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Old 20th July 2011, 09:56 AM   #22
tom hyle
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 1,254

The Zanzibar swords in question are, I believe, not kattaras as has been apparently suposed, but the East coast nimcha/saifs, which can be seperated from those of the North coast by a number of details, most notably annoes and also a shorter quillon block with a punched-through tang hole rather than the hollow center found on the Moorocan type guards. I tend to view these as Swahili, and I see them all along the coast, rather than just from Zanzibar or Yemen to which they are commonly attributed.
Certainly one sees a resemblance between these types, and the flat-tang no-guard Berber sabers, and the middle-eastern Arab saif, and all seem closely related.
I have always considered the Philipino head pommels an extension of native animist culture. Their stylization seems more that of the Pacific than that of Islam to me.
The handling of the ears is notably different than on a saif (where there are never[?] a seperate front and back ear and where the nose comes to resemble an ear) or shah shish qa and yatagan (where the ears are seperated but stylized in a very different fashion than in SE Asia).
The iconography cited for saif is always the horse, while the SE Asian hilts depict a great range of deities/animals, all resembling each other in style.
Then there is the Turkish style pinky pull found on "nimcha"s; a feature of Turkish knives, including yatagan, not generally seen on their longer swords.
At the end of your handle, a hook is good. Hooks look like heads.
Just thoughts; no conclusions.
That's what's so interesting
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