Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
It does seem that these hilts are 'Arab' and mostly associated with Algeria from examples are known as early as 17th c. . In "Arts of the Muslim Knight" (B.Mohammed, ed. 2008, p.77) . In this reference it is noted sabres of this type are seen as early as c.1700 with an Ottoman tughra, and another of this typw was captured at Battle of Oran (Algeria) in 1732.
Elgood (1994)does show one with this type blade (flared tip) in 2.1 but with a karabela type hilt, and another with this type hilt (2.2) same type of blade.
On p.15 Elgood describes the (2.1) type often found in sughs in Riyadh with these 'nimsha' blades and a small brass guard, and that they are attributed by Arab traders to Yemen.
It is noted that these are pretty unaesthetic (I have had these and they are munition grade) with these flared blades.
Whether 'Ottoman' or 'Arab' classifications are considered, these hilts with notable peak at pommel seem to occur throughout the Arab sphere, from Malabar, through the Meditteranean, the Magreb and Zanzibar. With North (1975) attribution they seem aligned with 16th century North Italian styles, and indeed many of these blades are Italian it does seem. As Buttin describes many of these type hilts and swords, always as 'Arab' but no specification of Zanzibar, many of these surely ended up there just as throughout these other regions, but were by no means indigenous there.
I have not been able to find any reference to Bukharen enameling in Yemen, but on p. 75 he does note a janbiyya bought during a pilgrimage in Mecca and was subsequently embellished in Bukhara with cabochon and cloisonné turquoises, but notes it is possible the work may have been done in Mecca.
This may suggest Bukharen artisans may have been in Mecca, but whether in Yemen unclear.
It does seem some nice swords were used in Yemen, mostly Hadhramaut, and other well mounted in San'aa, but certainly nothing like this.
Most definitely one of these very old Arab blades of 'cutlass' form and fantastically refurbished and likely it would seem if 19th c very early perhaps even late 18th. Breathtaking piece!!!