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Old 18th May 2011, 10:28 AM   #20
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
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Default Omani Swords. Origins.

Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams Jim, Thanks for another very substantial and supporting response. Teodor, as you rightly say, points out the Shashka link to the curved Sayf and refers quote; ...
"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" .

I have several shaska blades on flat conical Omani hilts and others on falcon head shaped hilts. I wonder if the hawk style hilt also originated there in the Caucasus as well... Hunting with falcons although popular with the arabs may not be the reason for the hawkshead style on the shaska blades in Arabia... perhaps the entire Curved Sayf; blade and hilt, is Caucasus inspired?

On the subject of Omani Kattara Long. Here is an important passage from W. H. INGRAMS who was an official advisor to the British governor and unusually advisor to the Sultan of Zanzibar variously from about 1919 (published in 1931) in which he describes~

" The only performance or dance of the Arabs is the sword dance, RAZHA, accompanied by an orchestra of drums while the performers armed with swords and Jambiyya and small shields of rhinoceros hide indulge in mimic contests. leaping about and weilding their swords in a truly marvellous way".

However what I find amazing is...This was not a Zanzibari dance. W. H. Ingrams goes on to explain that this was only carried out by the Manga(those born in Muscat) not those Mwarcha (those born in Zanzibar).

Could this mean that the Omanis developed entirely separately a fighting system(long blade and buckler) with its own dancing martial activity totally unrelated to Zanzibar and that Zanzibar is an enormous red herring in the proceedings?

If that is the case we may need to look a lot earlier for the answers on Omani Kattara Long and Terrs Buckler Shield!

Omani Kattara .
The earliest picture I can find which goes back to this forum in 2004 is attached showing an 1860 slave trader Tipu Sultan with a slightly curved Sayf on a long hilt with holed pommel looking like it is an antique (but date of origin unproven!! )
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