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Old 6th January 2017, 11:29 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Jerusalem
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Default Sharing a Majdali and a Kukri Question

Hello all,
I am collector of daggers from the Levant. I was looking for a good quality Majdali dagger (from the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan). I already had 3, but none is of the best quality. With a tight budget, I was lucky to find a very nice one for a reasonable price. It is of the rounded grip-fullered blade type- a type that appeared later than the flat grip-heavy, inscribed blade type, so probably not older than 1920, but it is still a nice example with Ottoman/Syrian type scabbard and it is relatively well preserved, despite being carried and used. It is signed "'Amal Iskandar" (made by Iskandar), probably the work of a Christian maker. I have seen about 10 others of this maker, 3 of which were signed. One of them was discussed on the forum: . They are all of good quality and have a well forged and sharp blade.

In the same lot, I got a Kukri. It is reasonably well made, but basic piece and probably not very old. The blade is very heavy and has concave sides. A similar example has been discussed in a recent thread (, but opinions varied greatly. The grip is made of horn, not wood. So, is this a military issue? Has it been made in India or in Nepal (it is probably not British because it has no rivets)? How old/young is it? It falls outside my area, so I know very little about Kukris. I gave it to my youngest of 15 as his first piece, but I would still like to know what it is.
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Old 7th January 2017, 03:30 PM   #2
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Your jambiya is very nice, one of the nicest examples of this type I have seen!

The kukri is very recent, but not a tourist piece. I agree with you - probably made in India.
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Old 7th January 2017, 04:50 PM   #3
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Very nice Janbyia! Congratulations!

As with regards to the Kukri, I don't see anything that can locate it unambiguously eiher to India or Nepal. So I believe it can be either one but I tend to lean towards Nepal as I have seen some very similar examples made there.

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 7th January 2017 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 8th January 2017, 07:50 AM   #4
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Default Thanks

Battara and Maiusgmioc, thank you for your response. Always nice to read good think about things you bought. I am not dissapointed of the Kukri, because that is what I expected, and besides, it was a "bycatch".
As for the Majdali, I have come to know a bit about these daggers. I am not an expert myself, but I have good sources, especially my good friend Mahmoud who is a devoted collector of these daggers and has about 50 of them, many of which are excellent and early examples. There are few others too in my country and some are reported to own over 200! of them. I hope one day to publish a review of their rather complex history in this forum. However, at the moment, there are too many gaps and unanswered questions.
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Old 8th January 2017, 11:58 AM   #5
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Default To G. Manfield/Geoff

Hi, thanks for sharing your Majdalis with us. Indeed, the third one from the left is the oldest and most beatiful. The fourth from left is also a very good one. Both share style elements with each other and with mine and could well have been made in the same workshop. However, by the 1940's, less attention was given to the blade and more to the ornamental value. The blade of the first one is hard to evalute because it has been re-sharpened very often, but it is better than in the newer one where the fullers are not forged and are rather crudely executed like in many Lebanese and Syrian daggers of this period. Is the date written in Gregorian of Hijri calendar? If you will send me clear pictures of the inscriptions, I will ask my friend to translate them for you.
The second from left is a type produced en masse in 1950's and 60's by a certain workshop with progressively lower quality. I also own one of this type (see pictures). The scabbard is a later and ugly replacement, but the dagger has one special feature: the grip is decorated on both sides. Notice the similarity between the reverse side in mine and your dagger.
As for the forth, according to my information, this type is made in Syria for the Jordanian tourist market. There is a similar one currently on sale that has BATRA (Petra in Arabic) written on the blade. Majdali type daggers are currently made in Syria (several locations including Damascus), Southern Lebanon and even Iraq!
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Old 12th January 2017, 07:12 PM   #6
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Default Additional remarks

Hello Geoff, I let my friend read the inscription on the blade (only the visible side). It says "shughul Majdal", meaning "work of Majdal" or in normal English "made in Majdal". This refutes the suggestion raised in an older thread ( that the type with rounded, intricately decorated hilt and blade with grooves is made Damascus, not Majdal Shams. This type has been imitated by other production centers, like Damascus and this is probably what caused the confusion. I missed the date at first, but I see it in the pommel now (unususal place for inscription). 1944 is a good date for these daggers, as the majority of them were made later.

The older type has flatter hilt and heavy blade, the oldest dating to the end of the 19th c. Some members of the forum, in particular DaveA, own excellent and early examples of this type.
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Old 7th January 2017, 05:57 PM   #7
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Default majdali

Beautiful majdali you have there with great quality and little to no losses. Although reasonably common, the older one's are harder to find without the losses of inlays, cracks, or insect damage to the horn.

Here are a few that I have gathered within the past few years. The left is actually from Jordan and a newer tourist piece but still relevant in shape and design. The next to right has "Lathaniel" etched into the back side of the sheath. The third from left (without sheath) is presumably the oldest and the closest example to yours. And the piece on the right with the leather throat sheath is dated 1944 Arabic with an untranslated maker. Glad to see some other examples and variations, especially the ottoman influenced sheath.

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Old 15th January 2017, 10:08 AM   #8
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Default Majdali Daggers

Nice dagger my friend
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