Ethnographic Arms & Armour

Ethnographic Arms & Armour (
-   Ethnographic Weapons (
-   -   Mecca Shibriya (

A.alnakkas 6th August 2016 03:55 PM

Mecca Shibriya
4 Attachment(s)
Thought this is a nice example to share. I found the images on an Arab website.

Inscription in the back says "the craftsmanship of the lowly, Hassan Zaqzouq in Mecca"

ariel 6th August 2016 10:57 PM

I have my doubts whether it can be addressed as shibriya. The blade is uniformly bent on both sides.
But in shibriya one side stays almost straight, but the other one suddenly tapers to create a needle pointed tip.

I think you have a classical Janbiya with a somewhat simplified blade ( no central rib).

Check Artzi's site Oriental_Arms: he has an enormous collection of shibriyas.

A.alnakkas 7th August 2016 12:39 AM


The name shibriya is a measurement by nature. Its the size that define a shibriya, not the shape of the blade.

Also, within its local context, it is named a shibriya and worn like one. And there are Jordanian shibriyas with the typical double edged, slightly curved blade.

I agree that most come with the blade shape you describe.

ariel 7th August 2016 01:10 AM

Thanks. I knew the etymology: shibr, but did not know that this name was in use outside the Syrian-Palestinian-Jordanian areal.
One lives, one learns:-)

A.alnakkas 7th August 2016 01:17 AM

Originally Posted by ariel
Thanks. I knew the etymology: shibr, but did not know that this name was in use outside the Syrian-Palestinian-Jordanian areal.
One lives, one learns:-)

Its very widespread. ِThough you do find old, locally used shibriyas for example in Riyadh and say, Kuwait.. but with Muhaisin made blades. Will try to snap a few photos of heirlooms soon. Its not as simple as it sounds.

motan 7th August 2016 06:41 AM

What's in a name?
Hi, Ik don't really think it matters how you call it, but I like it a lot. It shows very nicely how regional styles merge where geographical areas meet. The main influence on the decoration and style are clearly of Jordanian shybriyas, but influences of Yemenite Khanjar and even more clearly, of Nejd ("wahabite") styles are apprent. The workmanship is far better than in avarage shibriya and the metal sheat looks thicker and of better quality (silver?) than in most shibriyas.

motan 7th August 2016 07:06 AM

Shibriya blades
5 Attachment(s)
Hi again. Ariel, in my view, all shibriyas come from curved daggers. The recurve shape became popular only around WWI. Were these pre-shibriya daggers also called shibriya? Who knows. To support this hypothesis, I posted a few photographs of older "shibriyas" as well as bedouin with this type of dagger.

A.alnakkas 25th February 2017 04:29 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Here are more daggers from what is now known as KSA. The large, silver dagger with the well made blade is made by Ali AlBani who descends from a famous sword making family. They were originally in Ha'il but moved to Riyadh after AlSaud defeated AlRasheed. The rest are of Saudi craftsmanship telling from the style and decoration methods.

A.alnakkas 25th February 2017 04:36 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Now, when a shibriya is large enough to be at the size of a Persian khanjar or an Omani khanjar... is it still a shibriya? :-) Something Ariel would like...

Comaprison between multiple shibriyas and other types of daggers. The twins are of Palestinian/Sinai like craftsmanship... and similar craftsmanship is seen in images posted by Motan. The size though surprised me! they are big compared to the usual shibriyas.

motan 26th February 2017 09:21 PM

Hi A.alnakkas,
Thanks for showing this great group of daggers with a nice, but puzzeling mixture of traits. You obviously know more than I do about these Saudi Arabian daggers, but I can speculate a bit. To me, the name question is less important as names and categories were made up by collectors to order their inventory and often do not correspond with local terminology.
Wheather made in Mecca by makers from Ha'il, or made elswhere to the north, they definately reflect influences from Jordan.
The style of decoration is not Jordanian/Palestinian, but many elements are, like multiple decorative rings, insets of stone/glass beads, central band on the hilt and more. The blades are shibriya (diamond cross-section) without the typical recurve) or Jambiya (second from left) and even show some dharia traits like the fullers on the leftmost one. I would think that this style originates in northern Saudi Arabia. In mecca, it overlaps with daggers and influences from the East (Dharia) and South (Janbiya).
The large, dark shibriya, second from left in your forth picture, is clearly a Jordanian shibriya, regardless the size. I have shown in a recent thread ( a shibriya of almost 40cm and I am sure that even larger ones exist. The inferior quality of the blade, common in later Jordanian daggers is clearly visible in the 3rd picture.
The "twins" are a whole different story. I have seen several of them recently and I think that they are older than all the rest. Big metal studs are an early feature (see photos in my previous post in this thread). However, as far as I know, they are not similar to early daggers from Sinai or Palestine. They do show very general similarity to Marsh Arab janbiyas, so it is very possible that they are also from northern Saudi Arabiya, or alternatively from south-west Iraq, or even from the Syrian desert.
The last group is all Jordanian shibriyas, as you probably know. Some are early and good quality like the two "horned" ones. The oldest is the rightmost one which has a "normal" curved blade. The scabbard is an old replacement. I actually wanted this one, but the dealer refused to send it to my country. Thanks again. This is an original group that we all can learn from

A.alnakkas 27th February 2017 01:00 PM

Motan, I was looking forward to reading your post. Quite a nice insight into a subject I am yet still learning. My approach to studying arms is to study it and categorise as its local users do. Thus I relied heavily in contacting people within the regions, mostly dedicated collectors who are in a far better position than I am (or I dare say, in a far better position than your average western collector)

Collectors in the south, the Hejaz area, or Oman, or Yemen, have a better position where the living elders transmit a lot of their information (which is often taken for granted or considered a given) to collectors who are approaching the topic with a sense of preservation to a fading heritage. They end up being well learned without knowing they are. Also, within the Hejaz, there are still some living weapons makers who can be relatively easy to reach if you live there.

As for the term shibriya, it is what the natives call these knives, in all the regions mentioned. And you are quite right in pointing the shared features between the southern and Levant items.

Could you send me a private message? I want to have a direct contact with you.

Kubur 27th February 2017 06:47 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Originally Posted by motan
Hi again. Ariel, in my view, all shibriyas come from curved daggers. The recurve shape became popular only around WWI. Were these pre-shibriya daggers also called shibriya? Who knows. To support this hypothesis, I posted a few photographs of older "shibriyas" as well as bedouin with this type of dagger.

another bedouin...

motan 27th February 2017 08:21 PM

Hi A.alnakkas,
I actually thought that the name shibriya was not used outside Israel/Jordan +Sinai. Western collectors always talk about the Khanjars of Oman, the Janbiyas of Yemen, Najran and Hejaz and Dharias (sabiki) of central Arabia, but not about shibriyas. So there IS some continuity across the great desert.
Here in Israel/Palestine, the term shibriya is used by Bedu and some villagers for up to the lower Galilea. All other people, including most villagers and city people would call any type of dagger khanjar, which as an Arabic speaker you know is the generic term for dagger in Arabic.

Oriental-Arms 28th February 2017 08:30 AM

I think that the name "Shibrya" is very common to all Palestinian Arabs and Bedouin as well as Jordanian Bedouins, and it is not limited to several villages in the Galilee as suggested by Motan. It always refer to this specific shape of dagger with slightly re-curving blade. You randomly ask any Arab man in Old Jerusalem or Nazareth or Aman what is the name of this dagger and he will tell you Shibriya. I checked it with several Arab colleagues in Israel. Some said they have heard it also in use in Egypt.

motan 28th February 2017 08:45 PM

To Oriental Arms
First, Oriental Arms, you are probably right about the shibriyas- you are still a much better source than I am. It is just that when I showed any dagger to my Arab friends, who are by not knowlegable about daggers, their immediate response was "ah, khanjar". Your post bring me to an interesting question about whether any authentic Egyptian daggers exist. But this subject is worth a new thread.

motan 28th February 2017 08:51 PM

And another one for Oriental Arms
Forgot to ask something. What do you know, or think about the twin daggers shown in A.alnakkas' post. The big curved ones with large studs.

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:53 AM.

Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.