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Old 19th February 2013, 05:09 PM   #10
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
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Originally Posted by Iain
Hi Ibrahiim,

Lets leave the combat/non combat question at the door for a bit. Its not really key to what I'm getting at.

I'm afraid I really fail to see this as much of a progression from the older Omani sword style. Flat, wider, shorter blades to longer, narrower fullered blades? Not much of a connection to my eyes...

See above - the Omani battle sword doesn't have many similarities. The Yemeni long hilts - lots of trade blades to be found in those...

If your point of view is that the straight sayf is directly related to the Omani battle sword - this makes no sense. The battle sword, at least all I've seen, don't have stamps. Why start on the dancing swords? It frankly makes no difference if the stamps are done locally or abroad - they are applied because they imply something. Quality usually, quality to be found in imported blades. Again, this is not a question of what is done now, it is a question of origins.

Your explanation provides no reasoning as to why stamps would start appearing on dance swords when they weren't on battle swords.

Unfortunately I have the exact same problems still as before. Moving from a flat, broad and unfullered blade to a long, more narrow fullered blade that happens to match up in profile with widely available European exports and have the application of blade stamps which weren't used on the older form (whether local or European in application makes no difference) plus the simultaneous uptake of European curved blades into the same hilt style... Quite a lot of coincidences to just discount I'd say...

What drove the uptake of European trade blades in most regions of the world can be broken down into a few basic areas.

  • Availability
  • Effectiveness/quality
  • Cost
  • Symbolism

They were widely available, they were of excellent quality steel and the cost was proportional to the first two attributes. Symbolism and status are a natural follow on from the first attributes.

For me, there are still some broad gaps in the theory you've presented and I'll try to distill them once more in bullet form, really I think there are two points to focus on.
  • The "coincidence" of triple fuller dance swords appearing at just about the time European trade blades of the same pattern are widely available
  • The use of stamps in Oman, even if locally copied. These ONLY can be attributed to an experience of European blades lending attributes to the marks - such as an indication of quality. Otherwise there is no reason for them to be copied and applied.

I'll just try to make myself absolutely clear, this has nothing to do with dancing, pageantry, combat or non combat. It's simply a question of where the blade form came from - no matter what the modern iterations are.



Salaams Iain, I have not yet seen an old Omani blade with anything resembling an original European mark on it..I am at this time of the belief that in about Circa 1744 to 1850 the call went out for a pageantry sword to take over from the Omani Battle Sword in the traditions only... not for fighting. I have to say that I am continuing to persue both swords involvement and to discover for certain if the sword dances began when the flexible blade appeared or before with the Old Omani Battle Sword. Was the Omani Sayf really just invented as a pageantry sword by the new Dynasty or what? There is nothing in the entire Funoon to indicate that it was a battle field weapon ..but a great deal to indicate its honorific quality only. You would imagine that we would have a few battle names or some evidence to show some fighting took place with this dancing sword but there isn't any..

In viewing both swords and their similarities I have shown that this is a copy of the old Battle Sword but with no lethality. i.e. The blade is flexible to the point of being almost floppy. Its main and only quality is for buzzing in the air and as a mimic of the old weapon. Broadsword, sharp on both sides, spatulate tipped, used with the Terrs, and the hilt is very similar if you break it down with cuff style incorporated into the long hilt etc.

I intend to discover from Museum archives the exact date the sword appeared and who invented the concept.. We already have a Sultans wife in the frame for the Turban The Omani Royal Khanjar and The Omani Battle Sword iconic hilt. I hope to ID the originator of the Straight dancing sword.

Your note as to the symultaneous take up of the curved sword The Kattara is interesting and though I also believe it happenend at the same time I cannot prove it or when. Although the whats in a name debate is not relevant I have to say that Kuddara the Persian example is close ..on passing.. and has the heavy backblade and very slight curve although near the tip...but just to illustrate that other blades can be placed in the frame for the origin of the curved and of course the same applies to straight blades mainly out of the Ottoman stables.

The thread Yemeni Sayfs? Omani Kattaras? by Swedegreen I believe may hold clues to the Omani Sayfs beginnings.

Of course I agree about the fullers ... and in doing so also point out the myriad of Omani ones of varying length one, three and some going the whole hog right to the tip called Abu Falaj ... "The one with the irrigation channels". Anyway through trade the Omanis would have viewed all sorts of Fullered swords and at some point concluded that this was the style they wanted on the straight job... which I still say was brought on as the honorific shimmering pageantry sword and never a weapon.

That is "my understanding" and I have seen no evidence to the contrary but I have always driven the debate from the pageantry viewpoint ~ I mean I had no choice as no definitive details are yet to hand on its blade origin... but the pointers are there for local production... local stamping...and local use in the Traditions.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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