... Thus is that shape reflecting the use of Rhino Horn...?

I have a broader view that the shape of the blade is reminiscent of the Rhino Horn and therefor all aspects of the Khanjar are Rhino related...Hilt, Blade and Scabbard...even down to the tiny silver pins.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 21st November 2017 05:28 PM

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To return to full khanjar examples..
The important point here is the Maqbath(Hilt) is fully pinned so that the front plate looks solid ...when in fact it is a myriad of dense silver pins...on Rhino Horn. :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 21st November 2017 05:30 PM

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This is an old Khanjar on a plain working belt likely to be Salalah...but it has lots of character. It may well be made from more than one source...added to down the years and changed. There is a big silver stud missing on the hilt. The blade has had a battering. The scabbard is beautiful and very unusually decorated :)

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 22nd November 2017 10:14 AM

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Here are 3 Royal Khanjar types...Typical with Mulberry Fruit silver ball clusters. The two outer weapons are the same ...the middle piece different in the silver plate below the belt section and in the decorative band on the scabbard cover (Qita'a) :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 22nd November 2017 03:21 PM

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A Khanjar for a big hand! :) The Omani Emblem is stamped on the belt section (Khanjar in the centre and Two Crossed Swords.) Thus the indicator is that the Khanjar is post 1970... In that time it may well have had a Hilt change. :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 24th November 2017 02:01 PM

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A quick review of cow horn used on Khanjar Hilts. No point in using hundreds of close packed silver pins as the material will not sustain this and the result is cracking and splitting in the hilt and as loose pins fall away...seen here the leaf pattern silver decorative pieces are loose ... but as a working hilt this is a cheaper alternative...

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 24th November 2017 04:24 PM

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A look at wooden hilt form; Sandalwood. This naturally perfumed hardwood is excellent for hilt making...taking many silver pins without splitting.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 24th November 2017 04:33 PM

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A re-used hilt from a Royal Khanjar which were invariably Rhino Hilts heavily decorated with silver~ Personally I would look for a narrower blade...however, the point being that full use is made of expensive rare horn; recycled in the Omani Khanjar workshops.

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