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Old 21st February 2013, 02:22 PM   #26
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
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Default Which, What, When, Why, Where, How; Forum Motto?

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
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!

Salaams Jim, Thanks for the important detail. I add this late point ~In placing the subject of Asir and Omani daggers in the think tank one very important aspect has emerged and is covered on The Omani Khanjar at #79 which throws the question wide open as to what the linkage is between the two systems.

This phenomena ..."Weapons Jambia/Khanjars in the Asir" and both sides of the Yemeni / Saudia border are an almost exact mirror of The Omani Khanjars called
1.Muscat Khanjars (With a tee shaped hilt and 7 rings) and
2.Royal Khanjars(with the fancy Sheherazad 1850 hilt and 7 rings) SEE NOTE*...

This a real puzzle not only because of the 1920s border re-alignment making these now Saudia variants (before that Yemeni) but also because of the almost screamingly obvious trade link between there and Muscat and Zanzibar in the period of that intermixiture.. in the 19th C.

So far as I can determine;
1. No other Saudia daggers look like these Omani weapons.
2. No other Yemeni daggers look like these Omani weapons.

For reasons unknown to anyone they have this peculiar name Habaabi.

The Asir variants are called Habaabi by Omanis, thus, logically seem to attribute that name to Hababi in Yemen. The only other supect for that name may be a tribal group in what is now the Asir... I've looked, searched, questioned and puzzled... but find it I cannot.

It is like several undetermined facts placed on Forum; so that perhaps another researcher may dig up the truth later.

I asked our local souk Yemeni shop owner what he called these daggers and he blinked...looked at me as if I was soft in the head... and said in a bemused way "Habaabi" . Regretably he knew nought about its provenance. I have therefor stuck the pin in the donkeys tail quite expecting to be kicked but it leaves the door open for someone else to "bring it on".

What is very important for me is to unearth the exact transition~ either Oman to Yemen or Yemen to Oman of this specific styling. No one has done it yet... we have the possibility of a groundbreaking discovery because mine is only hypothesis so who will take up the cudgel?...Who will run with the ball and help solve this one? Much of the groundwork is on The Omani Khanjar but it's open to constructive criticism. Any lurkers out there ? HELLO !!!

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

NOTE* I seek clarification on the fact that the Muscat Dagger has a scabbard that is identical to the Royal Khanjar but has a TEE Shaped hilt. Did the Royal Khanjar influence The Muscat Khanjar or was it already like that pre Sheherazad...Pre 1850... On top of that comes the Asir configuration which needs to be rooted out... another Museum task.
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