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Old 13th August 2020, 02:23 PM   #1
Rareis
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Default Koummya (information/opinions)

Hello!

As a knife and blades collector I'm a fan of this forum. Until now I have found all my answers from earlier topics, but recently I have got as a gift one Koummya dagger that I can not read.

The scabbard seems like a fine craftsmanship, but I could not find any silversmiths markings/hallmarks on it. The scabbard is made of thick silver and has no wooden inserts to support the blade, but the blade fits snug and has no rattle.
The blade itself has a bird or butterfly mark on it that I have not seen before.

So specialists if you would, please give me your opinion on this blade - a real deal or a tourists piece?
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Old 13th August 2020, 04:20 PM   #2
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I think this is the 'real deal' intended for local wear and use and not a tourist special. It does not appear to be of the highest order of craftsmanship, but does appear to be respectable handmade work, and maybe is not as old as some we see in these pages. I have not seen that blade mark before.
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Old 13th August 2020, 05:17 PM   #3
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I'd agree with Lee.

Perhaps the craftsmanship of the silver work is not extremely fine, but it makes up for that with bold and handsome design. Guessing mid-20th century.

I wouldn't mind at all having it in my collection.
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Old 13th August 2020, 09:47 PM   #4
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Sorry, I disagree. I for my part think that it's a well made and better koummya worked for collectors (instead for those who travel), mid 20th century would be my guess. The blade is a good one, workmanship of the fittings ok.

Regards,
Detlef

PS: Forget, I don't think that the scabbard is from silver, have you tested it? I guess it's german silver.
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Old 13th August 2020, 09:55 PM   #5
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Could it be an older blade in new mounts ? I thought it was done frequently in North Africa, and the blade does look older than the rest in my opinion.
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Old 13th August 2020, 10:47 PM   #6
Rareis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Sorry, I disagree. I for my part think that it's a well made and better koummya worked for collectors (instead for those who travel), mid 20th century would be my guess. The blade is a good one, workmanship of the fittings ok.

Regards,
Detlef

PS: Forget, I don't think that the scabbard is from silver, have you tested it? I guess it's german silver.


Thank You Detlef for your interesting opinion. I have not tested the scabbard with the right methods, but the scabbard is not magnetic. As I understand German Silver is magnetic metal...The scabbard (from one side) and the attachment rings are quite worn aswell - so if it is a well crafted piece for the collectors, it has been thought of.
The French gentleman who gave it to me as a gift is a genuine world traveller and a fierce collector. From every part of the world he brings back several blades from antique shops and local collectors. He has specialized on Ottoman era mainly, but has dozens of blades from all over the world.
He had 2 koummya from the travels and that is one of them. The other one looked a like, but had several markings on the scabbard (but non on the blade) This one has marking on the blade, but not on the scabbard
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Old 14th August 2020, 06:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rareis
Thank You Detlef for your interesting opinion. I have not tested the scabbard with the right methods, but the scabbard is not magnetic. As I understand German Silver is magnetic metal...The scabbard (from one side) and the attachment rings are quite worn aswell - so if it is a well crafted piece for the collectors, it has been thought of.


Hello Rareis,

German silver isn't magnetic, see here for German silver: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel_silver
Nickel is magnetic but the percentage from around 20% is too low to let become the alloy magnetic.
I am not firm enough with Moroccan culture and until which time koummyas were worn but guess that it would be around the middle of 20th century.
I have a similar worked example like yours and it's for sure not from silver and the colour in your pictures let me doubt that yours could be from silver.
A silver test is cheap, you can order the liquid online. Test it to get sure.
I am far away to be an expert for koummyas but have handled several pieces in my collector time. There are members who are very more knowledgeable, hope they will join in.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 14th August 2020, 06:21 AM   #8
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You may find this interesting: http://vikingsword.com/ethsword/koummya/index.html

And here a very interesting thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=koummya

And koummyas worked for collectors have a very long tradition, see here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=koummya

Last edited by Sajen : 14th August 2020 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 14th August 2020, 08:50 AM   #9
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Here my similar example, it's a little bit later IMHO. Scabbard and fittings clearly not from silver. Sorry for the picture quality, they are fast and just before taken.
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Old 14th August 2020, 09:00 AM   #10
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And here an antique example in brass and silver I've sold some time ago for comparison.
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Old 14th August 2020, 02:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
You may find this interesting: http://vikingsword.com/ethsword/koummya/index.html

And here a very interesting thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=koummya

And koummyas worked for collectors have a very long tradition, see here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=koummya


Thank You Detlef and all the others for a very good 1:1 course on koummya blades. I got many new things to remember for the future.
I'll test the scabbard if it is silver or not aswell, if it's a real thing i'll keep it in my collection.

And if there are somebody who reads this topic and has knowledge of the marking on the blade - please let me know, it would be interesting to know too.

Thank You and until the next topics
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Old 14th August 2020, 02:58 PM   #12
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Definitely a real, quality, Koummiya! A good example!

Now, whether it is silver or nickel-silver/alpaca/German silver is debatable but easy to check.

However it is quite obvious the scabbard and the fittings of the hilt are of the same material and belong together.

Considering just the quality of workmanship, I believe it is silver.

In many cases Moroccan silverware of the period were marked with a ram head or ox head silver marks.
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Old 14th August 2020, 03:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Definitely a real, quality, Koummiya! A good example!


Real yes, quality is mediocre and under a good example I understand something different! But a honest mid. 20th century example IMVHO!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Now, whether it is silver or nickel-silver/alpaca/German silver is debatable but easy to check.


Yes, this will be easy, you can check it by self or can let test it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
However it is quite obvious the scabbard and the fittings of the hilt are of the same material and belong together.


For sure, no doubt!


Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Considering just the quality of workmanship, I believe it is silver.


I am nearly sure that it's no silver, compare the quality with the from me shown example.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 14th August 2020, 04:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rareis
Thank You Detlef and all the others for a very good 1:1 course on koummya blades. I got many new things to remember for the future.
I'll test the scabbard if it is silver or not aswell, if it's a real thing i'll keep it in my collection.


You are welcome! Please can you show a picture from the scabbard mouth? And please let us know if it is silver or German silver!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 14th August 2020, 04:14 PM   #15
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I can surely see the similarities in workmanship between Rareis' example and Sajen's with the orange cord above. I also accept the mid-20th century dating stated by several observers above. As with Sajen's antique example shown above, not all ethnographic examples will have mounts completely of silver. One in Lew's collection had clearly seen use within the culture, but was mounted in brass and nickel silver. (I have regretted not having bought it from his Estate for myself.)

Rareis, you may wish to try polishing your mounts with silver creme. If a rich silvery luster quickly develops with black staining on your cloth, that suggests silver. Less luster, more work or traces of green on the cloth would favor nickel silver.

Of course, with later examples made after widespread tourism to an area you can never be entirely sure of the intended 'destination' of a piece, but I do believe this one is good enough to keep in your collection - at least until you find a better one that strikes your fancy.
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Old 14th August 2020, 04:33 PM   #16
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Hello Detlef,

Why I do believe even more so it is silver?!

OXIDATION!

Please notice that the depressions/crevices in the engraved metal are oxidized black, which is quite typical for silver. Nickel-silver does not oxidize like that (see your example).

PS: Silver is very easy to identify without any effort other than patience. If in a few months it will start developing darker oxidation, then almost certainly is silver. There are also liquid reactives for identifying silver and any jeweler will be able to identify it immediately.

PPS: From the photos, it appears the hanging loops are not the original but replacement ones (different metal and crude fitting).

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 14th August 2020 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 15th August 2020, 10:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
I can surely see the similarities in workmanship between Rareis' example and Sajen's with the orange cord above. I also accept the mid-20th century dating stated by several observers above. As with Sajen's antique example shown above, not all ethnographic examples will have mounts completely of silver. One in Lew's collection had clearly seen use within the culture, but was mounted in brass and nickel silver. (I have regretted not having bought it from his Estate for myself.)


Yes Lee, I agree with you in all parts and like you I think that the example from Lew is a very nice old/antique example. I've added two pictures from it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Rareis, you may wish to try polishing your mounts with silver creme. If a rich silvery luster quickly develops with black staining on your cloth, that suggests silver. Less luster, more work or traces of green on the cloth would favor nickel silver.


I also agree that you see by polishing if you have silver or an other white metal alloy but you need a little bit experience, some white metal alloys develop a similar black staining on the polish cloth. And it can become difficult when you have a low silver alloy. Complete sure you only can get by testing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Of course, with later examples made after widespread tourism to an area you can never be entirely sure of the intended 'destination' of a piece, but I do believe this one is good enough to keep in your collection - at least until you find a better one that strikes your fancy.


Agree again, keep it until a better one cross your way, and you will also have an example to compare!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 15th August 2020, 11:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Hello Detlef,

Why I do believe even more so it is silver?!

OXIDATION!

Please notice that the depressions/crevices in the engraved metal are oxidized black, which is quite typical for silver. Nickel-silver does not oxidize like that (see your example).


Hello Marius,

And why I am so sure that it isn't silver??

Look to a picture from my example taken without flash!

I guess it's nonnatural oxidation, I've seen this by many other white metal scabbards/mounts.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 15th August 2020, 11:21 AM   #19
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PS: Another sign of very recent manufacture is in my eyes the blade, compare the here shown examples.

Here two pictures, one picture taken with and one without flash, from two antique blades and the recent one with orange cord, I think I don't need to tell where the recent one is placed!
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Old 15th August 2020, 01:09 PM   #20
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Hi Detlef,

You seem to be right... but I don't give up until it will be definitely confirmed.

I don't know how it is for you but I find this kind of disagreements very, very interesting and educative!
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Old 15th August 2020, 01:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
You seem to be right... but I don't give up until it will be definitely confirmed.


I think that we agree that the piece in question is rather recent. I personal think that the rather crude workmanship points to German silver. But like you I would like to know what material it is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
I don't know how it is for you but I find this kind disagreements very, very interesting and educative!


Complete agreement Marius! Like you say, educative!
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