EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
I had not noticed the curious stylized pommel plate on these nimchas Ibrahiim, interesting element. The simplistic design here seems to recall the 'calyx' type flourish usually found on the back of blades right at the hilt where the blade enters. It seems an extension of the backstrap and is typically a 'leaf' type shape, characteristic on Central Asian weapons such as Khyber knives and pesh kabz.
Another stylized image would be the component on scabbard throat mounts of Yemeni sa'if which is often termed the 'aghreb' (=scorpion?). These mounts are apparently fashioned in Hyderabad in India, and of course well within the trade sphere to Arabia and further to Zanzibar.
The influences of Central Asian arms and those from India were of course well represented in Ottoman contexts with mercenary forces which were largely present in their forces.
Though highly stylized these sometimes roughly presented forms still carry the nuance of the tradition and symbolism on the more elegant examples of these arms. While this comparison is admittedly tenuous and speculative, it seems worthy of consideration.
The Schimmelbusch family was a dynasty of swordsmiths in Solingen from beginning of 17th century to end of the 19th. They began using the shooting star symbol in 1777, and these makers were apparently one of the more prolific suppliers of blades to Red Sea trade, which included Zanzibar. Like other Solingen producers, they of course only supplied blades, but not hilts