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Old 13th August 2017, 11:47 AM   #1
kronckew
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Default Bedouin Sabre

just won an auction for this 'indopersian sabre'.

i suspect it is however a bedouin sabre with a guardless 'ersatz shashka' style hilt. , 30 in. blade, may have some markings i'll post later.

anyway, the sabre: will give better details on arrival.
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Old 14th August 2017, 10:25 AM   #2
colin henshaw
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Not really my area, but it looks an honest old piece, with an interesting tribal look to it.
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Old 14th August 2017, 11:36 AM   #3
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The blade looks like a 19th ct. Arabian Saif, possibly from Yemen.

Roland
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Old 14th August 2017, 01:49 PM   #4
Kubur
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These swords are always listed as bedouin swords from Sinai.
I guess they can be from Palestine too and maybe Hejaz...
You probably noticed that the upper part of the scabbard was restored.
I would like to see the engravings on the upper part of the blade...
Thanks

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Old 14th August 2017, 03:51 PM   #5
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yes, the seam above the wrinkled or wrapped bit is different, like it's had that part recovered. hard to tell detail from the overall pics. will take a few more closeups when it gets here. there is another 'wrinkled' area at the chape too.

would the scabbard have rings for carry on a baldric, or would they be carried under a sash, or would a baldric be tied on?
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Old 14th August 2017, 05:15 PM   #6
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Baldric? I doubt if there is a proper Baldric in the entire Bedouin region. However an old camel head-rope fashioned to sling the sword around the neck, yes. Bedouin being very practical would use any bit of rope or piece of weaving to put together a "Baldric" or if no Baldric was available the weapon would be stuffed under the saddle or somewhere handy ...or under a make shift belt or sash arrangement... not exactly like the ones below but quite similar...and very random. Any old bit of string, leather belt or rope would do.
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Old 14th August 2017, 05:39 PM   #7
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a rope by any other name would smell as sweet. as the south east asian region uses a bit of old rope as a baldric, who are we to disparage the bedu for doing the same. it may not be fancy, but a hunk of old rope tied on is still a baldric. i have a nice round and tassled leather belt i can tie to it.

(thanks for the illustrations, ibrahim)

there are many forms of baldric:

this is a baldric too; (no, NOT the turnip top)
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Old 14th August 2017, 06:37 PM   #8
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By looking more closely at your sword, I can tell you more now.
You can see that the original leather was against or blocked by something at the top of your scabbard.
And obviously the new leather replaced a metal part, most probably like the scabbard tip.
Now I guess that the suspension loops were attached to this metal part now disapeared.

Best,
Kubur
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Old 14th August 2017, 07:34 PM   #9
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as a beduin would, i shall improvise. non-permanently of course. as my days of roaming the eastern rhub al khali and up to safaniyah are long gone, i do not need it to be 100% operational aboard a ship of the desert. (we all used chevy blazers anyway, the bedu tended to use toyota pickups, sometimes you see them with a camel in the truck bed - we called them 'life boats' ))
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Old 15th August 2017, 04:27 PM   #10
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LOL, Wayne I think the guy in #7 has a piece of spinach in his teeth!
I agree with Ibrahiim, it does seem that Bedouin in most regions inherently use whatever means opportune to secure or carry their weapons. I don't think there are any specific standards or guidelines for such circumstances.

Kubur seems on track with the area of the scabbard which may have had some sort of suspension ring element as it would seem this rather ornate refurbishing with filigree decoration would correspond to that.

The basic hilt shape is what seems to have been generally held as either a favored Sinai or Palestinian classified form, but it would be hard to say, especially in more recent times where the boundaries and traditional forms have so diffused.

The guardless hilt, like many forms of such character seems to approximate the shashka in concept, but like Bukharen sabres and others, are not related to that group of weapons. The closest element to them would be the Caucasian and European blades which often circulated for generations in the Arab spheres.

Unusual to see this kind of filigree decoration on Bedouin pieces as far as I recall in discussions here. Possibly suggests more Arabian regions from Hejaz, Yemen, Oman?
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Old 15th August 2017, 05:55 PM   #11
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i managed to get an expanded version of a section of the blade from a higher resolution photo. there does appear to be some worn engraving or etching evident in the fullering area, but the yellow metal band at the front of the handle, and by inference, the similar chape looks more like it was 'decorated' with pointillist impressions from a nail point . could all be some open filigree tho, it's a bit blurry. will know more after arrival. (hopefully it will be)

p.s. - no.7: Blackadder's personal assistant, Baldrick, can't afford spinach. he can't afford a surname either. he does however grow turnips. usually in the dirt accumulated behind his ears and in other crevasses best not mentioned. he does however, have a cunning plan. for those from outside the UK, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzHn2H2V8N4 for more information.

p.p.s. : one of the eight royal ravens who live permanently at the tower of london is named Baldrick.
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Old 16th August 2017, 03:27 AM   #12
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Artzi Yarom once mentioned that he had seen similar sabres with Kilij blades.
I am not so lucky: two of mine carry European regulation blades and another one sports a local Arabian one.

We call them "Sinai/Negev", but let's not forget that they are first and foremost Beduin who did not give a hoot about geography in general and borders in particular. The only thing that cared about was (and still is) enough food and water for their camels and beloved black goats. Thus, I would not be surprised to find them all over the area, from Suez to Damascus and from the Mediterranean to the eastern border of Jordan and beyond.

The pattern of these sabers is a classic example of a purely ergonomical and cheaply-produced weapons with a parallel development in similarly poor and warlike societies.

Check ritual swords from Kairuan, Sardinian Leppa and sabers of Balkan Kraishniks. No guards, identical handles. Nothing fancy , but comfortable to hold and will do the job .
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Old Yesterday, 08:47 PM   #13
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I collect these, and to my knowledge this form is the southern type, indeed from the Sinai, Negev an up to Jerusalem latitude, more or less. The northern type is fitted with a similar blade (or, whatever blade that came on the way), and has a Syrian shamshir-style hilt.
The preferred blade, however, on that southern type was European-made trade blade, mostly German. Those trade blades are of various qualities, but in general are better than the local imitation blades which are thicker, heavier and not so nice to the eye.
Recent info claims there is still one swordmaker who lives and produces such sabers in Gaza, fitted with grey plastic grips (I've seen shabriyyas with such handles).
In my collection I have Badawi sabers with leather baldrics sewn to the sheath, sabers with similar 'field procedure', one made from Khevsurian sword, one from quadara, one from Turkish-Ottoman military cavalry saber, one from a broken British 1908 saber, one from an unidentified antique European (long)sword ...
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