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Old 15th August 2013, 06:20 AM   #49
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
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Originally Posted by Iain
Hi Ibrahiim,

While I am well aware of your ideas regarding the source of the sword design, I think quoting the 751 date continuously does more harm than good. It gives the impression you are attributing these swords to that period. There is sadly, not a single provenanced example dating to that period among these weapons. While it may have roots in that period, it is a large leap to conclude it did not change at all during the centuries. I think it is quite possible some elements of the design due date back that far, but on the evidence available, i.e. not archaeological. It's difficult to extrapolate that much further.

I'd be interested as to what dating you would place on some of the examples you've shown. By that I mean the overall piece not just the blades which can perhaps be a older than the hilts in some cases.

All the best,

Salaams Iain, The design date of 751 AD marks just that... Note that there is not a single sword from the period Abbasiid save the few examples in the Topkapi and of the Umayyad dynasty prior to that ?... there are none at all. At no point have I suggested swords are present from that period but what I do say is the design did not change.

What may be an indicator on age is the appearance of blade inscriptions and stamps and perhaps the fullers which may not have been on the very early blades. Dots on the blade may be an earlier indicator. General wear is an indicator ... however none of these is very accurate. Some later editions have tubular grip whereas the proper grip is octagonal taken from the Abbasiid style etc etc. Generally because few Ethnographic Arms anywhere exist from much before 1600.. except rusted bits or remnants we tend to look at the brackets 1550 to 1850 or thereabouts. Thus existing Omani Battle Swords probably occur in that timeframe though of course with a design pedigree stretching back much further.

To show another example of design freeze simply look at three other examples of this (quote is backed up by the late Anthony North in his book Islamic Arms and Armour)... observe the freeze in the Abu Futtila, The Khanjar and since its inception in 1744 the Omani Dancing Sword. In Arabia unlike other parts of the world ... once a weapon was accepted, essentially, it did not change in design.

I conclude that the Old Omani Battle Sword was developed from the Abbasid see #1 for my comparison and that it is a Heraldic / Religious design .. The Omani Ibaathi Sword with the birthdate 751 AD and thenceforth essentially unchanged. It would of course be nice if someone were to dig up a grave with an original in it...but except for one known later example from a tomb in Jebel Akhdar there are none ... perhaps because the tradition of burying such artefacts with the dead was not the style here... in fact it was forbidden.

This is the Omani Ibaathi insignia weapon and was used in the "Funoon" before being superceded in 1744 by the Omani dancing sword to celebrate the pageant and for the Busaidi Dynasty. The Funoon goes back to the beginning of the Omani Ibaathi period marked by the selection of the first Imam Ibn Julanda in...wait for it...751 AD. The weapon didn't appear later out of fresh air... it had a purpose ... it was Heraldic. Everything about it is Islamic but more so the hilt which is nowhere else to be found in the Islamic world... why? Because it is Omani Ibaathi ... totally unique... and the major reason for its DESIGN FREEZE... and of course as the Old Omani Battle Sword.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.


After its conversion to Islam, Oman was ruled by Umayyads between 661750, Abbasids between 750931, 932933 and 934967, Qarmatians between 931932 and 933934, Buyids between 9671053, and the Seljuks of Kirman between 10531154.
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