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Old 4th August 2012, 10:15 AM   #54
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
This thread continues to develop as an outstanding resource in learning about these fascinating daggers, and it is great to see the itemized attention to important elements concerning them.
It seems that rhino horn is as discussed, a powerful and symbolically oriented material not only in the hilts of these daggers in Oman, but throughout other Arabian regions. Some years ago there were some discussions about the various types of rhino horn used in these hilts, and that certain types actually were called by specific terms, and there were actually graduated scales of status in them. I cannot recall the details offhand, but beyond I believe the talismanic properties which are part of the mystique in these rhino hilts, the status in accord with the rarity of the horn type also becomes a factor. It seems mostly these situations pertained to Yemeni regions, and at the time not sure if Oman was included in the discussions.

I do recall also that as rhino horn became somewhat more controlled in trade in the latter 19th early 20th c. many of the blades into Arabia from Ethiopia entered through the Aden entrepot which was British occupied.
Many of these were British and German blades bearing the Abyssinian 'Lion of Judah' and sometimes Amharic script, and as I understand the rhino shotel hilts were removed for use on khanjhar hilts. The blades ended up hilted with some of the silvered repousse style hilts mounted with these blades, many returning in those configurations back to North Africa.

I am wondering if similar values as described with the Yemeni khanjhar situation are observed pertaining to grade and type of rhino horn, translucence, color etc.

All best regards,

Salaams Jim ~ Thank you for that important contribution. I understand that Oman was trading with (and owned large areas of) coastal Africa as well as the Zanzibar hub itself..though that declined considerably from the late 19th to the mid 20th C.

I wonder what trade to Oman went through Aden under the British. The other port would have been Jazzan now in Saudia but just around the corner in the Red Sea. The dagger(scabbard) of that region (called after one of its cities Hababi) is an almost carbon copy of the Royal Omani Khanjar.

Oman seems to have favoured clear translucent hilts whilst Yemeni daggers didnt seem to mind if they were black and oily. I have never heard of a grading system... but will enquire.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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