EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Eytan, thank you for the kind compliment, but my entries only seem 'scholarly' because typically in so many cases, as here, it is material I have just researched in order to write. In doing so, as here, it is fascinating to see the weapon being examined in historical depth, and I impart the information in the discussion so that the 'true specialists' can offer their experienced insight.
It seems we have pretty much a consensus here on the probable period or range in which this example will fall, primarily latter 19th c.
I like the 'village' term used in categorizing ethnographic weapons which are traditionally styled and made but for genuine wear by native individuals. This is often overlooked when items are viewed as either vintage souvenier or modern commercial, or 'tourist', a rather pejorative assessment for someone seeking identification of an item or a collector who realizes he has stepped on a trip wire.
As we see here, these koummya are very traditional, and it seems they are essentially developed from the Arab khanjhar, which are of course an essential male accoutrement.
What I noticed on these terms used on these daggers is that the Arab dagger of these Moroccan regions, though styled very similarly to the koummya, has a much thicker hilt, and the fretted silver pommel cap is in polygon shape....while the Berber or tribal style seems to be a smooth curved arc, also in fretted silver.
As Kubur has well noted, the 'peacock' form is quite different, and to me looks like a 'Napoleon' hat (for lack of better comparison) and its form does extend far into antiquity in regions around Luristan. These were of course the 'eared' pommel forms which led to such feature in some other weapons.
As he notes, the similarity to European influences such as the cinquedea is tempting, however not really supportable, despite other Maghrebi forms using terms from such influences, as the genouii dagger (cf. Genoa).
Actually it seems these type koummya pommels are often noted as a 'variant'.
With the 'red pen', I like this technique of highlighting salient points in an illustration of an example, but always yearn for more detail on the significance of the highlighted items or features.
As Ibrahiim has observed, many traditional forms have changed little over often very long periods of time, and I truly wonder just how far back the koummya actually goes as a distinct indigenous form.
Perhaps the 'peacock' pommel actually did come in earlier through various Islamic influences from the Middle East, and the now more familiar fretted silver pommel caps were integrated into the form. The distinct 'tail' or sharply curved scabbard tip of course many equally have derived from Arab influences of the khanjhar (with the 'thum' or cap), but that still would likely have been relatively recent.
I have seen examples of koummya listed as 18th century, but I have yet to see such classification as other than highly optimistic and unsupported.
I wish I could find Louis Pierre's dissertation on Maghrebi daggers!
Attached below are images from our archived threads which may offer some perspective here, and I wish I did have the skill to use the highlighting method, but as follows:
(top photo) one of the hilt styles termed 'khanjhar' note heavy grip and most notably, the beveled or polygon pommel cap, silver fretwork.
(middle) typology from the Cavalliere dissertation.
(bottom) assemblage of variants