EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Thank you for the additional references and observations Ibrahiim. It seems to me that efforts to 'pidgeon hole' classification terminology with most ethnographic weapon forms becomes terribly vague altogether too often.
Clearly certain forms develop within certain cultures and over time develop varying characteristics with different influences diffused into them. Through trade and cultural and geopolitical flux it becomes more and more difficult to classify examples to particular regions with absolute certainty.
One of the greatest banes of ethnographic study has always, as far as I have known, been the 'name game', and often it becomes necessary to add, in my opinion, qualifying detail to descriptions. I think one of the fascinating things about Arabian weapons, like many other cultures, is the varying locally used terms for certain weapons. Until a few years ago, I had always assumed the familiar daggers which I know now are khanjhars, were all called janbiyyas. Clearly, in local parlances there are many terms used to define these further, and until reading this thread I had no idea of the term 'habaabi' for a particular form of khanjhar.
I would think that with modified examples, traded items, custom or variant pieces and so forth with a traditionally contemporary item such as these, it would be difficult to classify many examples finitely within a certain regional classification. This would especially be the case when the example is obviously an amalgam of features from varying established types.
Though it is sometimes troublesome for many to use compound descriptions to accurately classify such weapons, it seems to me the only responsible and viable approach.
In all, good learning exercise here everybody, its good to keep the learning curve moving!