Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
No need to apologize, I have been following your thoughts on the evolution of Omani swords with great interest.
My personal thoughts on the adoption of the long Omani broadsword are similar to yours on the adoption of the short sword - I think the form may have entered the Omani aresenal through military contact with the Portuguese. The blade shape of a kattara to me is quite different than the blade shape on a takouba (especially when one considers older examples with a triangular blade) or even that on a kaskara, which has a pointed tip as opposed to the rounded tips on the Omani sword. Therefore an adoption through trophies taken from the Portuguese after the latter were ousted from Muscat seems to be a more logical and direct route than trade links with the African interior.
Further, if the origin of the long kattara was from European broadswords, this would explain why older European maker marks and symbols on sword blades retained an importance well into the 19th century, causing them to be reproduced locally.
As for the curved sabers, I think I read somewhere in Elgood's book that in the mid 19th century, a lot of Caucasian shashka blades made its way into Southern Arabia (connected perhaps to the Circassian diaspora?) and were quickly given local hilts. When I look at the blade on mine, it certainly could have been taken from a shashka.