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Old 29th February 2012, 02:04 AM   #1
Michael Blalock
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Default You may know them as Omani Saifs but they will always be Kattara to me

I recently got this Omani Saif with the saber blade. It looks very handsome next to it's cousin, an Omani straight blade with the same beautiful silver wire grip which I have had for a while.
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Old 29th February 2012, 02:05 AM   #2
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Old 29th February 2012, 05:37 AM   #3
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Green with envy Michael. My vote is also Kattara.
Stu
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Old 29th February 2012, 05:58 AM   #4
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Salaams Michael Blalock~


Quote "You may know them as Omani Saifs but they will always be Kattara to me

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I recently got this Omani Saif with the saber blade. It looks very handsome next to it's cousin, an Omani straight blade with the same beautiful silver wire grip which I have had for a while.
"Unquote



The Straight is a Sayf and the Curved is a Kattara.
Reference A. Forum Thread; Kattara for Comments.
Reference B. Richardson and Dorr(for The Oman Heritage Documentation Project) Craft Heritage of Oman. page 454 /455 etc.
Reference C. The Omani National Museum Muscat.


Naturally, if you have become stuck upon the wording there is not much I can do... but they are different. Does it matter?... I think it does. We seek out the proper names no?

Omani straight dancing Sayf are flexible through about 90 degrees of bend... does yours flex through that and return to straight immediately, or not?

Your Omani Straight Sayf looks like a Red Sea variant in that it may not be the flexible weapon required for dancing. I mention weapon loosely... since technically straight Omani Sayf dancing swords are not weapons. This should not be taken as an insult... since your sword could well be a weapon derived from the Saudia variant originating from the Ottoman copied from the Mamluke who in turn took the design on from the Abbasid and they from the Greek.

Your straight Sayf sword could be the origin of species (Im talking about the blade here) of the straight Omani Sayf dancing sword which appeared in Oman in about the mid to late 18th C.

The Long Omani Hilt may originate in the sword style shown (I think in your own pictures) from Saudia/Yemen and on the main thread Kattara for Comment(another mistakenly worded thread though at the time the entire world was in some confusion about the right name) The Long Hilt is favoured on both Straight Omani Sayf dancing swords and on Curved Omani Kattara.(Shamshir style exempt for now)

Many straight and curved Red Sea variants have been refitted in Muscat, Ras al Khaimah, Salalah, and Nizwa etc with long hilts including Ethiopian (European blades) and Saudia and Yemeni blades simply by extending the tang and adding a pommel... then tuning up the combination with Omani scabbards~ I think yours is one of these.

By definition all Curved Omani Kattara are hybrids since they usually have a European blade ( except in the style sometimes called Shamshir in Persian terms) and these Curved Omani Kattara have extended tangs and added pommels (usually). The curved Kattara you show falls into that category.

What we are left with is that Oman has one original sword unique to itself and originating in circa 751AD as the Old Omani Battle Sword (Sayf al Yamaani) and from a design of Abbasid weapon to which I have compared it in 11 separate categories.

It can be said that in the same way that curved blades have been incorporated into Omani tradition that straight swords from other regions have also been absorbed.. While that may be true it is incumbent upon us to qualify as closely as we can where interlopers(or cousins) exist as certainly this makes the whole business more fascinating.

The rest as they say is history.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 29th February 2012 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 29th February 2012, 06:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Green with envy Michael. My vote is also Kattara.
Stu

Salaams Khanjar 1... I would have thought you would be in favour of having the right Omani nomenclature for Omani Swords... not the wrong one.
Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 29th February 2012, 12:43 PM   #6
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Ibrahiim, I am all for using the correct nomenclature, hence the title of my post which was meant to be a humorous play on a line from the American television show Seinfeld. A character, Peterman, says "You may know it as Myanmar but it will always be Burma to me" I thought it would be a funny twist on the concept of western romanticism of the east. Maybe there are not a lot of Seinfeld fans out there who would have seen the connection.
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Old 29th February 2012, 03:58 PM   #7
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No soup for you !
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Old 29th February 2012, 04:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Blalock
Ibrahiim, I am all for using the correct nomenclature, hence the title of my post which was meant to be a humorous play on a line from the American television show Seinfeld. A character, Peterman, says "You may know it as Myanmar but it will always be Burma to me" I thought it would be a funny twist on the concept of western romanticism of the east. Maybe there are not a lot of Seinfeld fans out there who would have seen the connection.



Salaams Michael Blalock ... Sorry I missed the pun... Seinfeld? ha! What happenend to the input you were going to have a look at on the Algerian gun mark at Kattara for comments? It would be most helpful please and would tidy that detail up. I like the use of the word cousin in sword terminology thanks for that ..
Of course you also need to observe that your pictures of swords in Saudia and Yemen (souk and museum) shots were very inspiring in the research and outcome (so far) of this fascinating subject.
I think we are all generally on the same page on this though there is still much work to do and there will always be those out there who need to be convinced that bananas are curved and carrots are straight even though the odd exceptional blue or spotty variant with the contrary bend appears; they are generally, like the sword, considered curiosities or as we say Hybrids.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 29th February 2012, 04:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams Khanjar 1... I would have thought you would be in favour of having the right Omani nomenclature for Omani Swords... not the wrong one.
Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

............ and the fish bit hard! Its like calling those long daggers from Western KSA "wahabite" when in fact they have a proper name. I think you have convinced us that the straight sword is called Sayf/Saif and the curved one Kattara.
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Old 29th February 2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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Congratulations Michael, very nice kattara complete with original scabbard (even though the scabbard is not in great shape). The blade truly is a saber blade. Mine has what looks like a shashka blade:

http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthrea...ghlight=kattara

Interesting to see that apart from the influx of Caucasian blades, there was also trade with Europe well into the 19th century.

Regards,
Teodor
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Old 1st March 2012, 02:36 PM   #11
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Salaams all ~ The design on tehe scabbards is interesting and follows a design also seem in Omani Architectural windows decoration. Swirl design goes way back in history and it is evident that it has passed through older sword scabbard design onto the straight SAYF dancing blades and curved Kattara. For the "Full Monty" on Omani swords readers are invited to view Kattara for comments where the academic discussion is fully aired.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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