EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Most interesting example . The term 'nimcha' has been most often colloquially applied to the Moroccan sa'ifs which typically have this distinct hilt system. This hilt type with downturned quillons and incorporated upswept knuckle guard developed from probably Italian hilts possibly as early as 16th century, but did not attain wide popularity in the Maghreb until the 17th.
The blades on most of the sa'if's in Morocco which we know as 'nim'cha (=Ar. short sword) are interestingly with full length blades, as typically they were from European trade blades readily available in the trade networks to the ports of the North African littoral. Also the well known 'Barbary Pirates' brought materials including blades to these areas.
The hilt style on this weapon actually seems Arabian to me, and has strong resemblances to Hadhramauti types of swords (the discs are seen usually in repousse silver karabela type hilts), and the scabbard which along with the mounts seems more modern of course than the blade. The blade resembles earlier European military types of 18th-19th century sidearms and of 'cutlass' type. This incarnation seems to be Ottoman sphere quite likely Arab and recalling the much shorter hanger/cutlass type weapons that were well known in Arabian regions in Ottoman control and favored for maritime use.
I know I have seen this hilt (with the peaked extension at top of hilt) and the swirled motif embossed in the leather of the scabbard but need to look further.
In the meantime, very nice example Kurt, and hope my thoughts are of some help.
All best regards,