Originally Posted by Atlantia
Excellent work on these hilt materials.
I absolutely applaud such a stance.
They not only look fantastic, they also preserve the traditional skills of the craftsmen who decorate them.
As this is such an important innovation in the evolution of the Omani Khanjar, perhaps you could expand on this post and tell us more about the vital work of ending the demand for new Khanjar with hilts made from endangered species and how you go about altering the more "traditional" mindsets of those who still might see them as 'current' status symbols and not simply items of historic interest?
As a dealer and maker of new Khanjar, have you developed any of these alternatives yourself?
What materials have you used, how are they made? How do they 'perform' in terms of durability etc?
Do your clients prefer them to say exotic wood or coloured cow horn?
How have your clientele reacted to their introdcution and recieved them in general? In fact have your clients led the demand for these alternatives or have you taken the chance and introduced them anyway?
Can you envision a time when public opinion in Oman might make it socially unaceptable to wear the endangered species hilts and they could be consigned to collections and museums only? (here's hoping!)
Well done again
Salaams Atlantia ~ We don't build using Rhino or Elephant unless the certification shows allowability.. In any case its a fairly rare event and hopefully the price is sufficiently steep to deter many being called for...The greater drain appears to be from medicinal herbal traditional Chinese demand... and hand carved items. Frankly we are very cautious and fully aware of the dodgey credentials offered by people selling this material ..
We use a lot of composite now .. high density plastic which is called Americy in the market place ! No one seems to mind since the finish is good and it takes all the pins etc...The trouble is that Khanjars get upgraded so it matters little what leaves the workshop if the client then or later switches to a rare hilt.
We also use good horn from basic water buffalo which polishes well, however, I am looking at Mamoth since that could be part of the answer ...and its CITES compliant. I believe that could take over from Rhino and Elephant.
Occasionally there is a call for Sandalwood hilt which is about as exotic as it gets and Sandalwood doesn't get attacked by weevil. Cowhorn is looked on as just about acceptable but its low on the spectrum.
I'm afraid the mindset is rather cemented in terms of the rare items... though we have many clients now happy with the alternatives... Unfortunately the Rhino is still intrinsically linked to the dagger. Power, prowess, rich price...for rich men... status.
I hope that with composites improving all the time including grain and texture we can narrow the use of rare hilts.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.