Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   The Omani Khanjar (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14878)

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 11th January 2012 10:21 AM

The Omani Khanjar
 
4 Attachment(s)
Salaams all,

For some, the really only charismatic Omani Dagger with a full pedigree is the Royal Khanjar or sa'idiyyah khanjar noted for its 7 rings(hilqah) and highly ornate and unique hilt.(qarn) and scabbard (ghumb) A further identifying marker is the odd little triangular link attaching from the top of the chape(quba) to the belt (hazam) Hand made in the capital, Muscat, this beautiful dagger was said to have been designed by a previous Sultans wife probably influenced by exotic, ornate Indian style using delicate filigree and repouse' work with varied application of the Mulberry Fruit cluster (from the fruit tree common in Oman) Any Omani man can wear this dagger.

Seen here on a traditional, cloth, woven belt in geometric style. Plus a photo of other hilts with which to compare. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 27th January 2012 01:30 PM

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Salaams all. Note to Forum.

Khanjars vary in size quite dramatically: The weapon carried on Dhows is markedly smaller trhan the bigger khanjar in other regions of Oman. This is a purely practical innovation and worth logging for forum library/ research.
The Khanjar on the left is typically from Sur for use on long sea journeys by Dhow ..thus small and handy in size. The right hand khanjar from the Baatina not for on board work and thus much bigger. :shrug:
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 9th February 2012 04:49 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Salaams all,
After months of searching I now have the UAE Khanjar I have been looking for. The Khanjar was probably made in the Dhakiliyya (Interior of Oman at S'nau) It answers several questions as to the origin of the hilt. This Khanjar was retained by a family for several generations and on interogation it appears that it could be between 150 and 200 years old. The wear to the pins in the hilt and the crown bears this out though like most old khanjars we would expect to see some more recent work in the form of replacement belt wire at the rings and possibly less aged two main hilt pins and a wrap round hilt sleeve both gold wash over silver though these are not new... perhaps 50 years. The silver stitched leather over the lower scabbard is original and classic to type.

Blade. Excellent home grown Omani Blade held in with pitch.

Belt. 4 huge rings comprise the belt. Occasionally the inner two are shevron shaped though it is just as common to have roundels as shown here.

Hilt. The shape weight and design are classic. The hilt is translucent at the edges. Rhino. Common term Z'raff. Name of animal~ common term; Wahid al Garn (One Horn). The Giraffe (Ziraffah) which sounds like Z'raff in the groups of people questioned is not a source of dagger hilt horn. It was supposed that perhaps the hoof of the Giraffe(Ziraffah) was used. This is not proven moreover it appears that the terminology has become twisted with a simple linguistic mix up of the two words thereby confusing the Rhino with the Giraffe. The hilt pictured is Rhino "Wahid al Garn" (One Horn).The material is called Z'raff. Rhino Horn. Wheras there appears to be evidence on Forum search of Giraffe Hoof being used in Ottoman sword hilts I have found no proof to the same material being used on Omani Khanjars... yet.
Hilt Pins ~ I have counted more than 1000 silver pins hammered into the hilt.

This is a heavyweight amongst Khanjars weighing in at more than three quarters of a kilo (800 gram) With a good belt etc it would place almost one and a half kilos on the waist !

This is an Al Rumaithi Khanjar, (UAE) Circa 1850.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 13th February 2012 04:35 PM

Salaams; Note to Forum; Type into Search ~ Somewhat Unusual Omani Khanjar for Comment for a look at scabbard silver stitching. Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 16th February 2012 10:00 AM

Workshop.
 
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Salaams all~ For the Research Library~ heres a few shots of a workshop that produces fabulous quality... on the floor !! This is the maker of some of the best Omani Khanjars ever... :shrug:
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 22nd February 2012 09:14 AM

Salaams All~ Note to Forum. The Khanjar Blade. (naslah).

This remarkable piece of engineering is around 17 or 18 cms long and 5 to 6 cms broad at the throat tapering to a point along a curved, two edged, centrally ridged on both sides, steel blade. The ridge gives strength for thrusting and withdrawing the blade. Cheap imported blades are two joined together whereas a proper Omani blade joins along the ridges. The little furnace about half the size of a football, is wood fuelled and heat is increased by use of hand bellows.
The best blades were made by a peculiar and historically virtually unrecorded group of itinerant Gypsy like folk called Zuttoot... or Zutti covered in my other post at length.See Kattara for comments #165. In days of old these small bands travelled about Oman doing tinning of utensils, making tools and sword and Khanjar blades...on commission and at random.
The blade is all important to local gentlemen and when inspecting a Khanjar they will ponder the blade first and foremost... not the scabbard or hilt. Often they take up the dagger with hilt in thumb and first 2 fingers by the very point only and lift it vertically... If they can easily lift it ... its a duffer ! If it slips from the fingers then its quality... weight, balance and blade metal quaility are observed most carefully..
According to Richardson and Dorr (The Craft Herrritage of Oman) The bedouin say that the best metal ore for blades is found in thunder storms where the lightening strikes!
One of the amazing ways in which they decide on blade quality is by tasting the blade?
Glue. To fix the blade, Lakk is used (Tachardia Lacca ) from an insect secretion. Essentially it looks like small blocks/ sheets of black pitch and is imported from India and Pakistan. The molten pitch-like lakk is poured into the hilts cuff(tuq) and the heated blade is sturdily pressed home. :shrug:
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Montino Bourbon 22nd February 2012 11:36 AM

Salaam Ibrahim!
 
I notice that your old khanjar has a blade shape that is much more a gradual curve than many that I have seen, which look almost 'angular' in the way the blade bends. Is that a mark of age?

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 22nd February 2012 12:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montino Bourbon
I notice that your old khanjar has a blade shape that is much more a gradual curve than many that I have seen, which look almost 'angular' in the way the blade bends. Is that a mark of age?


Salaams Montino Bourbon~ True Omani blades are a softer less agressive bend than say some Yemeni Jambiyya blades .. its quite subtle the difference. Certainly neither blade fills the scabbard which are quite curved in the Omani Khanjar and generally Monumental! in Yemeni Jambiyya.
An interesting question remains over the reason for the bend in the Omani Khanjar scabbard ~ Why is it thus bent? at about 90 degrees? I always thought it was design and balance. It appears to have a hidden meaning though I am told I can discover the real reason by lining a certain "in the know" dealers hand with silver... It had better be a decent story ! :D

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

chregu 22nd February 2012 03:45 PM

Hi
I have a question. Why is it called again and another time Jambiya Khanjar?
I always thought the Arabic curved daggers caled Jambiya , North African Koummya and Indo-Persian and Ottoman Khanjar.
is always a different word with the same meaning?
ask for clarification.
then i can show my curved daggers! smile
greeting Chregu

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 22nd February 2012 04:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chregu
Hi
I have a question. Why is it called again and another time Jambiya Khanjar?
I always thought the Arabic curved daggers caled Jambiya , North African Koummya and Indo-Persian and Ottoman Khanjar.
is always a different word with the same meaning?
ask for clarification.
then i can show my curved daggers! smile
greeting Chregu


Salaams chregu ... Nomenclature of arms and armour. Omani Khanjar. Yemeni Jambiyya. The rest as you note... Different countries with differing styles locked in time; Style, culture, decorative technique, blade material, design: all different.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

chregu 24th February 2012 04:50 PM

Hello Ibrahim
Thank you for the information.
The words are sometimes a bit confusing!
Omani Khanjar. Yemeni Jambiyya has to do with the difference of language? because the dagger is indeed the same!
chregu

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 25th February 2012 02:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chregu
Hello Ibrahim
Thank you for the information.
The words are sometimes a bit confusing!
Omani Khanjar. Yemeni Jambiyya has to do with the difference of language? because the dagger is indeed the same!
chregu



Salaams chregu ~ The different cultural aspects of these previously locked, time warp frozen countries is apparent in the different decorative techniques and designs of the Jambiyya and Khanjar. Yes! there are similarities but the blades are different as the Omani blade is less curved and the Yemeni blade tends to be bigger and the scabbards are highly monumentally developed in the two countries(much more so in the Yemen) for reasons that are not at all clear... but which are under scrutiny . On top of that is the word use which we all know in ethnographic arms and armour is a subject with no beginning and no end. In addition the belts, decorative style, technique and accoutrements are very different.
Therefor, the two daggers, though they are Arabian ethnographic weapons, are treated differently in research terms.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 18th March 2012 08:40 AM

Salaams all~ Note to Library.

Both the Omani Khanjar and the Jambias in southern Arabia have a somewhat peculiar turned scabbard far greater than the blade size and in some cases monumental in the turn at about 180 degrees. The Omani turn is standard at about 90 degrees but still well in excess to the blade..

In an effort to get to the answer on the shape of the Omani Khanjar and hilt(known only to one person in Muttrah who swears that if we guess it right he will confirm the story) we have completed our exhaustive search of possible ideas which developed as a small list viz ~

1. It is for design and balance and the rest is lost in time going back beyond mediaeval times. The added weight of the additional curve and the belt design tips the weapon over slightly about 10 degrees allowing for a quicker draw..

2. The toe of the scabbard is called the same as the top of a Mosque dome..(quba) perhaps indicating a religious reason. The direction of Mecca is indicated by simply laying the entire thing flat on the ground and lining the khanjar and scabbard up with north; the line indicated by the toe or dome(quba) end of the scabbard is the direction of Mecca and could be used as a sort of compass to indicate prayer direction. In the case of Yemeni scabbards the curve is greater thus indicating the difference in direction from there.

3. The Khanjar is a dagger for seagoing merchants/sailors of old and the curve of the scabbard is to reflect the bows of the dhows..

4. Originally the weapon was a skinning weapon or tool .. Could the blade shape have anything to do with that idea? Though we have no idea why the scabbard would be curved because of this ... :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 26th March 2012 02:42 PM

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Salaams All ~ You may recall the UAE dagger we made~ see; Exciting Project; Historic Khanjar. The UAE KHANJAR.

Since then we have been commissioned to make several more with a likelihood of a further substantial quantity being required later as VIP gifts. Here are 4 more in a group soon to be belted-up and presented. It shows what can be achieved with a small, dedicated, specialist workshop which has breathed life into an old design; now back in demand. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 29th March 2012 04:24 PM

Ruth Hawley; Omani Silver.
 
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Salaams all, Library note; For the ultimate historical notes on Omani Silver decoration including some Khanjar details; see Ruth Hawley, Omani Silver. (Longmans) (ISBN0 582 78070 5). The author brilliantly exposes the myriad of esigns that make up Omani solver work as if she is chatting over coffee with the reader... in a quite dazzling style she acquired by hands on experience and research on the subject. This is a "must have" for students of Omani Silver. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 18th April 2012 06:44 PM

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Salaams ; For Library; Another Khanjar. A Baatina coast variant.. Ok Batina coast is described from the book OLD OMAN BY W. D. Peyton ISBN 900 988 148 and which I recommend to Forum. ~ Quote "It begins at Qurm not far from Mutrah and runs uninterupted for 175miles in a generally western direction to Khor Fakkan and Diba where it meets the mountains of Musandam". Unquote.

Omani Khanjar with some gold wash and on a stiff cloth woven belt in ancient geometric design. The key point on this variant is the hilt which is Rhino or Wahid al garn...The One Horn. Called somewhat puzzlingly here Zraf... but not to be confused with giraffe ! I should mention the good blade here as it has a thud when flicked with the finger not a ring. Blades that ring are regarded as pretty useless whereas a dull thud or PLUNK ! indicates quality. I have been trying to ascertain the other test which is smell and taste. Old blades smell old. Its true they do! Like a sort of damp cloying arabian perfumed pair of shoes that have been in a spices cupboard for 10 years.. The old blades have a slightly thick cloying aroma compared to new blades that smell new... :) I havent got the taste thing sorted yet as they all taste the same to me :rolleyes:

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 21st April 2012 02:37 PM

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Salaams all ~ The question arises " Where and when did the Omani Khanjar originate''? For this episode I rely heavily upon my main reference "Omani Silver" by Ruth Hawley.

It could be that a full answer is not possible, however, part of the answer lies in the origin of the Omani people and in the great migration caused by the degradation and final collapse of the irrigation system in the Yemen known as the Marib Dam. It is estimated that aproximately 50,000 people were displaced by this phenomena between 300 and 600 ad and that many migrated along known trade routes by camel and sea to Oman. Oman had long been trading with that region because of the frankincense route. The dam break did not happen overnight and as such a gradual filtering of people must have occurred culminating in a mass outflow or peaks of transit as eventually the entire system became useless.

What I intend to show is how this migration brought with it the Omani Khanjar that we see today but for a comparison we need to look at the Asir regional dagger. ( The Asir has been part of Yemen up to about 1923 but is now part of Saudia Arabia. The capital is Abha and the main seaport of the region is Jazan.) For further references to the Asir dagger see the following~

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/5512947198

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytripsmypics/4336633417

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/5780340287

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/5780340299

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytripsmypics/4318547823

For a comparison I have compared the Muscat Khanjar with the above style though I do not show a photograph of the sa'idiyyah khanjar ( royal khanjar) since it was only designed (hilt) in about 1850 therefor it is only partially relevant; if at all.

The Muscat Khanjar, however, is very similar so the two are clearly linked. The two weapons are almost identical though the Asir item is narrower in the body and has a more substantial crown (Quba). The work is different in that Yemeni craftsmanship employs more sand casting techniques whereas Omani work shows more repousse, embossing and engraving moreover the decoration in the two hilts is quite different. To the untrained eye, however, they are very similar.

Whilst Asir is not Mahrib it can be argued that movement away from the Marib could have been in that direction in addition ( in a sunburst pattern rather than a straight line) rather than in one specific N.E. direction since the major seaport of Jazan is there and trade between there and Salalah and Muscat must have been ongoing at the time. Needless to say Jazan being an important seaport would have attracted migrants wishing to move to other locations by sea. Caravan trade between Oman and the Asir and Marib was well known ( naturally both methods of travel must have been used).

The questions are ~
1. "Was the dagger an Asir or a Mahrib weapon or both"?
2. "Did the weapon migrate from the Marib region or through maritime trade with Jazan only"?

We may never know exactly. What is very specific, however, is that only one general type of Khanjar did appear in Oman though there is another basic dagger and scabbard variant that occurs in Salalah (see later post) related to another Yemeni weapon .. Essentially however there is only one generally described as "Omani Khanjar" which appeared from somewhere. Perhaps the Asir / Marib conundrum is pointing the way to an answer.

Photos below are two Muscat Khanjars ( the black and white is attributed to the book by Ruth Hawley "Omani Silver") and a third picture with two Asir Daggars. These are generally attributable to the Asir region in and around Faifa, Jazan and the regional capital Abha. Generally they are termed Hababi though the precise reason is not yet known.

In selecting Yemen as the likely origin of species the decision simply reflects the senior status of the ancient Hemyaritic country that spawned the great migration to Oman in or around the 3rd to 6thC A.D. therefor logically it is from there that we look for the Khanjar origin. That is rather an attempt to deflect the question why did it not all go the opposite way i.e. Oman to Yemen. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Note; One subtle difference between Oman and Yemen weapons above is the slightly smaller and less curved Omani blade.

archer 21st April 2012 03:30 PM

Great Information
 
Definitely, a candidate for Classic threads and tastefully done without that hollow ring to it. Steve

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 21st April 2012 05:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by archer
Definitely, a candidate for Classic threads and tastefully done without that hollow ring to it. Steve


Salaams archer ~ I forgot to add that my last post on origin of species was, in fact, inspired by your post on Saudia/Yemeni weapons.. "Recent Jambiya and a new Khanjar" :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 21st April 2012 06:41 PM

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Salaams all ~ Note to Forum library. The only other dagger attributed to a Yemeni style occurs on the border in Southern Oman in the Salalah region (Dhofar). It is worn almost horizontally on a leather belt frontally or just slightly to one side. The silver work is slightly more crisp looking if it has been refurbished by Omani craftsmen.

In fact no other dagger style exists in Oman other than The Omani Khanjar and this Dhofari dagger plus a few assorted work knives; Khanjar blades may be locally made or imported though work knives usually have blades from Europe or the far East ( Sheffield or Solingen or Japan). Unlike Persian or indian weapons Omani khanjars hardly, if ever, have wootz blades (I have never seen one). Preferred are steel laminates.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 19th May 2012 03:43 PM

ACCOUTREMENTS OF THE KHANJAR; PIPE AND TOBACCO HOLDER.
 
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Salaams all; Note to library;

The extremely rare Omani decorated pipe and tobacco container. Tobacco is grown locally in Oman and can be obtained in plastic empty water bottles in the souk! I am told it is very strong stuff. Rather an understatement as one puff is enough to knock over a horse ! :)
The tobacco holder made from Gazelle horn and silver adorned with a variety of lucky motifs and mathematical charms, bells and trinkets and the pipe mirroring the figure 5 ~ with 5 rings on the stem. Silver representing the moon is in itself talismanic. Mastercrafted by an Omani silversmith. Usually worn looping over the belt or Khanjar. Readers will recall the other uses of Gazelle horn as gunpowder flasks and on the weavers loom to "ram" the wool. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

VANDOO 20th May 2012 04:02 AM

I know almost nothing about these various daggers and had not read these posts as a result. I now know much more and recognize an excellent post with good information and questions when I read it. Its very well written and interesting even to one such as I. This is the way its done folks!! definitely a classic. knowlege well organized and written and now preserved.
I almost hate to add this post as it dosen't add to this well written post but I have even refrained from using all caps as I usualy do in respect for this excellent post. kudos!! you research and write very well.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 20th May 2012 01:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by VANDOO
I know almost nothing about these various daggers and had not read these posts as a result. I now know much more and recognize an excellent post with good information and questions when I read it. Its very well written and interesting even to one such as I. This is the way its done folks!! definitely a classic. knowlege well organized and written and now preserved.
I almost hate to add this post as it dosen't add to this well written post but I have even refrained from using all caps as I usualy do in respect for this excellent post. kudos!! you research and write very well.



Salaams VANDOO ~ Thank you for your kind words...Yours are very supportive comments. Thanks again for taking the time to read and reply.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 30th May 2012 07:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams all ~ The question arises " Where and when did the Omani Khanjar originate''? For this episode I rely heavily upon my main reference "Omani Silver" by Ruth Hawley.

It could be that a full answer is not possible, however, part of the answer lies in the origin of the Omani people and in the great migration caused by the degradation and final collapse of the irrigation system in the Yemen known as the Marib Dam. It is estimated that aproximately 50,000 people were displaced by this phenomena between 300 and 600 ad and that many migrated along known trade routes by camel and sea to Oman. Oman had long been trading with that region because of the frankincense route. The dam break did not happen overnight and as such a gradual filtering of people must have occurred culminating in a mass outflow or peaks of transit as eventually the entire system became useless.

What I intend to show is how this migration brought with it the Omani Khanjar that we see today but for a comparison we need to look at the Asir regional dagger. ( The Asir has been part of Yemen up to about 1923 but is now part of Saudia Arabia. The capital is Abha and the main seaport of the region is Jazan.) For further references to the Asir dagger see the following~

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/5512947198

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytripsmypics/4336633417

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/5780340287

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/5780340299

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytripsmypics/4318547823

For a comparison I have compared the Muscat Khanjar with the above style though I do not show a photograph of the sa'idiyyah khanjar ( royal khanjar) since it was only designed (hilt) in about 1850 therefor it is only partially relevant; if at all.

The Muscat Khanjar, however, is very similar so the two are clearly linked. The two weapons are almost identical though the Asir item is narrower in the body and has a more substantial crown (Quba). The work is different in that Yemeni craftsmanship employs more sand casting techniques whereas Omani work shows more repousse, embossing and engraving moreover the decoration in the two hilts is quite different. To the untrained eye, however, they are very similar.

Whilst Asir is not Mahrib it can be argued that movement away from the Marib could have been in that direction in addition ( in a sunburst pattern rather than a straight line) rather than in one specific N.E. direction since the major seaport of Jazan is there and trade between there and Salalah and Muscat must have been ongoing at the time. Needless to say Jazan being an important seaport would have attracted migrants wishing to move to other locations by sea. Caravan trade between Oman and the Asir and Marib was well known ( naturally both methods of travel must have been used).

The questions are ~
1. "Was the dagger an Asir or a Mahrib weapon or both"?
2. "Did the weapon migrate from the Marib region or through maritime trade with Jazan only"?

We may never know exactly. What is very specific, however, is that only one general type of Khanjar did appear in Oman though there is another basic dagger and scabbard variant that occurs in Salalah (see later post) related to another Yemeni weapon .. Essentially however there is only one generally described as "Omani Khanjar" which appeared from somewhere. Perhaps the Asir / Marib conundrum is pointing the way to an answer.

Photos below are two Muscat Khanjars ( the black and white is attributed to the book by Ruth Hawley "Omani Silver") and a third picture with two Asir Daggars. These are generally attributable to the Asir region in and around Faifa, Jazan and the regional capital Abha. Generally they are termed Hababi though the precise reason is not yet known.

In selecting Yemen as the likely origin of species the decision simply reflects the senior status of the ancient Hemyaritic country that spawned the great migration to Oman in or around the 3rd to 6thC A.D. therefor logically it is from there that we look for the Khanjar origin. That is rather an attempt to deflect the question why did it not all go the opposite way i.e. Oman to Yemen. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Note; One subtle difference between Oman and Yemen weapons above is the slightly smaller and less curved Omani blade.



Salaams all~ Note to Forum. In the quoted refernce above I have set down a particular theory on eveolution of the Omani Khanjar and details in respect of a specific design The Royal Khanjar (the sa'idiyyah khanjar) and its likely provenance. Whilst I am convinced that the evolution of dagger style (The Khanjar) originally emanates from the Yemen I wish to formulate a second theory as to where the design of Royal Khanjar entered the equation and in which direction it spread.

This new theory reverses my previous assumption that the Royal Khanjar design may have been copied from the Jalan region which was about 100 years ago absorbed into Saudia Arabia from Yemen.

There appears to be a second region in Saudia that its occupants have adopted the similar style ~ In the region to the south of The Bahrain Islands in Saudia where the dominant tribal group are Hibaabi (not to be confused with Wahaabi) The dagger there is almost identical though "fatter" than the Jilan version. Readers are requested to excuse the apparent error since travel to the Jilan and other areas in the region is quite difficult and approaching research from the Yemen perspective, on the ground, is impossible at this time. On the other hand readers may observe that if I insert a theory but later discover that it is unsound I will be the first(hopefully) to blow it out of the water !

To back up the second theory which like the first is largely hypothetical I draw the attention of readers to certain facts;

1. The Royal Omani Khanjar was designed in about 1850 for the Sultan by one of his wives... The infamous Sheherazade.

2. None of the other Yemeni or Saudia dagger styles look anything like the Omani Royal Khanjar. The majority are monumental by definition. The Omani style could be described as delicate by comparison.

3. Trade routes by sea between Oman (Muscat, Sur, Sohar, Salalah Musandam) and the two key affected areas Jalan and the coast of Saudia in the Bahrain region were well known as were the overland trade and slave routes at the time of the appearance of the new form of dagger.

4. The main composition of the Royal Khanjar is built around the general framework of the Muscat Khanjar. This is entirely natural as this is where it was designed. It is said that she used Indian designs taken from a variety of Indian works to eventually end up with the finished product. It would seem plausible that having been designed in Muscat that it would if successful branch out from that point overspilling via trade routes into neighboring countries.

The new theory, therefor, is very simple ~ The Princess Sheherazade having designed the Royal Khanjar for the Omani Sultan in about 1850. It was immediately successful and swept across the Arabian Peninsula by tried and tested sea and land routes being adopted in the Yemeni Jalan and in the broad swathe of Saudia south of Bahrain by the Habaabi tribe. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 31st May 2012 08:03 AM

I would like to add the following as a cautionary note to the above post please.

CAUTIONARY NOTE. I add this note in retrospect. I continue to persue the question who and from where are the elusive so called Habaabi ? In fact the place Habaabi is in the YEMEN near and to the south of the region we have identified as a base for the Saudia dagger similar to the Omani Royal Khanjar. (The Jazan region now part of Saudia but originally Yemen pre about 100 years ago) Depending upon wind direction and magnetic variation the answers are, quite frankly, wild. In fact the replies are so inconclusive that I err on the cautious side and place brackets around the second part of my theory and until it becomes clear if this is a group of people , a rumour or a complete load of red herrings...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 13th June 2012 04:27 PM

Problem Solved. The Habaabi Khanjar.
Note to library.

The term Habaabi applies only to a region in Saudia which was about 90 years ago in Yemen. Its main seaport is Jazan and was a minor hub trade linked to Muscat and Zanzibar. Habaabi is actually the regionals capital name and it can be searched on the web.

The Habaabi Khanjar in its original form can be seen at interesting jambiya on eBay by Lew. It is noticeable in virtually all respects how similar this variant is to the Royal Khanjar of Oman from which it must have been copied. Transfer of style is estimated in the 1850 ad region. My theory about Habaabi tribal swathes of territory near Bahrain thus collapses though my primary theory applies. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

NovelsRus 17th June 2012 05:32 PM

Omani Khanjar/Jambiya
 
4 Attachment(s)
[QUOTE=Ibrahiim al Balooshi]Salaams all~ Note to Library.

Both the Omani Khanjar and the Jambias in southern Arabia have a somewhat peculiar turned scabbard far greater than the blade size and in some cases monumental in the turn at about 180 degrees. The Omani turn is standard at about 90 degrees but still well in excess to the blade..

In an effort to get to the answer on the shape of the Omani Khanjar and hilt(known only to one person in Muttrah who swears that if we guess it right he will confirm the story) we have completed our exhaustive search of possible ideas which developed as a small list viz ~

1. It is for design and balance and the rest is lost in time going back beyond mediaeval times. The added weight of the additional curve and the belt design tips the weapon over slightly about 10 degrees allowing for a quicker draw..

2. The toe of the scabbard is called the same as the top of a Mosque dome..(quba) perhaps indicating a religious reason. The direction of Mecca is indicated by simply laying the entire thing flat on the ground and lining the khanjar and scabbard up with north; the line indicated by the toe or dome(quba) end of the scabbard is the direction of Mecca and could be used as a sort of compass to indicate prayer direction. In the case of Yemeni scabbards the curve is greater thus indicating the difference in direction from there.

These both sound sensible to me, Ibrahiim. Whatever the angle of the curve, I've admired the Omani Khanjar (I still think of it as a Jambiya) as the most beautiful variety of all similar jambiyas or khanjars. The amount of work in the silver threading, the repousse work (baffling how they can do that!), the Quba and hilt, etc., are all just incredibly artistic and gorgeous.
Never could afford one, though, contenting myself with the Moroccan Koummya in its various forms. BUT....that has changed.

It's Father's Day here in America, and for a Dad's Day present my wife BOUGHT me the most outrageously beautiful Omani Khanjar I've ever seen. I'm still speechless over this. I can die happy now; my walls are full of Arabic daggers, scimitars and the like. Ahhh....peace and contenment reign.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 18th June 2012 06:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by NovelsRus
[QUOTE=Ibrahiim al Balooshi]Salaams all~ Note to Library.

Both the Omani Khanjar and the Jambias in southern Arabia have a somewhat peculiar turned scabbard far greater than the blade size and in some cases monumental in the turn at about 180 degrees. The Omani turn is standard at about 90 degrees but still well in excess to the blade..

In an effort to get to the answer on the shape of the Omani Khanjar and hilt(known only to one person in Muttrah who swears that if we guess it right he will confirm the story) we have completed our exhaustive search of possible ideas which developed as a small list viz ~

1. It is for design and balance and the rest is lost in time going back beyond mediaeval times. The added weight of the additional curve and the belt design tips the weapon over slightly about 10 degrees allowing for a quicker draw..

2. The toe of the scabbard is called the same as the top of a Mosque dome..(quba) perhaps indicating a religious reason. The direction of Mecca is indicated by simply laying the entire thing flat on the ground and lining the khanjar and scabbard up with north; the line indicated by the toe or dome(quba) end of the scabbard is the direction of Mecca and could be used as a sort of compass to indicate prayer direction. In the case of Yemeni scabbards the curve is greater thus indicating the difference in direction from there.

These both sound sensible to me, Ibrahiim. Whatever the angle of the curve, I've admired the Omani Khanjar (I still think of it as a Jambiya) as the most beautiful variety of all similar jambiyas or khanjars. The amount of work in the silver threading, the repousse work (baffling how they can do that!), the Quba and hilt, etc., are all just incredibly artistic and gorgeous.
Never could afford one, though, contenting myself with the Moroccan Koummya in its various forms. BUT....that has changed.

It's Father's Day here in America, and for a Dad's Day present my wife BOUGHT me the most outrageously beautiful Omani Khanjar I've ever seen. I'm still speechless over this. I can die happy now; my walls are full of Arabic daggers, scimitars and the like. Ahhh....peace and contenment reign.



Salaams NovelsRus ~ Nice to hear from you. Your Fathers day present is indeed beautiful. I gave up worrying about the name Khanjar versus Jambia ages ago~ though there is always discussion around the origin of words as Khanjar is an Arabic word but Jambia is more shrouded in African terminology. This is of course the Royal Omani Khanjar showing its Indian influence and created by Said Bin Sultans wife Sheherazad in the mid 19th C.
What else to give as a present for the man who has everything ~ :)

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

NovelsRus 19th June 2012 06:30 PM

How to Re-seat Omani Khanjar Blade in Hilt?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams All~ Note to Forum. The Khanjar Blade. (naslah).

Glue. To fix the blade, Lakk is used (Tachardia Lacca ) from an insect secretion. Essentially it looks like small blocks/ sheets of black pitch and is imported from India and Pakistan. The molten pitch-like lakk is poured into the hilts cuff(tuq) and the heated blade is sturdily pressed home. :shrug:
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.


Salaams, Ibrahiim & Room,
I recently purchased a beautiful Omani Khanjar, only to have the blade promptly fall out the moment I unsheathed it. Apparently, the resin or lakk has become brittle over time, and cracked. When the blade dropped out, chunks of the resin and powdery crumbs came showering down. My question:
How best can I re-seat this blade into the hilt? I cannot afford to import insect resin from Pakistan, so I was thinking a good, solid resin-based epoxy glue might be OK. (I'm trying to stay authentic on this).
Also, what's the best cleaning agent for the exterior trim on the scabbard? Mine is quite tarnished or dirty, not at all like the photos on e-____ where I bought it.
Thank you for your time and help on this.
Sincerely,

John Fogarty
novelsrus@indy.rr.com

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 22nd June 2012 05:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by NovelsRus
Salaams, Ibrahiim & Room,
I recently purchased a beautiful Omani Khanjar, only to have the blade promptly fall out the moment I unsheathed it. Apparently, the resin or lakk has become brittle over time, and cracked. When the blade dropped out, chunks of the resin and powdery crumbs came showering down. My question:
How best can I re-seat this blade into the hilt? I cannot afford to import insect resin from Pakistan, so I was thinking a good, solid resin-based epoxy glue might be OK. (I'm trying to stay authentic on this).
Also, what's the best cleaning agent for the exterior trim on the scabbard? Mine is quite tarnished or dirty, not at all like the photos on e-____ where I bought it.
Thank you for your time and help on this.
Sincerely,

John Fogarty
novelsrus@indy.rr.com



Salaams NovelsRus ~ That happens a lot as the lac dries out. Use epoxy as you say... I see no problem with that . Some people even use tar off the road ! Naturally we use the proper pucker lac but frankly you will get a better fix with epoxy. The good thing about lac is its easy to replace a blade and that happens a lot as local owners of Khanjars often look to upgrade blades or hilts.

For cleaning the silver there are some good silver polish products like Silvo and other quite good silver polish liquids... they all pretty well work ok... we use the old method of burnishing and polish with a brass bristled brush ~ Another way is with toothpaste ... it works very well. Scrub the whole thing or the part you want to clean and wash off the residue and oxide with water... dry and buff... Marvellous. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

NovelsRus 23rd June 2012 02:00 AM

Toothbrush To the Rescue!
 
4 Attachment(s)
Salaams, Ibrahiim,

What an incredible coincidence -- you advised use of toothbrush and paste, which is precisely what I stumbled upon myself, just yesterday. Great minds thinking alike, etc. :D

Actually dug out a lot of the broken resin, then heated the back of the blade red-hot over a fire in my ashtray, jammed the back of the blade into the remaining resin and -- viola! It seated itself!

To be safe, I did line the new seal with epoxy, let it cure for a day, then drilled it down far enough so the hilt could fit onto the scabbard (which is sparkling cleaning and brand spanking new, thanks to the ol' toothbrush - n - silver cream polish treatment!)

Result? The little khanjar shines, is functional and beautiful. Even though the seller offered to refund our purchase price, I chose to keep it and repair it. Now my wife no longer gives me The Look....you know the one.
:)

Only problem now is, where to hang it? (Please see pics attached)

* Above the big Scimitar?
* Above the Koummyas?
* Or leave it in its current spot?
* Right below the flag from my father's coffin (WWII Vet)?

And HOW to hang it on a wall without damaging the khanjar or the belt? Hmmmm.... Any ideas greatly appreciated.

All best,
JRF

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 24th June 2012 06:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by NovelsRus
Salaams, Ibrahiim,

What an incredible coincidence -- you advised use of toothbrush and paste, which is precisely what I stumbled upon myself, just yesterday. Great minds thinking alike, etc. :D

Actually dug out a lot of the broken resin, then heated the back of the blade red-hot over a fire in my ashtray, jammed the back of the blade into the remaining resin and -- viola! It seated itself!

To be safe, I did line the new seal with epoxy, let it cure for a day, then drilled it down far enough so the hilt could fit onto the scabbard (which is sparkling cleaning and brand spanking new, thanks to the ol' toothbrush - n - silver cream polish treatment!)

Result? The little khanjar shines, is functional and beautiful. Even though the seller offered to refund our purchase price, I chose to keep it and repair it. Now my wife no longer gives me The Look....you know the one.
:)

Only problem now is, where to hang it? (Please see pics attached)

* Above the big Scimitar?
* Above the Koummyas?
* Or leave it in its current spot?
* Right below the flag from my father's coffin (WWII Vet)?

And HOW to hang it on a wall without damaging the khanjar or the belt? Hmmmm.... Any ideas greatly appreciated.

All best,
JRF



Salaams NovelsRus ~ I think it looks great exactly where it is.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 25th June 2012 09:52 AM

Patina.
 
Salaams all, I am sometimes asked why we clean Khanjars (and Swords) thus taking off what collectors call Patina.

Naturally collectors admire and seek that syndrome we call patina but in the living breathing form i.e. Local Arab users of what we call ethnographic arms here in Arabia the view is different. These khanjars are for wearing and against a pure white dishdash, Omani national dress, the weapons must be spotlessly clean... Otherwise the silver oxide makes an awful mess as it rubs off onto the white dishdash robes ! Its as simple as that. It is for that reason that Khanjars are lined at the back with either leather or felt cloth. Perhaps if you think of gold as the sun and silver the moon neither should be portrayed as dull...It should be remembered that they are the badge of office as head of the family, thus, can hardly be worn dirty.
Quite often khanjars come in for cleaning... removal of the patina... but rest assured patina on silver returns really fast. It is continually oxidising ... In the store we have new items under glass which oxidise quite slowly and other khanjars... 50 or so hanging on the wall... that are full of patina ... A local client will often ask that a khanjar is cleaned before he takes it... It takes an hour... We use the same items as our silver workshops ... water and a brass bristled brush which only takes off the silver oxide and gives a burnished bright clean silver look... highly polished the khanjar is then dried in the sun, buffed with a clean cloth and ready for collection.
Of course this is opposite to what many collectors want... but as I say... patina on silver returns very quickly and in a few months it is complete ... at which point the collector may wish to highlight certain aspects of the silver in a partial polish up thus keeping the contrasting older patina partly intact.

Technically we don't actually remove patina but only by definition remove the "silver oxide" The old, rounded, soft effect to silver items is therefor enhanced but I hope my explanation describes the two views of the same subject.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

A.alnakkas 25th June 2012 10:03 AM

Great info Ibrahim, makes alot of sense. Thanks.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 1st July 2012 02:13 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Salaams, Note to Forum;
Another Baatina design, Showing a slightly smaller size to the normal Omani Khanjar. Rhino hilt with several hundred silver pins hammered in for design and weight. The top silver hilt button snapped off. Eye of the Bedouin style pattern stitching below the belt section. Fine work behind the scenes especially in the hilt. The blade should be viewed with the eye but to hand a sprig of nutmeg, cloves, tyme, frankinsence since that is what a good blade smells of .. as does this one ~ and struck with a flicked finger the sound is of striking thick iron not thin tin. There is no ring, just a thud!
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 6th July 2012 06:06 PM

The Copy.
 
Salaams all; Note to Forum.

I have described in some detail the living ethnographics of Oman seen through the eyes of The Omani Khanjar and Omani swords. To the untrained eye these may appear as copies. Essentially they are, however, they need to be viewed as hand made copies of an exact style demanded by the particular tribe or expected of a specific regional design.

To that end no additional designs are permitted. You cannot , for example, tell a silversmith to design a khanjar(or a piece of traditional Omani jewellery) with your own idea of what it could look like i.e. It must conform to the laid down pattern (or one of them) of that region from its history.

Therefor when producing a new Khanjar for say a UAE KHANJAR OF THE RULING FAMILY (see # 14) we look at originals in museums and take photographs and do research to determine what we can and cannot do. There may be a specific hilt or a choice of hilts and we may have some say in the quality of blade, however, in general and over all, the khanjar must be a faithful copy of the original style..absolutely. By original I mean of a Khanjar which is the oldest available ~ often going back about 100 years.

The same applies for daggers etc from other regions;

There is no such thing as a dagger or a sword or a piece of Islamic jewellery which is not a faithful copy of a previous item.

The character and appearance of a specific family dagger which may have begun life more or less identical to another from the same family does, however, change through the years not just by being added to (with the half dozen or so accoutrements and any one of scores of different belts) or by the slight variance in the patina but by allowable changes in blade and hilt and by repairs.

So for the serious student of Omani Khanjars and other regional ethnographics it is vital to hoist in the basic lesson; The Copy.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

spiral 6th July 2012 06:23 PM

Namaste Ibrahiim!

I must admit that just by eye I can often see the quality of workmanship & use of tools in manufacture in many items,both new & old. ;)

It occurs with copy weapons in India & Nepal as well.

The old adage, "OFTEN COPIED BUT NEVER DUPLICATED" springs to mind.

Spiral

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 6th July 2012 06:39 PM

[B]"OFTEN COPIED BUT NEVER DUPLICATED"[/B]
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral
Namaste Ibrahiim!

I must admit that just by eye I can often see the quality of workmanship & use of tools in manufacture in many items,both new & old. ;)

It occurs with copy weapons in India & Nepal as well.

The old adage, "OFTEN COPIED BUT NEVER DUPLICATED" springs to mind.

Spiral


Salaams Spiral ~ I was trying to think how to say copied by hand are always individual ... but you beat me to it with that excellent saying!! Shukran. Its a bit like making Rolls Royces ! :)
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 6th July 2012 06:40 PM

:shrug:

eric45 9th July 2012 03:01 AM

very nice.


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