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Old 8th November 2014, 01:22 PM   #61
spiral
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I concur these occur from Malawi, & perhaps were made there under either British or Indian supervision.

There are many others of related style, but lesser quality, Ive just found on a English dealers for sale website.

Obviously I cant link to or post them here, due to forum rules.

But if anyone would like the photos of several others including some possibly of more primitive style, Then just send me an email at spiraltwista@aol.com & Ill forward the photos. {Put Yao in the email title, so they don't go to spam..}

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Old 8th November 2014, 09:24 PM   #62
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I'm in agreement with Spiral's original thoughts here. I once saw a similar knife described in an auction catalogue as Swahili Arab, unfortunately, with no further detail. But this could explain a lot.
The "unafricanness", because of the Arab\Persian\Indian influence on the Swahili, indeed the presence of Arabs etc. on the East African coast.
The presence in Malawi, because of the trading links the Swahili had with the interior. Indeed places such as Tabora in Tanzania are described as originally "Arab" settlements, by which is meant coastal Swahili and followers. Any knife made there would be unlikely to follow the local African tradition. They do not even have to be trade items. Reading early journals of exploration in East and Central Africa one is struck by the incessant giving of presents ("hongo") necessary to get anywhere or anything done. Such a present could, and did, take the form of personal possessions and weaponry, if that is what the local chieftain desired.
The threads on Omani daggers have concluded, perhaps not with 100 o/o certainty, that many daggers collected in and attributed to Oman are in fact Saudi Arabian, which illustrates the danger of conflating the place of collection with the place of origin.
I would also like to mention the well known, but also slightly mysterious "Zanzibar" nimcha. This also doesn't seem to bear any relationship to any other sub-saharan African weapon, and although photo's can be found of Swahili Arabs with these or similar nimchas no one seems to know where they were actually made.
These knives and the Zanzibar nimcha are not common, but neither could you call them rare, thus I surmise they are a "type" rather than an individual manufacture. I would suggest a Swahili origin, being African but with very significant Asian influences would fit the bill.
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Old 9th November 2014, 02:28 PM   #63
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Certainly possible Richard, .....

More evidence required!

Any listed in pre.ww2 sales catalogue's anyone?

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Old 9th November 2014, 03:50 PM   #64
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This one was offered by ebay but wasn't sold. Remarkable is that the handle material seems to be from hippo ivory. Pictures from the seller.
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Old 9th November 2014, 04:31 PM   #65
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Good find Sajen.

This is a link to some Ivory jewellery from Malawi attributed to the Zomba region which was settled by the Yao. The decoration is very similar to the weapon you show and identical to the designs on my knives.

linky

This picture is of Hugh Stannus Stannus one of the key donors to the BM that helps with the placement of these knives. Hugh Stannus Stannus 1877-1957 was medical officer to the King's African Rifles from 1905-1914 whilst they were based in British Central Africa (Malawi). He also published a written work on the Wa-Yao people in 1922 and was a well recognised expert in African study.

There is a more detailed description of Stannus and his work here linky
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Old 9th November 2014, 05:59 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
This one was offered by ebay but wasn't sold. Remarkable is that the handle material seems to be from hippo ivory. Pictures from the seller.


I had been watching this on too Detlef, and was just about to post the images myself, you beat me to it. I too noticed the Hippopotamus ivory. The scabbard construction, while by no means necessarily original, seems to me to be very African in style and finish.

Both the Hippopotamus ivory and scabbard tend to support an African origin as discussed above. I have wanted one of these, but like others had believed Burma/Assam to be the origin. My opinion is now starting to change - but I still want one.
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Old 9th November 2014, 06:14 PM   #67
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Great stuff Sajen & indeed Jampot... well spotted!

Its obviously the same chap who brought this one back.

http://www.britishmuseum.org/collec...l.jpg?width=304

So I think the Yao/ Malawi finding of these is above reproach myself.

Just who made/sold them, is the last bit of the puzzle.

I still think the African trading Company could be plausible! But so could other Indian or British entrepreneurs, The to me seem a bit late in dating for them to be from Arab slave trade, but in truth I guess that carried on a for a long time, just as slavery still does today...

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Old 9th November 2014, 09:11 PM   #68
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Yes, indeed, it seems that we all have been wrong with our believe of Asian origin for this daggers.
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Old 9th November 2014, 10:51 PM   #69
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GOLD STAR Jampot! Great detective work.

Quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
African gets my vote, I have seen this confirmed but I can't recall...Algeria?

Gav



I'll settle for a silver star

Thor might have saved us all the trouble some time back as looking back each and every one looks hippo now that Sajen ponted this out....
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Old 10th November 2014, 08:34 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
GOLD STAR Jampot! Great detective work.

Quote:




Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
African gets my vote, I have seen this confirmed but I can't recall...Algeria?



I'll settle for a silver star


Bronze star I think Gav. Algeria as far away as India from Malawi I reckon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Thor might have saved us all the trouble some time back as looking back each and every one looks hippo now that Sajen ponted this out....


Damn... hippo pegs! Wonder what the horn ones are?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
They were just discussed on a Russian forum Guns.ru

I thought they were SE Asian, but to my chagrin learned they were from West Africa, Yao tribe, Malawi. Apparently concentric circles are a dead giveaway.



Another Gold star for Ariel I think though...



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Old 10th November 2014, 12:16 PM   #71
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Thanks, but the Gold goes to my Russian colleagues who identified it. I was just a messenger.
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Old 10th November 2014, 12:58 PM   #72
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The good old Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford) never disappoints.
Regards
Richard
http://databases.prm.ox.ac.uk/fmi/i...ine&-loadframes
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Old 10th November 2014, 04:09 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
I'm in agreement with Spiral's original thoughts here. I once saw a similar knife described in an auction catalogue as Swahili Arab, unfortunately, with no further detail. But this could explain a lot.
The "unafricanness", because of the Arab\Persian\Indian influence on the Swahili, indeed the presence of Arabs etc. on the East African coast.
The presence in Malawi, because of the trading links the Swahili had with the interior. Indeed places such as Tabora in Tanzania are described as originally "Arab" settlements, by which is meant coastal Swahili and followers. Any knife made there would be unlikely to follow the local African tradition. They do not even have to be trade items. Reading early journals of exploration in East and Central Africa one is struck by the incessant giving of presents ("hongo") necessary to get anywhere or anything done. Such a present could, and did, take the form of personal possessions and weaponry, if that is what the local chieftain desired.
The threads on Omani daggers have concluded, perhaps not with 100 o/o certainty, that many daggers collected in and attributed to Oman are in fact Saudi Arabian, which illustrates the danger of conflating the place of collection with the place of origin.
I would also like to mention the well known, but also slightly mysterious "Zanzibar" nimcha. This also doesn't seem to bear any relationship to any other sub-saharan African weapon, and although photo's can be found of Swahili Arabs with these or similar nimchas no one seems to know where they were actually made.
These knives and the Zanzibar nimcha are not common, but neither could you call them rare, thus I surmise they are a "type" rather than an individual manufacture. I would suggest a Swahili origin, being African but with very significant Asian influences would fit the bill.
Regards
Richard


Salaams Richard G.... In what capacity do you assume Omani Daggers originate in the Saudia Region? ... Did you look at my extensive thread Omani Khanjars? I cant recall mentioning any such thing. In fact it isn't true. They don't. What there is on research indicates that the Royal Khanjar and the Muscat Khanjar did a certain amount of migrating to Saudia in one case stepping stone to Saudia via the Yemen and in another probably linked via the big trade and slaver caravan camel trains to the eastern region of what is now KSA from Buraimi Oman. So far as I am aware ... no reverse influence occurred. The swords and Daggers are totally different suggesting that they developed independently in Oman centuries ago(in fact in both countries independant of each other and quite unrelated except in the 2 cases I have noted). However if you can suggest a link I would be delighted to investigate it.
I would imagine that the Nimcha you speak of from Zanzibar is well enough researched to point to manufacture and style variation related to other Nimchas as illustrated in Butin..in Forum Library. I think it unwise to rely upon photographs as you will find ...there aren't that many... something typically found in research in the Arab regions generally. Going beyond photos we rely on sketches ...but then when they run dry it is often traditional, passed down word of mouth which is almost impossible to prove ...and which has been totally ignored by all of the old explorers into the region..That then is the dilemma we run against in deep research here...
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 10th November 2014, 04:47 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Thor might have saved us all the trouble some time back as looking back each and every one looks hippo now that Sajen ponted this out....


I don't think that the hippo ivory is a good proof for the African origin, you can find this material in Malaysia, Indonesia or also the Philippines.
But the necklace Jampot have shown by link is a good one which was conclusive IMO.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 10th November 2014, 04:53 PM   #75
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SAW - Many thanks for Gold Star, will bear it proudly !

Richard G - River Pitts museum great resource, just been through Malawi exhibits and plenty more supporting evidence.

Spiral - reference the horn one could you have a look at this and tell me what you think. Not sure if they would have used this material for a knife grip but looks very similar in colour and density? Also contains same sort of pigmented decoration.



link
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Old 10th November 2014, 06:48 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
The good old Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford) never disappoints.
Regards
Richard
http://databases.prm.ox.ac.uk/fmi/i...ine&-loadframes


Thanks Richard, sadly my pc seems not to work with there database... what software is required to show there data. files?

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Old 10th November 2014, 07:29 PM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Thanks, but the Gold goes to my Russian colleagues who identified it. I was just a messenger.


Much research in the classroom is just finding a source. You've still got a gold star. despite you being a member of the usually English Self depreciating society.

But yes your Russian colleagues certainly deserve a gold star as well!

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Old 10th November 2014, 07:56 PM   #78
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Spiral,
I don't think I have any special software, but in my setup, Windows Vista and Google Chrome, you do have to untick the pop up blocker in Google Chrome if you want to see the individual item. I had no trouble doing the search and getting to the list I hope you could see. For reasons beyond my savvy, I noticed some pictures appeared in the "pop up" which were not on the original search results'
Hope this helps.
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Old 10th November 2014, 08:03 PM   #79
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Ahh Many thanks Richard, Im on windows 8.1 but was using explorer. Ill give chrome a try on it.

spiral

ps.. great chrome works with it indeed!

A lovely example!

Acquired in Malawi 3 September 1893. bought at auction 1901..

Interestingly the steel is clearly more primitive at this date...


I rather suspect the Scots Run African company , had these made on locally, with British/Indian overseers... { Based on no evidence whatsoever though... }

spiral
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Old 10th November 2014, 08:51 PM   #80
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Ibrahim,
I fear I have not explained my thoughts clearly. What I meant is that certain jambiyas/khunjars that appear in reference books and whose attributed origin many of us accepted as fact turns out out be doubtful, at best.

For example the Ruth Hawley dagger, attributed to Oman and probably the Sharqiyah in particular.
Why?, almost certainly because it was collected there.
Now we think it is probably Saudi Arabian.
Why?, because it has the characteristics of a Saudi Arabian dagger.
Explanation. A Saudi Arabian type of jambiya made in Oman? or a Saudi Arabian jambiya that has found its way into the Oman?
If it was made in Oman it is an Omani dagger, if it was made in Saudi Arabia and collected in Oman it still remains a Saudi Arabian dagger. Do we know which it is?

My point as regards these Malawi daggers was that just because they were collected in Malawi does not necessarily mean they were made in Malawi.
I now accept that the available evidence strongly suggests they were made in Malawi, but I still think they are not typically sub-saharan African, and it would be interesting to know why.
Regards
Richard

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Old 10th November 2014, 09:16 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
in Malawi, but I still think they are not typically sub-saharan African, and it would be interesting to know why.
Regards
Richard


I agree there definably not tribal pieces...

I suspect the African company as majors traders & dealers of store goods 7 ivory may be the culprits...

But without evidence other Brit. Indian or Arab entrepreneurs could be involved.

Although hippo ivory was sold internationally , I suspect the use of small peg teeth implies local manufacture, despite the European trade knife tang & western Himalayan region type bolster... Which probably just ids the origin of the men who ran the business or businesses that had these made in Malawi...

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Old 11th November 2014, 12:10 AM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
I don't think that the hippo ivory is a good proof for the African origin, you can find this material in Malaysia, Indonesia or also the Philippines.
But the necklace Jampot have shown by link is a good one which was conclusive IMO.

Regards,
Detlef


Indeed Detlef, I covered off ivory trade in an earlier post and how easily this point can be refuted but these other regions you note do not manufacture to these designs.
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Old 12th November 2014, 06:06 AM   #83
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[
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
Ibrahim,
I fear I have not explained my thoughts clearly. What I meant is that certain jambiyas/khunjars that appear in reference books and whose attributed origin many of us accepted as fact turns out out be doubtful, at best.

For example the Ruth Hawley dagger, attributed to Oman and probably the Sharqiyah in particular.
Why?, almost certainly because it was collected there.
Now we think it is probably Saudi Arabian.
Why?, because it has the characteristics of a Saudi Arabian dagger.
Explanation. A Saudi Arabian type of jambiya made in Oman? or a Saudi Arabian jambiya that has found its way into the Oman?
If it was made in Oman it is an Omani dagger, if it was made in Saudi Arabia and collected in Oman it still remains a Saudi Arabian dagger. Do we know which it is?

My point as regards these Malawi daggers was that just because they were collected in Malawi does not necessarily mean they were made in Malawi.
I now accept that the available evidence strongly suggests they were made in Malawi, but I still think they are not typically sub-saharan African, and it would be interesting to know why.
Regards
Richard



Salaams Richard G; With apologies for interjecting some detail not related to the current thread topic..which I find quite interesting by the way... The little pamphlet by Ruth Hawley set the benchmark for research on all things Omani Silver. The historical content is excellent but as you point out and we now know... that wayward item... in fact a Yemeni weapon from the Asir now an area included in the country of KSA but a style clearly linked to the Omani Royal Khanjar through trade. The Thread on Omani Khanjars refers.

So convincing was this Asir weapon style that for years even www.omanisilver.com was fooled into thinking that these were Omani. There is, however, no link in reverse except in the case of a dagger seen in Yemen and almost identical to the Omani Salalah item but that is not in this equation... I can safely state that no such migration of style is apparent in any Saudi style directly upon the weaponry of Oman.. It didn't happen. The only far and distant blade movement across the entire region is in a deep study concerning ancient swords that probably originated in Hadramaut possibly in the 7th Century AD and which were derivatives of the religious weapon at the beginning of Islam... but that is so far in the past and convoluted as to be beyond this conversation...

Regarding book publications on the subject of Omani Khanjars; There aren't any I could suggest as being anywhere near accurate though some detail is correctly recorded in the work by Richardson and Dorr but it is by no means a complete picture...and the reason is that Oman only emerged onto the modern world stage only in 1970. Research as discovered by Ruth Hawley in her otherwise brilliant little book was done without a safety net and virtually with no proper in country museum or historical documentation to hand at that time. Whilst the more recent Richardson and Dorr is more informative it is still only broad brush in detail thus a comprehensive study is still required.

Your first paragraph is indeed true.. How many times have we seen weapons illustrated by famous explorers and ethnographic specialists with otherwise quite impeccable records turn out to be not factual... One that springs to mind is the S'boula said by the respected historian Burton to have been "of Zanzibar"....when it was nothing of the sort !... but of course in those days how much more difficult it was to travel to dangerous places...and to get out alive was not easy.

But therein lies the conundrum...does it not? That Forum is there to research and penetrate those dark corners/ shine a light and debate the myths and legends and sort out the truth..Is it not every Forumites mission in life to dig up the facts...expose the mistakes and discover new angles on this fascinating detective story...and even along the way to learn a little of the history...and possibly share it with others and the Library...and if the anvil gets a little bit heated in the process ...so what? Is that not what a Forum should do? (5 quid to the first moronic reply ...)

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 12th November 2014, 06:28 AM   #84
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What a lot of fun! really good.
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Old 13th November 2014, 09:49 AM   #85
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Good Morning or maybe evening for some !

Now it looks like we're thinking the ivory handles are Hippo - I have to say looking at these in the flesh they are much whiter and smoother to touch than previous Ivory I've seen.

My next task is trying to pin down what the handle on the larger knife might be. The original pictures were poor and taken indoors under artificial light. These ones are outside, natural light only and hopefully much clearer. There seems to be a kind of yellow - orange colour alongside the darker features of the handle.

The white speck in one of the pictures is paint - shame but I did find these in an old tool box so can't complain.

Would anyone be willing to give an opinion on material ?
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Old 13th November 2014, 12:51 PM   #86
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An interesting material.

It could be bovine looking at the texture and the filled crack.

Equally it could be the antler of one of the many types found, all ground and polish in to its current form.

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