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Old 30th July 2011, 12:21 PM   #1
Kurt
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Default Oman, Morocco or Zanzibar?

Who can say more about it?
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Old 30th July 2011, 12:29 PM   #2
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Hello Kurt,

The shape of the guard is moroccan. The scabbard is very interesting, reminds me of persian style!

It looks very small though, what are the dimensions?
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Old 30th July 2011, 12:35 PM   #3
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Default dimensions

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Hello Kurt,

The shape of the guard is moroccan. The scabbard is very interesting, reminds me of persian style!

It looks very small though, what are the dimensions?




Total length is 95cm .
Best
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Old 30th July 2011, 02:45 PM   #4
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A.alnakkas
"It looks very small though"


Because it is a "Nimcha" :-)
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Old 30th July 2011, 02:56 PM   #5
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You have a nice nimcha with atypical blade. The hilt material - is it ivory or camel bone and gold?
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Old 30th July 2011, 04:29 PM   #6
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Default The hilt material

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
You have a nice nimcha with atypical blade. The hilt material - is it ivory or camel bone and gold?

Hi Battara ,

The handle is made ​​of ivory.
With 20 carat gold.
Kurt
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Old 30th July 2011, 03:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
A.alnakkas
"It looks very small though"


Because it is a "Nimcha" :-)


Hey Ariel,

Can you explain more please? most of the nimchas I have seen ( have 3 personally) have european blades of normal length. I must say though, I like the length on this one, looks vicious!
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Old 30th July 2011, 04:04 PM   #8
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Most of my info derives from Elgood's book, where he explains that nimcha has a connotation of being small. This one has a feel not of a Moroccan one, but of a South-Arabian ( Oman, perhaps, since they had more sophisticated tastes and were a seafaring bunch). Such swords are quite useless as cavalry weapons and would not be suitable for horse or camel riders, but ideal for sea battles, analogous to european cutlases.

Kurt, it is a beauty!!!
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Old 30th July 2011, 04:06 PM   #9
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Kurt,
Most interesting example . The term 'nimcha' has been most often colloquially applied to the Moroccan sa'ifs which typically have this distinct hilt system. This hilt type with downturned quillons and incorporated upswept knuckle guard developed from probably Italian hilts possibly as early as 16th century, but did not attain wide popularity in the Maghreb until the 17th.

The blades on most of the sa'if's in Morocco which we know as 'nim'cha (=Ar. short sword) are interestingly with full length blades, as typically they were from European trade blades readily available in the trade networks to the ports of the North African littoral. Also the well known 'Barbary Pirates' brought materials including blades to these areas.

The hilt style on this weapon actually seems Arabian to me, and has strong resemblances to Hadhramauti types of swords (the discs are seen usually in repousse silver karabela type hilts), and the scabbard which along with the mounts seems more modern of course than the blade. The blade resembles earlier European military types of 18th-19th century sidearms and of 'cutlass' type. This incarnation seems to be Ottoman sphere quite likely Arab and recalling the much shorter hanger/cutlass type weapons that were well known in Arabian regions in Ottoman control and favored for maritime use.

I know I have seen this hilt (with the peaked extension at top of hilt) and the swirled motif embossed in the leather of the scabbard but need to look further.
In the meantime, very nice example Kurt, and hope my thoughts are of some help.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 31st July 2011, 05:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Hello Kurt,

The shape of the guard is moroccan. The scabbard is very interesting, reminds me of persian style!

It looks very small though, what are the dimensions?

I agree with Lofty.....Moroccan hilt style. The "Zanzibari" style has a D shaped "guard" at the extremity of the quillons.
Can't comment on the scabbard but no doubt Ibrahiim will have some comment as to possible origins when he sees this post. Very nice piece by the way.
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Old 31st July 2011, 07:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
I agree with Lofty.....Moroccan hilt style. The "Zanzibari" style has a D shaped "guard" at the extremity of the quillons.
Can't comment on the scabbard but no doubt Ibrahiim will have some comment as to possible origins when he sees this post. Very nice piece by the way.



The hilt style on Kurts example seems more in accord with these kinds of swords associated with Algeria, though the 'Zanzibar' (per Buttin)form with ring on guard often has the prong as in this case (attached posted by Dom). The 'Saudi' form (red back ground posted by Dom), which is actually specific to Hadhramaut (per Elgood) The Zanzibar types seem to have been much associated with Yemen where many of them seem to have come from.

The sa'if with two quillons on one side, one on the other, no ring guard on the crossguard and no peak on the pommel is the 'Moroccan' style hilt )as posted by Rick with decking background).
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Old 31st July 2011, 07:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
The hilt style on Kurts example seems more in accord with these kinds of swords associated with Algeria, though the 'Zanzibar' (per Buttin)form with ring on guard often has the prong as in this case (attached posted by Dom). The 'Saudi' form (red back ground posted by Dom), which is actually specific to Hadhramaut (per Elgood) The Zanzibar types seem to have been much associated with Yemen where many of them seem to have come from.

The sa'if with two quillons on one side, one on the other, no ring guard on the crossguard and no peak on the pommel is the 'Moroccan' style hilt )as posted by Rick with decking background).

Yes I agree. I had forgotten those pics of Doms. They clearly show the ring "guard" of the "Zanzibari" type.
Hope all is well with you Jim.
Regards Stu
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Old 4th August 2011, 08:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
I agree with Lofty.....Moroccan hilt style. The "Zanzibari" style has a D shaped "guard" at the extremity of the quillons.


Known in Latin as an annoe (spellings various) or ring.
These are not universal to the Eastern type, but occasional to it.
IMHO much more diagnostic is the shape of the quillion block and of the quillons themselves.
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Old 5th August 2011, 10:44 AM   #14
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Default Interest Type

I found this interesting "Nimcha" (?) In a French book.
could this decoration be from the 18th century.
Nimcha or Saif?
Dear Louis - Pierre you can say more about that?
Best Kurt
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Old 5th August 2011, 11:34 AM   #15
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Hi Kurt,

It may be a presentation Nimcha even if it misses the full set of quillions (of which the guard). The profile of the handle is the same that the one of a Nimcha.
This type of work on silver was and is again nowadays done by the jew community of the casbash. Prudently, i would say late XIX°, early XX°. Why not before?? But, the blade would tell more for its datation.

Best for you.
Louis-Pierre
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Old 18th August 2011, 10:10 PM   #16
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Default Nimcha.

Salaams, I cannot add much to the already full and excellent discussion ...except...Nim means half in Baluchi and they take that from the Persian as noted in a previous detailed thread. It is not an Arabic word but again that is already discussed... so ...

This is a Zanzibari Nimcha. Not the cloisonned Algerian version nor the classic Magreb style. As Jim was saying in this and other related Nimcha threads these swords started life in Italian or Venetian roots. There are other variants including the Saudi item and cheaper hilted Yemeni variants but the one which makes ones eyes sparkle is the Omani or Zanzibari version ... When people say Omani Nimcha what they actually mean is Zanzibari (as already noted Oman owned it for a considerable period and it even became for a time the Omani capital !)

Apart from the obvious, there are two clues to origin;

1. The Hilt of Ivory.
2. The decorative gold Hilt pattern style.

Zanzibari traders favoured the Ivory hilt on their Nimchas...Being a trading hub for all things African, Zanzibar was well placed for the Ivory trade.

The decorative gold style is Indo/ Persian "Miri Bota" leaf pattern. Not likely to be done on a Nimcha other than a Zanzibari Nimcha. More than likely craftsmen from India worked in Zanzibar and the decoration was either done there or in India from which much trade exchanged with the Zanzibaris.

I have to add that the Nimcha puzzle is or has been one of the most difficult to crack open... and thanks to the Forum it is now somewhat clearer.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 30th July 2011, 05:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt
Who can say more about it?
as per
"George Cameron Stone"
"a glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of ARMS AND ARMOR in all countries and all times"

Arab.
Grooved blade 21 inches long.
Hilt covered with tortoise shell and inlaid with pearl,
engraved silver mounts and brass guard

Kurt, in case of, your hilt and guard did looks as well the above description
the general shape of your sword is the same, isn't it ?

and to complete the picture ... if I might said so

the last pic, is issued from a book in French
"ARMES ET ARMURES
armes traditionnelles de l'Inde
by; E. Jaiwant Paul

comments attached to this pic;
- poignée d'épée sertie de pierres précieuses, Rajasthan
(sword hilt set with precious stones, Rajasthan)

very popular, this type of hilt
from Morroco, to Zanzibar, passing by Saudi, might be Indonesia, until India
really popular

à +

Dom
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Old 30th July 2011, 05:37 PM   #18
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Default very popular

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom
as per
"George Cameron Stone"
"a glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of ARMS AND ARMOR in all countries and all times"

Arab.
Grooved blade 21 inches long.
Hilt covered with tortoise shell and inlaid with pearl,
engraved silver mounts and brass guard

Kurt, in case of, your hilt and guard did looks as well the above description
the general shape of your sword is the same, isn't it ?

and to complete the picture ... if I might said so

the last pic, is issued from a book in French
"ARMES ET ARMURES
armes traditionnelles de l'Inde
by; E. Jaiwant Paul

comments attached to this pic;
- poignée d'épée sertie de pierres précieuses, Rajasthan
(sword hilt set with precious stones, Rajasthan)

very popular, this type of hilt
from Morroco, to Zanzibar, passing by Saudi, might be Indonesia, until India
really popular

à +

Dom

Hi Dom ,

You're absolutely right, this was very common.
Regards
Kurt
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Old 30th July 2011, 09:05 PM   #19
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Lovely!
The shortness of the quillon block and its lack of bowed-out sides suggest an Eastern (Swahili?) origin rather than Mooroccan. The squared shape of the quillon tips also suggests such origins. It lacks the annoe often seen on such pieces.
The way the groove runs out at the tip suggests it might have once been a longer blade.
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Old 31st July 2011, 04:45 AM   #20
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Kurt, thank you for the response. Now that I have been able to 'hit the books' I can see in Elgood the illustration of the Omani sword which is typically associated with the interior regions, and the scabbard does have this interesting pattern motif embossed in the leather (p.17, 2.13).

These pronged pommel type hilts do seem widespread in use and from the 17th century (possibly earlier) and probably well through the 19th. In looking at various examples of these,one example ("Arts of the Muslim Knight", Furisiyya, Milan, 2008, p.77, #41) with the same type hilt, but single downturned quillons, is shown as having been captured at Battle of Oran (Algeria) in 1732). These are shown as 'cutlasses' and often found in naval context throughout the North African littoral. This same type hilt on a sword also pictured in Elgood ("Arms and Armour of Arabia" p.11, 2.2) is strikingly similar in profile, but subtle variations in decoration and blades. This may well be the one mentioned from Stone as well, as the 'tortoise shell' is mentioned in all representations.

It seems these were notably popular in Ottoman association (particularly in N.Africa) and examples of these in Ottoman context are known from as early as the 16th century. The influence of the hilt form seems to have diffused into the Deccan in India in the 17th century as hybrids of the peaked pommel or pronged, are seen with Ottoman type quillon terminals and Indian langet. The linear design of rosettes on the hilt faces similar to yours bring to mind that Hyderabad produced swords for export to Arabia, typically Hadhramaut in the 18th century. Many have these same type discs in motif.

Elgood notes these cutlass type swords with such pronged hilt profile are well known on Arab maritime routes. The coastal region in Oman, Muscat, is the trade power which also controlled areas beyond Zanzibar, which included parts of North Africa including Libya, Algeria and Tunisia in commerce. The Ottomans were driven out of Oman by Ahmed inb Said of Yemen in 1741.

All of this seems to show distinct links in Arab maritime provenance to this type of sword, and hilts of this form with profound traditional presence. The heritage of the style from North Africa, connections to Arabia through the Yemen, particularly Hadhramaut (and sword influences between Hyderabad and Deccan), and the Omani type leatherwork in scabbard with Arab type cord and fringed swag trappings present hybridization noted to be quite well known in these type swords.

As usual, just thinking out loud here, and that this cutlass may well be quite old and simply newer scabbard, and in ivory/gold for someone of importance in trade connected to Oman's networks. It seems the merchant class in Oman were quite status and fashion conscious, but they typically carried the cylindrical hilt kattara.
Obviously these ramblings dont present anything conclusive, but hopefully the elements noted will offer possibilities for consideration and maybe even some discussion

Extremely exciting piece there!

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 31st July 2011, 09:59 AM   #21
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Default Oman,Morocco or Zanzibar ß

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Kurt, thank you for the response. Now that I have been able to 'hit the books' I can see in Elgood the illustration of the Omani sword which is typically associated with the interior regions, and the scabbard does have this interesting pattern motif embossed in the leather (p.17, 2.13).

These pronged pommel type hilts do seem widespread in use and from the 17th century (possibly earlier) and probably well through the 19th. In looking at various examples of these,one example ("Arts of the Muslim Knight", Furisiyya, Milan, 2008, p.77, #41) with the same type hilt, but single downturned quillons, is shown as having been captured at Battle of Oran (Algeria) in 1732). These are shown as 'cutlasses' and often found in naval context throughout the North African littoral. This same type hilt on a sword also pictured in Elgood ("Arms and Armour of Arabia" p.11, 2.2) is strikingly similar in profile, but subtle variations in decoration and blades. This may well be the one mentioned from Stone as well, as the 'tortoise shell' is mentioned in all representations.

It seems these were notably popular in Ottoman association (particularly in N.Africa) and examples of these in Ottoman context are known from as early as the 16th century. The influence of the hilt form seems to have diffused into the Deccan in India in the 17th century as hybrids of the peaked pommel or pronged, are seen with Ottoman type quillon terminals and Indian langet. The linear design of rosettes on the hilt faces similar to yours bring to mind that Hyderabad produced swords for export to Arabia, typically Hadhramaut in the 18th century. Many have these same type discs in motif.

Elgood notes these cutlass type swords with such pronged hilt profile are well known on Arab maritime routes. The coastal region in Oman, Muscat, is the trade power which also controlled areas beyond Zanzibar, which included parts of North Africa including Libya, Algeria and Tunisia in commerce. The Ottomans were driven out of Oman by Ahmed inb Said of Yemen in 1741.

All of this seems to show distinct links in Arab maritime provenance to this type of sword, and hilts of this form with profound traditional presence. The heritage of the style from North Africa, connections to Arabia through the Yemen, particularly Hadhramaut (and sword influences between Hyderabad and Deccan), and the Omani type leatherwork in scabbard with Arab type cord and fringed swag trappings present hybridization noted to be quite well known in these type swords.

As usual, just thinking out loud here, and that this cutlass may well be quite old and simply newer scabbard, and in ivory/gold for someone of importance in trade connected to Oman's networks. It seems the merchant class in Oman were quite status and fashion conscious, but they typically carried the cylindrical hilt kattara.
Obviously these ramblings dont present anything conclusive, but hopefully the elements noted will offer possibilities for consideration and maybe even some discussion

Extremely exciting piece there!

All best regards,
Jim

Jim ,thank you for your detailed explanation!
Best Kurt
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Old 31st July 2011, 11:06 AM   #22
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I would like to offer these images of the same type of sabre.

Where once these swords were very rarely seen, the last 12 months alone has seen 4 that I know of on the market.

The suspension fitting on this example is similar to another seen and may also offer some insight to the origins.
All 4 examples I viewed had the single upper suspension mount only, 2 like this, 2 like Kurts.

I feel they could be from the Oman Persian Gulf regions.

Gav
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Last edited by freebooter : 31st July 2011 at 12:58 PM.
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