Shibriya? Majdali? What is this?
This is a recent acquisition (pics 1, 2, 3). Not much of a collectors piece because scabbard is missing and the blade is both badly made and roughed up. However, it is interesting enough to show it here, I think.
This dagger from South Syria is relatively large for this type - 31cm (12 and a bit inch), sturdy and with a sharp and practical blade. Interesting features:
1. It resembles one of the earliest forms of Majdali daggers, as shown in the 4th and 5th pictures below
2. The blade is shibriya-like, but also resembles dog-leg blades typical of primitive daggers from this area, as well older Majdalis. It is made of an old file, a very common feature in this type from late 19th/early 20th c
3. It has a date on the middle section of the hilt -1310 Hijri = 1892/3 Gregorian. It is the oldest date I have seen so far on daggers from this area.
4. It has pigeons on the hilt. This symbol is very common in later and modern shibriyas. Some experts think that it signifies Jordanian origin, but Jordan or even Jordanian entity did not exists in late 19th c.
In previous threads, I suggested that the blade shape common to Jordanian, Syrian and Palestinian (but not Arabian) shibriyas is simply a dog-leg blade with the point turned forward for practical or aesthetic reasons (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...=Motan+Shibriya). This probably did not happen at once and in very early shibriyas, the point is off the line of the hilt (last picture was posted by Khanjar1 some years ago). The new dagger seems to support this assertion.
Sorry, some pictures were lost. I added a picture of the middle section of the hilt, and another of a primitive dog-leg dagger from my collection and from the same period + area
Mmm.. Not my day, one picture was too large..
Well I disagree it's a collector piece! Who else than a crazy collector can buy that?? :) I agree it's not a dealer piece...
Remember what i wrote previously many of your shibriya are from the 19th c, mid or more likely late 19thc. Of course they are not Jordanians, Beduins Badawi is more appropriate. Facing pigeons or facing peacocks are common since the Umayyads until the Mughals, look at the Afghan ones for example...
BTW do you think the etching at the forte supported koftgari?
Thanks for responding. I am aware that I am niche collector, but it is still nice to have feedback. I have actually come to like this dagger and I am happy to have it.
As for the age and location of shibriya production, I have different thoughts. Daggers with dates are not common and therefore, it is difficult to determine age with any certainty. However, based on old pictures and the succession of development, I doubt if many shibriyas were produced in the 19th century. As for the place of production, I know that the large majority were produced in Jordan because there aren't that many workshops and I recognize their style. I can also recognize Palestinian ones and Sinai style. However, very few can be attributed to Syrian if you dismiss Damascus bazaar pieces (recognized by cast brass parts). This is strange considering that more Bedouin/Bedu live in Syria than in all these countries + North Africa and Iraq together. I have some thoughts about that, but this would become a long post..
Glad you got this one, Eytan.
Few things to consider. There are pictures of Palestinian bedouins with such daggers. It wasn't just shibriyas.
Perhaps the answer could be in comparison with sword decoration made in Syria to pinpoint where these daggers were made. I lean towards Damascus. Keep in mind that Damascus armed bedouins extensively.
Glad you joined in. I know that Damascus has armed the Bedouin all the way to Palestine and Jordan. Of the many types of swords carried by those Bedouin in the late 19th-early 20th c, almost all were made in Damascus.
The Bedouin of Syria probably bought daggers of many forms in the cities, particularly in Damascus . There are pictures of them carrying Kindjals types known to be produces there, as well as Majdalis. In addition, they had several types of local primitive daggers that I think were of great influence on the development of the shibriya. Unfortunately, the Syrian desert was not visited as much as other Bedouin areas and information is sparse. I know you would agree that there were connections all through and around the Syrian desert including portions of Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and down to the Arabian Peninsula and that influences went back and forth.
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