Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Yemen Jambiya? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=10798)

Steve 27th September 2009 09:57 PM

Sorry to come in late but the time difference is a bit extreme.
I have had several of these Hodeida hilts translated and they have always come back " work of..." or "made by.." as Michael's did above. I have to go by these translations and take it that the name on the back of the hilt is the makers name. It has been a proud and long tradition for the makers name to be transcribed onto silver pieces, including jambiya hilts, scabbards and adornments- in fact it was law to do so at a time in Sana under the last Imams.

With regards to the hebrew inscription. It would appear from others posts, that you have another signature. Occasionally I have seen hebrew writing on silver jambiya pieces. Not often- usually the jewish name was written in arabic. A silver spacer is sometimes used between the inside of silver hilts and the blade - as in this case although the spacer seems a little odd in not covering the complete distance. Maybe this is the photo or something more is hidden under the resin.

As a guess I think the hebrew signature might refer to the provider of that silver piece or the person, with the division of labour in making these, put the blade into the handle and added the additional silver spacer? Just an opinion.

Steve

Michael Blalock 27th September 2009 11:42 PM

After taking another look, I see that the last name on Steve's Jambiya which I could not decipher earlier, is Midwan. The same name that is on the Jedda Jambiya that Khanjar1 posted. Since the 1st and last name are the same and the script and style of Jambiyas is so similar, they must be by the same maker.

Steve 28th September 2009 02:13 AM

well done, Sherlock.

fernando 29th September 2009 04:53 PM

Alright Steve,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
...Sorry to come in late but the time difference is a bit extreme.
I have had several of these Hodeida hilts translated and they have always come back " work of..." or "made by.." as Michael's did above. I have to go by these translations and take it that the name on the back of the hilt is the makers name. It has been a proud and long tradition for the makers name to be transcribed onto silver pieces, including jambiya hilts, scabbards and adornments- in fact it was law to do so at a time in Sana under the last Imams...

So it is the handle maker's name. As we say over here: against facts there are no arguments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
...With regards to the hebrew inscription. It would appear from others posts, that you have another signature. Occasionally I have seen hebrew writing on silver jambiya pieces. Not often- usually the jewish name was written in arabic. A silver spacer is sometimes used between the inside of silver hilts and the blade - as in this case although the spacer seems a little odd in not covering the complete distance. Maybe this is the photo or something more is hidden under the resin....

I see your point. There is indeed a silver mount all around, between the handle and the tang; but it looks as, instead of its purpose being to cover the resin space, the intention was more to use it as a fixing wedge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
...As a guess I think the hebrew signature might refer to the provider of that silver piece or the person, with the division of labour in making these, put the blade into the handle and added the additional silver spacer? Just an opinion.

I see; a sort of hallmark from the knife setting operator.

Then in this case we would have an Arabic guy making the handle and a Jewish fitter mounting the weapon ... and potentially another smith forging the blade :eek: .
I know that very often weapons are the result of a cocktail of smiths; but i wasn't expecting for this sequence, though :confused:

Fernando

spiral 29th September 2009 06:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando

Then in this case we would have an Arabic guy making the handle and a Jewish fitter mounting the weapon ... and potentially another smith forging the blade :eek: .


From what I have read of the Yemeni jambiya craftsman such a scenario would be typicle, also other people to make the wooden scabbard, a woman to stich an embroided belt & a leather smith to make that into a complete belt. etc.etc.

Interesting no ones illustrated my favorite type the classic Sana T shape grip in translucent yellow rhino horn, I beleve the most expesive jambiya in the world had a similar shaped handle. {& a worthy provenance off course.} & that it one of the most sought after type of handle amongst, judges & politicians in the Yemen?

Here is one from Artzi`s site.

Spiral


Steve 30th September 2009 12:46 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Yes, the manufacture of a jambiya with belt can pass through up to 10 hands. No such thing as multi-skilling in this process!
Fernando, I've attached a pic of the stamp on my Jedda jambiya blade. It looks like the Saudi coat of arms and again confirms the place of manufacture. It is the only arabian jambiya blade I've seen with an identifying stamp, but I guess where there's one there must be others.

Spiral, I have to agree with you in that I think Sana'a produced the best of the Yemen jambiyas. Not only dagger but scabbard, belt and adornments. I've attached a photo of the one you mention which sold for over a million US dollars. A great PR exercise if nothing else.

Steve

Gavin Nugent 30th September 2009 01:25 AM

Same can be said today
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ward
Jewish guilds tradionally have done much of the silver and gold work. Even today silver work or koftkagari would be done in a seperate workshop than the forging of blades. One workshop does not generally do all the work on a finished piece for sale but draws on a lot of subcontractors.


The same can be said to today, the Diamond district in New York is the same, store 1, buy the diamond, store 2, buy the setting, store 3, have them put together, store 4, cleaned polished and valued.
It is interesting how tradition in many facets continues through the centuries.

Gav

ausjulius 30th September 2009 03:18 AM

i think there is a very good chance that in the past many of these were mad ein india as some posters suspect,, there is after all many yemanis living in india and pakistan and most major cities have to this day an "arab" ethnic population who has been there for a very long time,, most still wearing arab dress or at least on some occasions, most of these arabs are from yeman..
i do recall there was a huge immergration during the last 500 years to malaysia, indonesia, sudan and some other areas of east africa.. even to england a small amount in the 19th century, guess exstream over population has plagued yemen for a long time


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