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Old 17th February 2013, 05:36 PM   #10
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Originally Posted by Atlantia
Namaste Ibrahiim,

Obviously the 'Shamshir' was a supremely influential weapon and certainly travelled widely.
If we just look at it's influence on European military officers swords loosely termed 'Mameluke', there are all stages of variation from actual unmodified shamshir and Kilij through imported remounted blades and of course the (majority) European swords simply made in the 'Mameluke' style (Ie; loosely emulating Shamshir).

So, when we look at your two examples they do seem to have been "lightly Omanicised". But are you saying that there are also 100% Omani made versions of these swords? (Say pre WW2?)
Because if so that would indeed be an interesting and distinct local 'version'.

I had to smile when I read "Inevitably the grand masters in Persia or Hyderabad were involved in making these swords" (The ones shown).
I found myself imagining a picture of the laundry room in the Titanic, full to the brim with Egyptian cotton sheets, towels, pillowcases and napkins and claiming that the Titanic was a Egyptian ship even though some Irish shipbuilders were inevitably involved in making her.

Teasing aside These locally dressed swords are interesting and clearly as has been pointed out would have been instantly recognisable (worldwide) as a fashionable cross-cultural status symbol which clearly survived as such in certain circles in Oman into the modern period.
You could fill a fair sized thread with pictures of all manner of the great and the good carrying Shamshir and Kilij in the 19th century.

However, from what I can see of the two above, I'd call them 'Lightly Omanicised Shamshir'


Salaams Atlantia .. I haven't seen a fully home grown (all made in Oman) Shamshiir and I doubt if one exists. The closest I think may be from the turn of the century in a small production unit in Al Ain close to Buraimi but that is another story. Wootz is not something normally seen in Omani produced swords/daggers though there are instances where wootz blades have appeared on long Omani hilts matched later.

I agree with the idea of Omanised weapons ... Some weapons were produced in other countries and used and adopted here. That is true about the blades of the curved Omani Kattara and of gunpowder weapons from abu Futtlia to cannon to Martini Henry and Enfields. That can even be argued about the Omani Battle Sword as I illustrate it as "copied in"... from the Abasiid... in 751 AD.

I hope that my posts do not infer that Shamshiir in Oman were made in Oman... not at all ... but owning a sword signed by one of the great sword makers of Persia (a next door trading partner and in the past waring enemies/friends on and off) added great cudos to the weapon and the person weilding it (presumably ) and in that context I think the Islamic script ... and indeed the whole blade and hilt configuration held some powerful effect in this part of the world... apart from being the height of technology "bladed weapon wise" ~ it expressed a certain level in Arabian society...Rich Man-Rich Sword..The word "Icon" springs to mind.

These were sought after by countries close to Persia and made on commission or offered as the ultimate in royal/diplomatic gifts to visiting heads of state. Oman being right on that particular doorstep was the fortunate receiver of such "Royal" weapons and has a rich history with its neighbours.

In another way if we look at good European blades and the way they swept the world particularly Africa and even today continue to be rehilted on weird and wonderful foreign hilts. I mean no-one blinks at seeing a Solingen blade on an Omani, Ethiopian, Red Sea or Indian Hilt.

The Shamshiir is very much part of the Regal Scene and may have entered Omani culture early in its appearance. If my memory serves me well the great master was taken from Damascus to Isfahan in 16thC...and worked in the Safavid court royal workshops on such "Persian" Shamshiir.(although I do not forget the Hyderabad weapons probably traded in by the famous Hyderabadi Khojas... who later became absorbed as Omanis in Muscat)

Swords with expired great masters names on them in fact continued until ... today.

The Omanised bits of the weapon appear to be decorative and include the chape and drag plus other gold and silver work on the rings furniture and throat...and Omani tooled leather to the scabbard and possibly Omani work on the carrying belt. Here I must also place the unusual knot as apparently Omani. To that end it is indeed viewable as you describe as "Lightly Omanicised" but as I noted initially my focus is not just on the sword but on the person wearing it.

Thus; "The Omani Shamshiir".

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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