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Old 16th February 2013, 01:06 PM   #1
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Default The Omani Shamshiir.

Salaams All. Perhaps the most Iconic of all Omani Swords is the famous curved weapon often highly adorned in silver and gold thus only worn by high office and particularly by the Rulers of Oman and Zanzibar. Oddly it is not called a Shamshiir in Oman but either referred to as a Sayf or a Kattara. Neither names do it justice, however, it is the international collectors term that I believe correctly addresses this weapon. It is indeed a weapon being nearly always of wootz and produced by the finest swordsmiths in the world. Inevitably the grand masters in Persia or Hyderabad were involved in making these swords but it is upon the waists of Omani dignatories that we focus here... The Omani Shamshiir.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 16th February 2013, 01:54 PM   #2
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Salaams All ~Turning to the history books in this case the Richardson and Dorr ~The Craft Herritage Project publication.
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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 16th February 2013, 03:13 PM   #3
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What is so specifically Omani in these swords? They look to me like classical Persian, with the Badawi or Indian-style pleated wire covering the langet. And a lot of bling-bling that is likely not ethnic, but status-related:-)
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Old 16th February 2013, 04:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
What is so specifically Omani in these swords? They look to me like classical Persian, with the Badawi or Indian-style pleated wire covering the langet. And a lot of bling-bling that is likely not ethnic, but status-related:-)



Salaams Ariel. Well the point is accepted except~ So far as I can see the blades are Persian/Hyderabadi and much of the Hilt. After that I can see hand tooled Omani leather and Omani silver/ gold design which you call bling-bling... but which is old Omani design...thus it is ethnic.

I think we are all aware how swords from one region overlap and play into the styles and form of another. Indeed weapon form flowed too and fro depending on which military power base was the strongest. One could also argue that the Shamshiir isn't Persian but originally from Damascus. Further that the Omani Battle Sword design was taken from The Abasiid and that the Omani Dancing Sayf was absorbed from the Red Sea and that the curved Omani Kattara is a long hilt on a European Trade Blade..Thus the Persian Shamshiir influence on this Regal sword is hardly surprising.

One thing is certain... The Omani (and in the past Zanzibari) ruling families have adopted this weapon mainly as a show of Regal authority as a supreme badge of office. As you say "status related" but certainly absorbed into the style; The Omani Shamshiir.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 16th February 2013 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 16th February 2013, 04:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
What is so specifically Omani in these swords? They look to me like classical Persian, with the Badawi or Indian-style pleated wire covering the langet. And a lot of bling-bling that is likely not ethnic, but status-related:-)


The most definitive Omani features in these shamshirs is in the decoration. The floral decoration can be found at the throats of Omani khanjars. This can be seen on the chapes and lockets of the shamshirs. The leather on the scabbard is usually stitched in a distinctive Omani style seen on kattaras.

The wire wrap has a twist to it which can only be found in Omani style shamshirs.

They can be found with European blades.
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Old 17th February 2013, 12:34 AM   #6
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Can you show a close-up of the decorative motif?
Also, how does the knot differ from other ( Badawi, Hyderabadi) ones?

The bottom line, I'd like to see better pics and have a bit more explanation.
Thanks, Ibrahim and Lotfi!


And, BTW, the idea of shamshir likely came to Iran from the Arabs who, in turn, got it from the Khazars during 2 centuries of trying to break their defences and invade Europe from the east. Charles Martel and Khazars preserved Europe as we know it.
But weapons were, indeed, widely appropriated and many had only decorative elements to distinguish them from their origins.
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Old 17th February 2013, 09:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Can you show a close-up of the decorative motif?
Also, how does the knot differ from other ( Badawi, Hyderabadi) ones?

The bottom line, I'd like to see better pics and have a bit more explanation.
Thanks, Ibrahim and Lotfi!


And, BTW, the idea of shamshir likely came to Iran from the Arabs who, in turn, got it from the Khazars during 2 centuries of trying to break their defences and invade Europe from the east. Charles Martel and Khazars preserved Europe as we know it.
But weapons were, indeed, widely appropriated and many had only decorative elements to distinguish them from their origins.




Salaams Ariel ~Ya Thats what I'm doing and why I opened the thread. At #2 is about as close up as I've got which shows the Omani style in tooling on the leather and typical scroll work in the silver and gold. I'm in the Museum next month so I will continue to pour in the detail.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 17th February 2013, 11:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
*snip*
But weapons were, indeed, widely appropriated and many had only decorative elements to distinguish them from their origins.


Just so.
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