Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 20th June 2011, 07:36 PM   #61
Michael Blalock
Member
 
Michael Blalock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: dc
Posts: 266
Default

Here was an odd looking one. It looks like someone cut is short and ran over it with a wire brush. It's a shame; it was interesting with the mysterious three holes.

http://www.tennants.co.uk/Catalogue/Lots/91917.aspx
Attached Images
     
Michael Blalock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2011, 04:25 PM   #62
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Blalock
Here was an odd looking one. It looks like someone cut is short and ran over it with a wire brush. It's a shame; it was interesting with the mysterious three holes.

http://www.tennants.co.uk/Catalogue/Lots/91917.aspx



Salaams... Nice but what a pity! Its half a very rare sword. ( 8thC. AD.)

Ive seen dots on these before(one and three mostly in about the same place as yours though occassionally centre blade) and attribute this to the fact that the sword from which it was copied was the Abbasid which itself had a dot on the blade. Now at the Topkapi this Abbasid can be compared to your Omani Short Battle Sword in 11 categories... The hilt being modified but equally based on two sections; the three rivet holes with the top one thought to be for a wristband. Often the handgrip is tubular or octagonal reflecting perhaps the minarette shape or more exactly the shape of the Abbasid octagonal hilt. Great picture ! Regards Ibrahiim. I have also reffered to your Wallace Museum style sword which I believe is the old Omani Long Kattara in its exported mode then revamped as a hybrid in about the 18 th C... and I also thank you for igniting the idea about these weapons with your picture from the Yemen Military Museum and Riyadh Souk...When you sent those pictures I had just been in Muscat puzzling over such a sword and wondering whether I should take it...I went back last week and took two and an old Omani Battle Sword now being upgraded to Badge of Office standard... These are, I believe, original style Omani Long Kattara for which I am about to defend the theory of ... through this very interesting exchange with Jim.

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi ~

ps I will keep an eye open for a spare 8th century blade !
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2011, 04:36 PM   #63
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Ibrahiim,
In looking at these four hilts, it is difficult to determine at this point whether these are regional variations, or whether there is a transitional development shown at this point. I am under the impression that the examples we are now calling the 'short battle swords' with the downturned 'winged' type guard are most likely to have existed from quite early times in the Dhakiliyya, where they are believed to have evolved from early Abbasid swords and with that plausibly existed as a type from as early as the 8th century.

With the conservativism and relative isolation of the Ibadi Sect in these interior regions these earlier type hilts in the kattara continued traditionally.These then became concurrent with a longer bladed type kattara which reflects certain elements of the hilt form of this older form with the cylindrical grip and minaret type pommel, and was guardless. A similar cuff covers the root of the blade of both types of kattara.

It remains unclear whether these long bladed hybrid type kattaras, which are essentially the same as the the square pommeled form which we consider associated with the dynamic trade regions of the coast in Muscat and other points of the Sultanate including Zanzibar, were in use in the interior regions by the Ibadi contemporararily with the traditional battle swords or not.

Robert Elgood ("Arms and Armour of Arabia", 1994, p.16) cites the 1821 narrative of James Fraser, who visited the Omani garrison at Ormuz and claimed the broadswords used by them resembled the Scottish broadsword blade, and that some of these were made in Yemen. I believe that he meant that they 'came' from Yemen, where they were probably mounted. The example posted by Michael Blalock in 2010 (and resembling the Wallace example) has a scabbard similar to the silver banded mounts known to have been from Yemen (Elgood p.15, noting C. Buttin's attribution) and that many of these had 17th century blades. These were likely of course German, and of the type of broadsword blades seen on Scottish swords as noted (Fraser), as most Scottish blades were German.

It would seem that many of these broadsword blades were German, and of the 17th and 18th centuries, and they were likely remounted numerous times during thier working lives as are most of the ethnographic swords. It would seem that the newer style hilts would be used, and perhaps these 'hybrids' are an amalgam of old form but with revised guard, or indeed transitional. The curved blades, though occasionally appearing in Omani kattara hilts, are it seems mostly 19th century.

It will be difficult to prove the 8th century origin on the hilt style of these early kattara now believed to be primarily of the interior regions until there is more proof. However, these do appear to be much earlier than the 17th-18th century date presumed by the blades found in many of them. Elgood (p.18, footnote #36) notes that one of these earlier hilts of bronze was sold at Sothebys (Islamic sale, 24 April, 1991, lot #1113) which was described as 12th-14th century. Though that attribution is not strongly supported, it is not necessarily disputed either.

As always, looking forward to continuing research and discussion. Do we have illustrations of the Abbasid swords in Istanbul?

All the best,
Jim

Salaams Jim~ This is a very thought provoking reply ! May I reconstruct the reply I concocted last evening(which disappeared when I pressed send!!) into a far simpler form of essentially 4 statements of fact ~ One for each sword so that people dont get confused ? I will also add a comprehensive brief as a footnote defending the Funun and to some extent the apparent religious rhetoric built around my arguement. I will also place the references at the end. I expect that composition will take an hour or two...

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2011, 05:08 PM   #64
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,583
Default

Thank you so much for posting this example Michael, and I join Ibrahiim in thanking you for the great photos of the swords in Yemen and Riyadh which have been integral to our discussions here. This example does seem to have had the blade cut down and reprofiled tip which seem uncharacteristically pointed.

The triple dots inlaid near the forte on this are a feature seen regularly, not necessarily commonly, on many Hadhramauti and Yemeni edged weapons. I have seen these in paired configuration on either side of center ridge on Hahramaut janbiyya, and on the blades on a number of swords. It would seem this is an apotropaic device, however similar applications of these triple dots are seen on blades in India and elsewhere in various blade locations, and it is unclear what the exact purpose or meaning might be in different cultural spheres.

Ibrahiim, is it possible we might get an illustration of the Abbasid sword in Topkapi that we might use as a visual benchmark for our discussion? Also you mention that the Abbasid sword has a single dot in the blade. Is it gold metal filled or iron, and what blade location?

It does seem that yellow metal plugs were used in similar manner in antiquity as noted from an al Kindi reference in "The Sword in Anglo Saxon England" (H.R.Ellis-Davidson , 1962. p.115) which was translated in 1936 by A.Zeki Velidi:
"...upon completion of blade treatment, some blades were marked in the upper part with moons or crosses of bronze or gold, and sometimes a nail of bronze or gold is hammered into a hole in the blade".

While this suggests that the substance of the metal plug or nail serves in some sense as an apotropaic or element of power, it is unclear what exact meaning was, and why this may have evolved into the triple dot configuration.

In a discussion some years ago as we examined metal filled holes in blades, Lee Jones offered a most plausible suggestion for some of the configurations located where earlier blade fixtures may have been secured, and that perhaps these were left clearly apparant to suggest the vintage and integrity of a heirloom blade. It must be remembered that blades were remounted often many times in thier working lives, and that these old blades were highly revered. Thus rather than being perceived as 'old blades' these may have been considered imbued with the power of the owner's ancestors. Trophy blades were of course very much likely viewed in the same manner.

Regarding the possible apotropaic application once again, it is interesting to note that in many cases among the swords of the Tuareg, the blade is pierced just above the point and the hole filled by a copper plug ("European Blades in Tuareg Swords and Daggers" Lloyd Cabot Briggs, JAAS, Vol.V, #2, 1965, p.80). This may have been an influence from the European sword blades entering the Sahara, or equally from Arab traders from the east, or perhaps an element of the Tuaregs own folk religion and superstitions toward iron and evil etc. Whatever the case, the use of metal filled holes in seemingly strategic configurations is these various examples may offer clues in our further examinations of these swords.

All best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2011, 08:08 PM   #65
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Omani Swords ; Origins.

Salaams Jim~ Yours is a very thought provoking reply ! I still need to address the question of the Hormus Omanis referring to Yemen in my next post if I may and I see some other interesting notes by you on Michael Blalocks half sword which I would like to add notes.... and reitterate my theory on dots on blades being related to the Abbasid which are shown on the website ...Topkapi Museum at the very end of my letter.

May I reconstruct my reply that I concocted last evening(which disappeared when I pressed send!!) into a far simpler form of essentially 4 statements of fact ~ One for each sword so that people dont get confused. I will colour them in red if I may?. I will also add a comprehensive brief as a footnote defending the Funun and to some extent perhaps the apparent religious "facts" and understandably the fable inherent in most peoples idea of "folklore" built around my argument. I will also place the references at the end.



For clarity and simplicity I rearrange my theory into 4 paragraph statements of considered fact based on my evidence so far upon the provenance of essentially 2 original sword systems and 2 developmental branches viz;

1. The Omani Short Battle Sword and
2. The Old Omani Long Kattara and Terrs. and the spin off of two other swords namely;
3. The modern Omani Long Kattara and
4. The Wallace Collection Sword.

1. The Omani Short Battle Sword;
(Turned down Quillons, Islamic shaped pommel, octagonal hilt etc)

"The Omani Short Battle Sword came into being between late 7thC and not later than 751 AD having been copied from the Abbasid sword then in use against Omanis in Oman by the Abbasid Garrison from Iraq"

2. The Omani Long Kattara and Terrs;
(Long, flexible, spatula round tipped sword with buckler shield. Hilt as per the above No 1. except "stretched" and with quillons worked forward into the cuff. The Old Omani Long Kattara appears to be a traditional blade to which the same honorific hilt as at 1. above is fitted in a noticeably stretched style) .

''This Old Omani Long Kattara was introduced at the beginning of Ibadi Islam not later than 751AD i.e. at the same time as the Short Omani Battle Sword''


3. The Modern Omani Long Kattara;
(Long flexible usually European replacement blade with pommel tang and blade as one piece on a conical flat hilt).


"This is the updated 17th C to 19th C rehilted on a new style blade, therefore, A totally restyled modern version of the old sword at 2.
The Shield, (Terrs) however, never changed".



4 . The Wallace Collection Sword;
(Iconic badge of Office VIP Dress Sword on long carry scabbard with magnificent furniture and silver Hilt with a European Blade etc. No apparent Shield).

"This is the restyled, exported, frozen old Omani Long Kattara awakened and brought up to Iconic, Badge of Office status for a dignitary or VIP. Likely provenance Yemen between the 17th and 19th Century A.D".


Notes. In supporting my general theory I rely heavily upon doctrine not usually researched i.e. The traditional music, dance and poetry of Oman and secondly the normally seldom used aspect of religion; in this case Ibadi Islam.

There are distinct and vital reasons why this approach must please be viewed with a different perspective: In the West reliance upon folklore as fact or upon religion which is normally alegorical is seldom if ever used. In Oman however these are solid references because the folklore I have researched is sacrosanct and totally not based upon fable like for example in the West say the story occasionally re-enacted on pantomime "George and the Dragon". In Oman Folklore has been enacted strictly from the "get go" of Ibadi Islam as a method of passing down "the way of life in the past"… Like for example the ancient loading of a Dhow where participants mimic the loading of heavy stores and chests onto a make believe but real ( in terms of passing down the way of life) ship swaying and moving to drum beat. There is no mythology in this structure. It is a reflection of daily life. The Funun is just the method of "Transmission".

Islamic (and I do not want to get into a religious discussion) conceptual theology, does not, as in other religions promote the use of fable or alegory, moreover, it tends to be very factual… In the case of its historical support documentation it is absolutely clear upon dates and characters therefore we have at the outset of this religion a set of practices that could only be complete at the time the first Imam was elected…and a precise date.

Julanda Ibn Massoud was elected as the first Imam in 751 therefor by that time all the whistles, bells and fine details such as celebratory administration and scholistic theory etc of Ibadi Islam were intact and operational including the Eid celebrations and fasting and all. As were the celebratory folkloric traditions; "The Funun".

The Funun; The early genre folklore volumes of work also contains the Razha. The Razha is the ancient sword dance with the Old Long Kattara and Buckler Shield(Terrs). It is in 2 parts . One is a celebratory parade with shimmering swords and participants leaping in the air and throwing and catching of swords... the blades humming and oscillating by the rapid wrist action of the swordholders etc. and without Terrs. The other is a mimic fight …All set to the drum beat this has become like a martial art but its technically the passing down of that part of their way of life ... War !
These pageants are reenacted twice a year to celbrate each Eid and at weddings and other meetings of dignatories and international guests e.g. at celebrations and National Day etc ... as they have mostly always been done since the beginning of Ibadi Islam. As the seat of Ibadi Islam, Nizwa, has always retained these "Funun" traditions.

Since the Old Omani Long Kattara is therefore on the scene in 751 A.D. in the Funun dances we can safely assume that the Short Omani Battle Sword was in the arena at about the same period and by annalysing a previous leaders history a likely scenario appears ~ Via Jabr Ibn Zayd.

He was a Nizwa man. Not only was Nizwa the place Oman received the letter asking it to join Islam which it agreed to do … but it was also to become the seat the centre and the Capital of both Ibadi Islam and of the Interior and during later struggles down the centuries against Coastal Oman as a country often split in half and at war with itself rather like "The War Of the Roses". Thus Nizwa is important since from here swords would have been traded to neighboring countries and the nearest were by regular camel train to what is now Saudia and Yemen. Hardly surprising then that swords turn up in Riyadh Souk and in Yemeni Museums bearing a striking resemblance to Omani Kattara but with weird old hilt forms. Perhaps more odd is the appearance of an Iconic looking Wallace Collection Dress Sword.

Having been in Iraq for many years Jabr Ibn Zayd would have been ideally placed to view the technology of the Abbasid swords. He returned to Oman destined and determined to lead his country against the Abbasid invaders garrisoned there and who were punitive, being against the advance and accepting of Ibadi Islam. He was a fighter and a leader and achieved his ambition eventually, however, he died in 711 AD . I believe that by then the idea of the celebratory hilt upon the Omani Short Battle Sword and indeed upon the Old Omani Long Kattara were sealed, however, it is the latter date of 751 AD which I believe is more acceptable as the date of inauguration of the first Immam. To bridge the possible problem however I have stated a date not later than 751 A.D. "for both weapons." Even taking the date of Islam entering Oman as 630 AD as the date before which that pair of weapons could not have appeared, the bracket is still quite a narrow one, moreover, it is based upon irrefutable "folklore" and "religious" fact.

In some cases hearsay, guesswork or mis-aligned data have confused an already clouded history. Many of the later dates have been in a wide range from the 10th to the 19th Century and attempts to tag the system to African, Baluch, Portuguese, Spanish and other regions when in fact they are Omani (hilts). In some cases the guesswork is time barred by as much as 500 years and even more as I have seen one reference in a Museum to the 19th Century! on an ancient Omani "Excalibur" equivalent from 751 AD !! All these guesstimates failed at the outset to follow one simple idea... that to solve the crime you need a motive.. An Islamic sword can hardly have evolved from the Portuguese in the 16th Century since the Portuguese regularly slaughtered Omanis and the time scale is wildly out or from a Persian sword since Oman adopted Islam before them and anyway theirs is the wrong sect..The Nasrid sword is too late by 500 plus years and separated by thousands of miles of mountains, sea and desert and is altogether unrelated.

Nasrid, Portuguese, Baluch, African, Indian, Persian. No. It is time to set the record straight. These are Omani and in the case of the Long blade it could and probably does predate Islam but ~ I respectfully submit that;

"The Old Hilted Long and Short weapons are both Omani from not later than 751 A.D.".

Regards,

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Note on Omani Short Battle Sword; It was introduced by Jabr Ibn Zayd who had been in Iraq and had returned to Oman to lead the nation against the Abbasid Garrisons. He died in 711 however 751 A.D marked the date of the first elected Imam thus giving the clue to this swords approximate operational birth. This Imam was called Julanda Ibn Massoud and ironically he was killed fighting against the Abbasid a year later. It is a copy of the Abbasid sword with the addition of an Ibadi Islamic Hilt.
This is a close in fighting system however as yet no shield has been identified though its operation was likely to have been the same as the Roman Gladius. having been copied from the Abbasid sword then in use against Omanis by the Abbasid Garrison. (The hilt change is honorific extolling the new Islamic sect of Ibadism.)

Note on Old Omani Long Kattara; (At various times in the history of Oman this sword was exported to neighboring countries in what is now Yemen and Saudia Arabia probably from Nizwa. Once in place in its new abode this sword froze only to be awoken by two events ~ refitting with European trade blades between the 17th and 19 th centuries and 2. Iconic revival in what is now the style seen in the Wallace Collection and discussed here.)

References; A The entire forum debate so far, B Topkapi Museum Abbasid Swords, C Ingrams Visier to the Zanzibar Court Chronicles 1931. D Islamic Arms by Antony North (V and A Museum), E.Sword in the Military Museum in Yemen photographed by Forums Michael Blalock, and F The Wallace Collection Sword,
As a bulk sized reference the following all together as Reference G; Al Ain Museum Old Omani Battle Sword, Kuwait Tariq Rajeb Museum Old Omani Battle Sword, Zuhair Museum Muscat Old Omani Battle Swords and Kattara, My own collections and those of clients numbering more than 30 such weapons.

Topkapi Reference:Web ~
Topkapi Abbasid Swords; Type into search Abbasid Swords Topkapi.
Medieval Swords and Helmets from Topkapi Museum - STLCC.edu
Medieval Swords and Weapons in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul (Part 2). Two swords dated to the Abbasid Period (ca. 9th century). ...
users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/turk/TopkapiArms2.html - United States - Cached

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 22nd June 2011 at 05:06 AM. Reason: Topkapi Web Reference.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2011, 05:36 AM   #66
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Ibrahiim,
In looking at these four hilts, it is difficult to determine at this point whether these are regional variations, or whether there is a transitional development shown at this point. I am under the impression that the examples we are now calling the 'short battle swords' with the downturned 'winged' type guard are most likely to have existed from quite early times in the Dhakiliyya, where they are believed to have evolved from early Abbasid swords and with that plausibly existed as a type from as early as the 8th century.

With the conservativism and relative isolation of the Ibadi Sect in these interior regions these earlier type hilts in the kattara continued traditionally.These then became concurrent with a longer bladed type kattara which reflects certain elements of the hilt form of this older form with the cylindrical grip and minaret type pommel, and was guardless. A similar cuff covers the root of the blade of both types of kattara.

It remains unclear whether these long bladed hybrid type kattaras, which are essentially the same as the the square pommeled form which we consider associated with the dynamic trade regions of the coast in Muscat and other points of the Sultanate including Zanzibar, were in use in the interior regions by the Ibadi contemporararily with the traditional battle swords or not.

Robert Elgood ("Arms and Armour of Arabia", 1994, p.16) cites the 1821 narrative of James Fraser, who visited the Omani garrison at Ormuz and claimed the broadswords used by them resembled the Scottish broadsword blade, and that some of these were made in Yemen. I believe that he meant that they 'came' from Yemen, where they were probably mounted. The example posted by Michael Blalock in 2010 (and resembling the Wallace example) has a scabbard similar to the silver banded mounts known to have been from Yemen (Elgood p.15, noting C. Buttin's attribution) and that many of these had 17th century blades. These were likely of course German, and of the type of broadsword blades seen on Scottish swords as noted (Fraser), as most Scottish blades were German.

It would seem that many of these broadsword blades were German, and of the 17th and 18th centuries, and they were likely remounted numerous times during thier working lives as are most of the ethnographic swords. It would seem that the newer style hilts would be used, and perhaps these 'hybrids' are an amalgam of old form but with revised guard, or indeed transitional. The curved blades, though occasionally appearing in Omani kattara hilts, are it seems mostly 19th century.

It will be difficult to prove the 8th century origin on the hilt style of these early kattara now believed to be primarily of the interior regions until there is more proof. However, these do appear to be much earlier than the 17th-18th century date presumed by the blades found in many of them. Elgood (p.18, footnote #36) notes that one of these earlier hilts of bronze was sold at Sothebys (Islamic sale, 24 April, 1991, lot #1113) which was described as 12th-14th century. Though that attribution is not strongly supported, it is not necessarily disputed either.

As always, looking forward to continuing research and discussion. Do we have illustrations of the Abbasid swords in Istanbul?

All the best,
Jim

Salaams, Jim. Interesting account on Quote Robert Elgood ("Arms and Armour of Arabia", 1994, p.16) cites the 1821 narrative of James Fraser, who visited the Omani garrison at Ormuz and claimed the broadswords used by them resembled the Scottish broadsword blade, and that some of these were made in Yemen.
I note the use of words "some" and "Yemen" ~ "Some" of their swords were from Yemen which means they probably had a mixture of short and long weapons.. The long blades by and before 1821 coming in as trade blades into "Yemen" ... Yemen in this context doesn't necessarily mean Yemen alone since it was common practice to refer to the entire region of Yemen and the Horn Of Africa as "Yemen". In fact many old charts and maps of that region have the Horn of Africa thus marked... "Yemen". It is not stretching it too far to assume the whole enclave included Zanzibar also... This would bring 3 huge trade operators into the region ie Dutch French and British East Indies Companies and others plying trade to the region via that hub.

What I find interesting about the trade blade is its one piece tang pommel and blade. This necessitates essentially getting rid of the Old Omani Kattara and replacing it completely with a new sword to which a simple handle was fitted embroidered with leather and silver etc... Whats more the Islamic shaped Pommel on the old sword is replaced with a square or rectrangular one however on closer inspection the Islamic pommel goes but the handle is Islamic arch shaped as a flat conical shape... but distinctly Islamic in nature. In addition the cuff is lost along with remnants of the folded quillons... or is it? Not exactly since the cuff on the Old Omani Kattara is quite long but only about half of it protrudes along the blade and the other half is contained by the handle construction ~ So in the "New" Omani Kattara half the cuff is still there and the islamic arch is also present..Interesting?
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2011, 03:53 PM   #67
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,583
Default

Hello Ibrahiim,
Thank you for reiterating some of the details we are discussing, and if I may clarify something as well for the benefit of those reading. This is not actually a debate as I perceive, but intended to be a constructive fact finding mission to discuss the plausibility of the ancestry of both swords we now have agreed to term the short battle kattara and the 'long' kattara to the mid 8th century.

Actually there is no reason to think that the Omani battle kattara of the shorter version did not exist in Oman in the 8th century, and that it was likely similar to those used by the Abbasids, which in turn were in the form of those of the Umayyads. The primary issue seems to be in determining the antiquity of the long kattara, which we are hoping to place concurrently present with the shorter version.

I spent some time going through "Islamic Swords and Swordsmiths" by the late Unsal Yucel (Istanbul, 2001, p.54), and he notes "...we may infer that the blades of the earliest Islamic swords were probably similar to the Umayyad and Abbasid swords in that they must also have been straight, double edged, blunt ended and without grooves". With this he is emphasizing that these were intended for chopping and slashing type cuts, and not for thrusting. There is unfortunately no mention of blade length nor variation of it. If I understand correctly, the longer version blades are to be considered with respect to the concept of the Razha in this period in Oman, so would not have been mentioned in this broader description of these blades.
In my opinion, the addition of grooves (fullers) was in these times the exception, as seems inferred here, and I would note that the name of the sword which became famed as one of the Prophet Muhammed's, and more so as that of the Imam Ali (whom he had presented it to) was Dhu al Fiqar. The interpretation of the name of this sword has been long debated and typically thought to mean having two points, however, it is now generally held that the wording means 'possessor of spines'...that is apparantly having two fullers in the blade.

Yucel discusses as well on p.54 that, "...unfortunately since virtually nothing is known of Umayyad and Abbasid hilts, quillon blocks and scabbards, it is not possible to make any deductions about the relationship between the fittings of the earliest Islamic swords and those of the Umayyad/Abbasid period".

Mr. Yucel, who served as head of the armoury section at the Topkapi Palace Museum , notes the work of Hans Stocklein who he states was the first scholar to study the Topkapi Museum collections ("Die Waffenschatze im Topkapu Sanayi Muzesi zu Istanbul ein Vorlanger Bericht" in Ars Islamica I, 1934, pp. 200-18). Yucel's text continues in discussing that the weapons in these collections have been mostly remounted and refurbished after being removed from Mamluk Egypt to Istanbul after its Ottoman conquest in 1453 and the Byzantine church of Hagia Eirene was converted into an arsenal.
While these modifications of course, in no way reduce the reverence and respect afforded these weapons, it does have effect on using them in determining the appearance they would have had in original context in the periods and attributions noted. Basically however, Yucel states that the blade attributions would be presumably as stated, despite modifications to dress in the later period.

This brings us to the question of the contemporary presence of both long and short blades in Oman in the 8th century. As noted, it seems that these blades were intended for chopping and slashing cuts, and of course, the shorter versions would have been for infantry style combat, particularly close quarters melee.
From what I have seen so far in reading, infantry were the primary forces in the warfare of these times in the 8th century in these armies. This would have been determinate in the type of swords used, and as the long blades would have been for cavalry or mounted combat, there would have been very small numbers it would seem of these long blades.
It seems that unclear Oman, had some sword blade producing, with some degree of export by caravan,but it does not seem that the limited number of long blades would have been sufficient for such export. In much more modern times,as noted, the term Yemen was broadly applied it would seem to refer to a realm more than a strategic geographic region, and as such it would be difficult to determine from early narratives, exactly which area swords and blades coming from Yemen might have been actually from. By the 19th century however, the long blades were already in place as previously discussed, and trade blade traffic was profoundly in place, especially in San'aa and with the British in Aden.

In looking into references in Yucel, I was also amazed that I had apparantly missed so much attention to the presence of gold filled holes in many of these blades, including of course those believed to be Umayyad and Abbasid. Apparantly, according to Yucel, these occur in numbers of one to seven dots, and often are placed strategically next to inscriptions or devotional passages as seen in a number of the plates. He claims these gold dots are to give the swordsman good luck, which is of course a simplified reference to the much more complex talismanic applications which may be present.
I would note that many of these swords were from Mamluk provenance before entering the Ottoman armouries, which may explain the presence of this affectation found on some swords in North African sphere, using usually copper filled holes. The placing of these often near the blade tip is in the same fashion seen on many of the blades in Topkapi, though they are often but one of numerous other dots on the blade.

The carrying of this interesting affectation through over a thousand years in these sword blades certainly hints at more powerful meanings than simply a good luck charm. It should be noted that as mentioned earlier, a gold nail was often hammered into Frankish blades in early times, actually around the time of the Abbasids, and that Frankish blades were indeed imported into the Dar al Islam. At this point a direct connection cannot be supported, but here it seemed worthy of note. Often the gold inlay, rather than a nail, was a cross or moon, and perhaps other devices. By later medieval times, the gold was replaced by latten (copper or brass) still gold colored metal, so the same symbolic effect was still rendered.


I hope these results from my foray into these references will be helpful as we consider more on continuing research into this fascinating topic.

All the very best,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 23rd June 2011 at 05:39 PM.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 07:47 PM   #68
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hello Ibrahiim,
Thank you for reiterating some of the details we are discussing, and if I may clarify something as well for the benefit of those reading. This is not actually a debate as I perceive, but intended to be a constructive fact finding mission to discuss the plausibility of the ancestry of both swords we now have agreed to term the short battle kattara and the 'long' kattara to the mid 8th century.

Actually there is no reason to think that the Omani battle kattara of the shorter version did not exist in Oman in the 8th century, and that it was likely similar to those used by the Abbasids, which in turn were in the form of those of the Umayyads. The primary issue seems to be in determining the antiquity of the long kattara, which we are hoping to place concurrently present with the shorter version.

I spent some time going through "Islamic Swords and Swordsmiths" by the late Unsal Yucel (Istanbul, 2001, p.54), and he notes "...we may infer that the blades of the earliest Islamic swords were probably similar to the Umayyad and Abbasid swords in that they must also have been straight, double edged, blunt ended and without grooves". With this he is emphasizing that these were intended for chopping and slashing type cuts, and not for thrusting. There is unfortunately no mention of blade length nor variation of it. If I understand correctly, the longer version blades are to be considered with respect to the concept of the Razha in this period in Oman, so would not have been mentioned in this broader description of these blades.
In my opinion, the addition of grooves (fullers) was in these times the exception, as seems inferred here, and I would note that the name of the sword which became famed as one of the Prophet Muhammed's, and more so as that of the Imam Ali (whom he had presented it to) was Dhu al Fiqar. The interpretation of the name of this sword has been long debated and typically thought to mean having two points, however, it is now generally held that the wording means 'possessor of spines'...that is apparantly having two fullers in the blade.

Yucel discusses as well on p.54 that, "...unfortunately since virtually nothing is known of Umayyad and Abbasid hilts, quillon blocks and scabbards, it is not possible to make any deductions about the relationship between the fittings of the earliest Islamic swords and those of the Umayyad/Abbasid period".

Mr. Yucel, who served as head of the armoury section at the Topkapi Palace Museum , notes the work of Hans Stocklein who he states was the first scholar to study the Topkapi Museum collections ("Die Waffenschatze im Topkapu Sanayi Muzesi zu Istanbul ein Vorlanger Bericht" in Ars Islamica I, 1934, pp. 200-18). Yucel's text continues in discussing that the weapons in these collections have been mostly remounted and refurbished after being removed from Mamluk Egypt to Istanbul after its Ottoman conquest in 1453 and the Byzantine church of Hagia Eirene was converted into an arsenal.
While these modifications of course, in no way reduce the reverence and respect afforded these weapons, it does have effect on using them in determining the appearance they would have had in original context in the periods and attributions noted. Basically however, Yucel states that the blade attributions would be presumably as stated, despite modifications to dress in the later period.

This brings us to the question of the contemporary presence of both long and short blades in Oman in the 8th century. As noted, it seems that these blades were intended for chopping and slashing cuts, and of course, the shorter versions would have been for infantry style combat, particularly close quarters melee.
From what I have seen so far in reading, infantry were the primary forces in the warfare of these times in the 8th century in these armies. This would have been determinate in the type of swords used, and as the long blades would have been for cavalry or mounted combat, there would have been very small numbers it would seem of these long blades.
It seems that unclear Oman, had some sword blade producing, with some degree of export by caravan,but it does not seem that the limited number of long blades would have been sufficient for such export. In much more modern times,as noted, the term Yemen was broadly applied it would seem to refer to a realm more than a strategic geographic region, and as such it would be difficult to determine from early narratives, exactly which area swords and blades coming from Yemen might have been actually from. By the 19th century however, the long blades were already in place as previously discussed, and trade blade traffic was profoundly in place, especially in San'aa and with the British in Aden.

In looking into references in Yucel, I was also amazed that I had apparantly missed so much attention to the presence of gold filled holes in many of these blades, including of course those believed to be Umayyad and Abbasid. Apparantly, according to Yucel, these occur in numbers of one to seven dots, and often are placed strategically next to inscriptions or devotional passages as seen in a number of the plates. He claims these gold dots are to give the swordsman good luck, which is of course a simplified reference to the much more complex talismanic applications which may be present.
I would note that many of these swords were from Mamluk provenance before entering the Ottoman armouries, which may explain the presence of this affectation found on some swords in North African sphere, using usually copper filled holes. The placing of these often near the blade tip is in the same fashion seen on many of the blades in Topkapi, though they are often but one of numerous other dots on the blade.

The carrying of this interesting affectation through over a thousand years in these sword blades certainly hints at more powerful meanings than simply a good luck charm. It should be noted that as mentioned earlier, a gold nail was often hammered into Frankish blades in early times, actually around the time of the Abbasids, and that Frankish blades were indeed imported into the Dar al Islam. At this point a direct connection cannot be supported, but here it seemed worthy of note. Often the gold inlay, rather than a nail, was a cross or moon, and perhaps other devices. By later medieval times, the gold was replaced by latten (copper or brass) still gold colored metal, so the same symbolic effect was still rendered.


I hope these results from my foray into these references will be helpful as we consider more on continuing research into this fascinating topic.

All the very best,
Jim


Salaams Jim,
I agree that this indeed is a double edged discussion being both a debate and a fact finder. Any emotive input on my behalf is entirely accidental though I blame the computer network for firing my other previous reply into outer space never to return! Your reply is much appreciated and it is fascinating to see information rolling out from your big gun references. The late Unsal Yucel was one of the great masters.

What is missing from research on these matters is the doctrine upon update to his work since it was done almost 80 years ago and since then artefacts have appeared and are in his museum in Istanbul. Notably examples of Abbasid Swords..It is one such sword that I have compared favourably to the Omani Short Battle Sword in 11 different categories. Two crucial comparisons are the octagonal handle and the dot on the blade but the other 9 are also important.

I believe however that we are in more or less agreement that the Omani Short Battle Sword is in the 8th Century ballpark and from my viewpoint 751AD is a reasonable assessment of where it fits in that century, for now, pending new evidence. I believe that "rests the case' on the Omani Short at this time although I also think the reference of the Topkapi Abbasids Swords needs viewing by your experienced eye..I am certain that, had the late Unsal Yucel (and therefor Hans Stocklein) seen these exhibits they would examined them and have included them but at the time these exhibits were not available. Therefore, respectfully, it is also requested that we may have uncovered gems of information relevant to updating their brilliant work.

In terms of Umayyid examples however we have no known exhibits in any museum I know of although it would not be incorrect to suppose their swords were forerunners to the Abbasid and linked to a sword style generally called the Sword Of The Prophet though the precise style (since I think there are possibly 9 such variants) is somewhat unclear but accepting the forked tip version as Dhu al Fiqar ~ presented to the first Imam "Ali" . The reference to spines is usually taken as the two spikes on the tip though may refer additionally or in conjunction to the two fullers ? What is I believe quite important in our debate is the sense of a sword being handed on as the "baton" in honour of a relgious form.

I have been considering every country and situation surrounding the Omani timeframe being discussed here and ruling out dynasties which fall outside the parameters before and after the critical dates. Generally most neighboring countries (except the Abbasid in Iraq because they had a punitive garrison in Oman) fail that stress test, however, one other does not quite rule itself out. It is plausible that when Oman accepted the letter of invitation to accept Islam in Nizwa(see notes below) that they could have been handed a sword as well ! Here is your religion and here is a sword that if required will reinforce it !! Not the sword of the prophet but something similar, either with a handle already fitted or ...fitted by the Omanis later. The sword hilt being generally honorific to "Islam central" rather than Omans later adoption specifically for the Ibadi sect.

So there is within our debate something of a conundrum.. either way one could argue that we are in the right aproximate timeframe of 630 AD to 751 AD(not later than) and thus a far more accurate aproximation than ever considered previously.

Just to clarify that point; Oman accepted Islam at Nizwa by letter in 630 AD however it was a while later within 100 years that they modified their religious style to the sect of Ibadi Islam. Did the Omanis adopt a sword and hilt at the very beginning i.e. 630AD or later but not later than 751 AD ? (The later date being the elected date of the First Imam; Jalunda ibn Masoud) Did the sword appear because of the general acceptance of Islam and the letter in 630 AD or with Jabr Ibn Zayd who brought the technology with him from Iraq later? He died in 711 AD.

Almost as a note in the margin; I need also to mention an aspect of viewing Islamic architectural references to hilt shape since at the time not many Islamic archways, domes or minaraettes had actually been built and it would be incorrect to wheel out for example 12th century examples when it demands a current (8th C) or earlier reference... Islamic Art by David Talbot Rice 1975 revised edition page 30 is a better dated example of Abbasid Islamic archway work in Iraq of the 8th C. and before and lends weight to my Abbasid theory.

Your reference to dots on blades is interesting and is well backed up by powerful reference to the Turkish Masters doctrine. I think that is a remarkable find. The talismanic effect is agreeable with all our findings and single or multiple dots are now fully understood. The Abbasid Sword in the Topkapi has a dot as does the Omani Short Battle Sword in a variety of configurations and I have seen single and triples in various blade positions.

The Old Omani Long Kattara. I attribute this to the same period since it has the same hilt and because it is in the Funun. The blade is probably earlier and could be generally an arabian style or related to other earlier swords. Im afraid I can dive no deeper on this search since my references and therefor my oxygen have somewhat run out, however, my original statement (in fact all 4 statements) at my previous letter still stands and support on this issue, as has been agreed on the Omani Short Battle Sword, is sought.



I think we agree thatThe Omani Short Battle Sword has a sharp point and a rigid two edged blade capable of chopping action and thrust "gladius action" blade strike around an as yet undefined but logically large shield. On the other hand the Old Omani Long Kattara had the slash and snick blade with a round point ideal for cuts and fast action around a buckler (Terrs) shield. Neither sword is for mounted cavalry. The Omani terrain rules cavalry out. I would imagine the ideal weapon for cavalry at that time was the long spear or lance. I see both swords more in the dismounted infantry role. I see no reason why the numbers of long swords would be any greater or smaller than the short, in fact, a good 50/50 mix would have been quite formidable. I have however no idea of the Omani "battle order format" and whether they had lots of cavalry or not, however, I agree they would have had more infantry but with both swords spread throughout... more or less in equal numbers in what could be imagined as light and heavy infantry.

In terms of your reference regarding export and sword production; metalworking was advanced in the Nizwa area and mining was done considerably in the Megan region and elsewhere..though I dont believe a lot of export occured before the appearance of European blades. Thereafter I can see how there would be a lot of redundant Old Omani Long Kartara since they were being superceded by Euro Blades totally replacing the old weapons which would then have been up for export in large numbers.

If this general theory is acceptable and therefore also regarding the Old Omani Long Kattara then the follow-on, including the transmission to neighboring regions and the transition to Iconic form and thus the sword in the Wallace Collection etc. are logical. The transfer of euro blades onto the scene from the 17th Century is ironic in that like the Scotish Claymores which are actually German!! ~ Omani Kattaras are European!! (at least in view of their recent manufacture) It is also a notable time since it triggered the replacement and consequently export of Old Omani Kattara to neighboring regions where it froze but "morphed" later into what is now the Wallace Collection sword..

Whilst by no means the end of the story I think we have a solid foundation of reasoned research to underwrite our findings so far and underpin all of my "4 basic statements".


Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Notes on Oman; The Omanis were among the first people to embrace Islam.[18] The conversion of the Omanis is usually ascribed to Amr ibn al-As, who was sent by Muhammad around 630 AD to invite Jayfar and 'Abd, the joint rulers of Oman at that time, to accept the faith. In accepting Islam, Oman became an Ibadhi state, ruled by an elected leader, the Imam. During the early years of the Islamic mission, Oman played a major role in the Wars of Apostasy that occurred after the death of Muhammad, and also took part in the great Islamic conquests by land and sea in Iraq, Persia and beyond. Oman's most prominent role in this respect was through its extensive trading and seafaring activities in East Africa and the Far East, particularly during the 19th century, when it propagated Islam to many of East Africa's coastal regions, certain areas of Central Africa, India, Southeast Asia and China.

After its conversion to Islam, Oman was ruled by Umayyads between 661–750, Abbasids between 750–931, 932–933 and 934–967, Qarmatians between 931–932 and 933–934, Buyids between 967–1053, and the Seljuks of Kirman between 1053–1154.

By Ibrahiim ~ The dates are important because it is the brackets around the Abbasid period which are relevant since this is the Ibadi transitional period covering that sects adoption in Oman, leadership by Jabr Ibn Zayd and the fight with the Abbasid. 630 to 751 being key date parameters.

References:
A. Islamic Art by David Talbot Rice 1975 revised edition page page 30.
B. Topkapi Museum Abbasid Sword examples as at previous letter and viewable at website (search Topkapi Museum Abbasid Swords for pictures etc).

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 25th June 2011 at 05:36 AM. Reason: text
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 09:25 PM   #69
A.alnakkas
Member
 
A.alnakkas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 1,199
Default

Slightly off topic but are all Kattara have a flexible blade?
A.alnakkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 10:10 PM   #70
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Slightly off topic but are all Kattara have a flexible blade?

Salaams,
So it seems. As a caution however please note that Omanis also call the Omani Short Battle Sword Kattara as well... so in that case no. In the Long .. yes.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th June 2011, 07:09 AM   #71
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

I would like to add two fine references to our work so far and as direct take offs from the web other Forum users may be interested to view these...

1.PISANELLO’S HAT.
THE COSTUME AND WEAPONS DEPICTED
IN PISANELLO’S MEDAL FOR JOHN VIII PALAEOLOGUS.
A DISCUSSION OF THE SABER AND RELATED WEAPONS.

and another

2.SWORDS AND SABERS DURING THE EARLY ISLAMIC PERIOD.

What is quite refreshing is that though we (certainly not I) did not have access earlier to these references that in retrospect they support our theory.

The question of Sword of the Prophet is clearly a complex one. D. Alexander variously tends to sideline the entire subject very cleverly by suggesting that dates may be false on some or more or less avoids the issue leaving in my mind "a view" that many of these weapons were either spoils of war or gifts to the family of the Prophet and to their vast armoury. (The Yemen it is known, gave many swords on this basis). A lot of them were later modified and decorated in gold etc. In my view and largely after his death the Prophets legacy inspired extensive socio / political spin doctoring and the Sword of The Prophet in whatever form may have been a vehicle for much of that. Indeed the bifurcated sword also adorned many battle banners centuries after and the banners themselves were split designs mirroring the two pointed or two spined weapon. On the crusades one european commentator got it wrong (understandably) when he related to the battle ensign shape as a pair of trousers on a pole! The bifurcated weapon thereby appears as part of an index or structure of Islamic Heraldic symbols and whereas all Heraldic symbolism is usually confined to shields the sword and sword hilt in particular regarding the Omani duo of weapons discussed certainly queu up for that sort of recognition.

Like D. Alexander I think we can boil down a deduction that the Islamic and much favoured double edged broadsword was a key component in what we have been discussing.

The fact that a sword was given to Ali by the Prophet illustrates an important factor when we consider the honorific status(to Ibadi Islam) we have discussed on the Omani Short and Old Omani Long Kattara in respect of their specially shaped Hilts.

One perplexing reference appears in the second reference to a master sword maker in Basra called "Zayd" in the correct time frame! ( I wish that this could be the same Zayd (Jabr Ibn Zayd) that returned to lead Oman against the Abbasids but as yet I have zero proof of this strange co incidence in names.) (Kufa is in Iraq) (Basura is of course Basra) viz;

~ Al-Kindi mentions a smith named Zayd, working in Kufa, and comments that one of the important types made in Kufa was the baid (white). He also noted that Basùra was an important center of production, swords produced there seem to have been renowned for the strength of their steel.~

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th June 2011, 02:45 PM   #72
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Omani Swords ; Origins.

Salaams Jim,
I start this letter with a simple phrase "The demolition of my own theory" and for that reason I place my 4 statements on a pedestal so that they can be seen to be knocked down where required viz;

1. "The Omani Short Battle Sword came into being between late 7thC and not later than 751 AD having been copied from the Abbasid sword then in use against Omanis in Oman by the Abbasid Garrison from Iraq"

2. ''The Old Omani Long Kattara was introduced at the beginning of Ibadi Islam not later than 751AD i.e. at the same time as the Short Omani Battle Sword''

3. The Modern Omani Long Kattara; (Long flexible usually European replacement blade with pommel tang and blade as one piece on a conical flat hilt). "This is the updated 17th C to 19th C rehilted on a new style blade, therefore, a totally restyled modern version of the old sword at 2.
The Shield, (Terrs) however, never changed".

4 . The Wallace Collection Sword; (Iconic badge of Office VIP Dress Sword on long carry scabbard with magnificent furniture and silver Hilt with a European Blade etc. No apparent Shield). "This is the restyled, exported, frozen old Omani Long Kattara awakened and brought up to Iconic, Badge of Office status for a dignitary or VIP. Likely provenance Yemen between the 17th and 19th Century A.D".

You will be delighted to hear that statement 1 stands and another is modified. The rest are about to fall; What struck me was that;

1. No example of an old Omani Long Kattara exists in any museum or collection neither complete ?
2. In blade only form?
3. Nor hilt only form?
4. In addition I could never find a shield to go with the Old Omani Battle Sword?
5. I could not fathom out why an Ibadi based religious country would export an Ibadi blade and or hilt to a non Ibadi country?
6. In that case why would the receiving country Iconize a religious blade not of their faith?
7. Why do Omani people call both the Short and Long; Kattara?

In researching David Alexander and David Nichol I discovered that the long cuff sword which looks like a stretched Omani Short Battle Sword is in fact Mamluke. That doesn't rule out a link altogether since Mamluke and Abbasid were very similar styles but it begins to deepen the dent and I believe the Wallace Collection Sword to be from that provenance ( geographically its only a short Red Sea trip from Mamluke Egypt to Saudia and Yemen so it fits the scenario whilst my link I believe disolves on motive, religion and just cause. I therefor withdraw statement 4.

Omani Long Kattara. This sword never existed before the 17th Century! Well it did... as the Omani Short Battle Sword !! It was simply superceded. We have been chasing a non existant weapon which explains why we could not find an original blade or hilt. Statement 2 is withdrawn

The Old Omani Short Battle Sword is the sword in the Funun and is a few inches shorter than when it started life but the wingshaped heavier blade (technically they didnt have the expertise to fuller this weapon) took a long time to replace. It was used with the Terrs shield in battle and in celebration of the Ibadi sect. In about the 17th Century it began to be superceded with the Long Kattara, from Euro trade blades. The Omanis simply switched the Terrs. The new sword was a more flexible blade and much lighter and enabled a more vigourous dance routine. Statement 1. stands and statement 3 is modified as "This is the updated 17th C to 19th C sword using new style european blade and adopting the Terrs Shield and eventually superceded the Old Omani Battle Sword.

It was not for nothing that both swords were called the same name ..Kattara.. because, in fact, prior to being superceded there was only one sword.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 27th June 2011 at 02:51 PM. Reason: text
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th June 2011, 03:51 PM   #73
A.alnakkas
Member
 
A.alnakkas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 1,199
Default

Awesome Job Ibrahim Jazaak allah khair. I liked it alot that you demolished your own theory which shows alot of professionalism in your quest for knowledge. Now after you demystified the mystery, how about we move to the Badaawi saif and the syrian style? :P

Perhaps your expertise will be best put in a book or a site dedicated for swords but in arabic. I find information about swords circulating the internet in arabic to be very unprofessional.

I'll email you soon and cant wait to see your opinion about such a thing.
A.alnakkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th June 2011, 07:47 AM   #74
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Awesome Job Ibrahim Jazaak allah khair. I liked it alot that you demolished your own theory which shows alot of professionalism in your quest for knowledge. Now after you demystified the mystery, how about we move to the Badaawi saif and the syrian style? :P

Perhaps your expertise will be best put in a book or a site dedicated for swords but in arabic. I find information about swords circulating the internet in arabic to be very unprofessional.

I'll email you soon and cant wait to see your opinion about such a thing.


Salaams,
Heres a brilliant book all done in Persian and Arabic apparently...Sazmandehi Nezami va Sazman Razm va Tahavolat an dar Tarikhe Islam: az Agaz ta payan Asr Abbasi [Military Organization and Deployment in the History of Islam: From the beginning until the End of the Abbasids] by Ga’edan, Asgar, published in 2003 (1382) in Tehran.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 28th June 2011 at 08:15 AM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th June 2011, 10:13 AM   #75
A.alnakkas
Member
 
A.alnakkas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 1,199
Default

Hmm, I have never heard of this book. Could be interesting to search for.
A.alnakkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th October 2011, 08:35 PM   #76
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,266
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
... The Portuguese were ejected in 1650 from Muscat and persued down the African coast as far as Mozambique and harrassed all over the Indian Ocean in Goa etc etc. Contrary to what people may think, they in fact, used Indian mercenaries as their soldiers on the ground and on their ships... Even a large Portuguese battleship had few Portuguese on board other than "the executives". Religiously they were somewhat biggotted and in no way shape or form would they have entertained an Islamic sword with an Islamic hilt in their arsenals... and in the same way the troopers were not muslims...but hindu. When the Portuguese sacked Sohar for example they slaughtered most of the inhabitants (including the Jewish community) They had a very huge bee in their bonnet about other religions in those days ! ...

Salaams Ibrahiim
I would be too lazy to revue to the chronicles of the period to erase my strongest doubts raised by your sources quotations that (all) Portuguese battleships sailing in those waters were in general massively handled by Indian mercenaries except for a few “executives” aboard.
I will therefore make a bypass and, concentrating on the weapons business, could you tell on what sources or evidence you stirrup, to conclude that Portuguese would not entertain Islamic (or Hindu) weapons based on religious prejudice.
Not being a scholar or close to it, i have come across through time with more than one written episode in that, being a determined weapon of special attributes or circumstantially convenient, in no way would the Portuguese reject it. I wouldn’t recall what would be the behavior of other cultures and their creeds in similar circumstances, but this however is not the issue here.
BTW, i find the “bigot” adjective a bit less diplomatic , but i don’t think the Portuguese of such period will read you.
Without going too deep into the chronicles, we know that:
… As early as the reconquest period (XII-XIII century), Portuguese (Christians) admired the crossbow used by the North African Moors, a light easy loading weapon, although with a lower penetration power, the “Kaous Alaarab”, and adopted it for their own use.
…The fact that one of the most used swords by their local adversaries in Asian lands, the talwar, was rejected, is written in the chronicles that, on one hand, the Portuguese had a greater confidence in their own weapons (pass the presumption) and, on the other, for the extensively discussed reason that Indian swords had handles/grips too small to be handled by Europeans.
… When it comes to artillery, we come to the same situation. I have the privilege to have appreciated in loco a magnificent cannon in the Lisbon Military Museum. Such fire mouth, re-baptized by the Portuguese “The Shot of Diu”, is a bronze basilisk from the XVI century, with a 23 cms caliber, a length of 6,11 mts and a 20 tons weight. It was made for the Sultan Bahâdur Xâh of Gujarat. It has such a rather fascinating inscription engraved on it that, once translated by a local erudite friar, has escaped to be molten for the forging of a monument to the King Dom José I (1750-77).
This cannon, built in 1533, was captured and brought to Portugal in 1538 and placed in the Lisbon Royal castle. Later in the kingdom of Dom João IV (1640-56) was transferred to the tower of São Julião da Barra, a strategic defense post of the Lisbon estuary. This to say that, for certain, such charismatic weapon would see immediate destruction instead of its persisting utility, if religious prejudice towards the use of other cultures was so overwhelming to Portuguese.
I hope you don't mind my coming in with an empirical approach to this little part of your comprehensive treatises.

.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by fernando : 18th October 2011 at 08:49 PM.
fernando is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 19th October 2011, 02:24 PM   #77
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Salaams Ibrahiim
I would be too lazy to revue to the chronicles of the period to erase my strongest doubts raised by your sources quotations that (all) Portuguese battleships sailing in those waters were in general massively handled by Indian mercenaries except for a few “executives” aboard.
I will therefore make a bypass and, concentrating on the weapons business, could you tell on what sources or evidence you stirrup, to conclude that Portuguese would not entertain Islamic (or Hindu) weapons based on religious prejudice.
Not being a scholar or close to it, i have come across through time with more than one written episode in that, being a determined weapon of special attributes or circumstantially convenient, in no way would the Portuguese reject it. I wouldn’t recall what would be the behavior of other cultures and their creeds in similar circumstances, but this however is not the issue here.
BTW, i find the “bigot” adjective a bit less diplomatic , but i don’t think the Portuguese of such period will read you.
Without going too deep into the chronicles, we know that:
… As early as the reconquest period (XII-XIII century), Portuguese (Christians) admired the crossbow used by the North African Moors, a light easy loading weapon, although with a lower penetration power, the “Kaous Alaarab”, and adopted it for their own use.
…The fact that one of the most used swords by their local adversaries in Asian lands, the talwar, was rejected, is written in the chronicles that, on one hand, the Portuguese had a greater confidence in their own weapons (pass the presumption) and, on the other, for the extensively discussed reason that Indian swords had handles/grips too small to be handled by Europeans.
… When it comes to artillery, we come to the same situation. I have the privilege to have appreciated in loco a magnificent cannon in the Lisbon Military Museum. Such fire mouth, re-baptized by the Portuguese “The Shot of Diu”, is a bronze basilisk from the XVI century, with a 23 cms caliber, a length of 6,11 mts and a 20 tons weight. It was made for the Sultan Bahâdur Xâh of Gujarat. It has such a rather fascinating inscription engraved on it that, once translated by a local erudite friar, has escaped to be molten for the forging of a monument to the King Dom José I (1750-77).
This cannon, built in 1533, was captured and brought to Portugal in 1538 and placed in the Lisbon Royal castle. Later in the kingdom of Dom João IV (1640-56) was transferred to the tower of São Julião da Barra, a strategic defense post of the Lisbon estuary. This to say that, for certain, such charismatic weapon would see immediate destruction instead of its persisting utility, if religious prejudice towards the use of other cultures was so overwhelming to Portuguese.
I hope you don't mind my coming in with an empirical approach to this little part of your comprehensive treatises.

.



Salaams,
Thank you for adding to this thread...Nice pictures of the cannon. What a funny name for a crossbow! Ha! I thank you also for a very well composed and superbly set out letter.

When it comes to choice of weapons I believe there is a finite mindshift between personal sword style and 20 ton cannon. I think the cannon would be a prize to be fought for and utilized thereafter by the winner. I have to say that was also the normal case on the battle field regarding blades / weapons of all natures .. winner takes all ! My previous letter was I recall vaguely trying to introduce the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean and I was dismissing the idea of the Omani Kattara being linked to them which we know it was not. The question as to Portuguese carrying non Potuguese arms is interesting and from the religious standpoint I maintain they did not which means I have to show very strong reasons why not. In addressing this point I must show very biased perhaps bigotted mindset of the Portuguese hierarchy which I will do..however what weapons their mercenaries carried I believe was normal... Indian Mercenaries carried Indian weapons etc I also need to show how Portuguese ships were crewed and why?

I draw your attention to the 3 reasons for the Portuguese being in the Indian Ocean 1. Gold and Silver 2. Spices 3. Mercenaries and Slaves.

History shows how much they at that time in the early renaissance disliked Muslims and how they hated Jews.

There is a peculiar irony in that the known preventive cure for malaria was "Jews Harp" but that most Portuguese explorers would not take it (therefor died) because of the name.

They had hoped to find the fabled land of Presbeteri Iohanis or Prester John said to be a Christian Kingdom somewhere in the region of the horn of Africa where it was hoped substantial numbers of Mercenaries could be hired to fight the Muslims. Myth, fable and stories of strange hordes charging through north Russia inspired the Portugues to link Ghengis Khans marauding armies to this African powerbase..thinking they too were Christians.

Most of the search teams deployed by the Portuguese died of malaria etc in their futile attempts to find the mythical nation. In the end they were able to hire Indian Hindu mercenaries although I know there were others such as Malibaris..

As an example of their outright cruelty witness what they did in Sohar, Oman. Sohar being a huge trading port was filled with Jews at that time in the early 1500s. The Portuguese slaughtered every prisoner after intense torture. The favourite method being removal of nose, ears, hands then the corpse was nailed up. ( except one old chap who showed them the way to Hormuz)

The Portuguese had mastered the art of torture, star chamber, the Inquisition and all but it was a hatred driven by religious bigotry which fueled their fire. Basically they were Fanatical Christian Bigots.

Its amazing what 600 years can do, however, and now I have a lot of really good Portuguese mates !

Notwithstanding the odd "spoil of war" 20 ton bronze cannon the Portuguese tended to stick to Portuguese weapons and I have had a few rapiers from that period but I see no reason why they would not allow their Mercenaries to carry Hindu weapons. My previous work may have rushed over that point.

Aboard a Portuguese Battle Ship there would have been the usual Portuguese command; Captain, Second Officer and Navigator, Gun Captains and a skeleton crew but the fighting contingent was largely Hindu mainly because Portugal was such a small country but it underlines one of the 3 basic reasons for exploitation in the Indian Ocean i.e. Mercenaries. I believe they also carried a religious person to inspire their requirements, torture techniques, Wrath of God, Inquisition and that sort of thing etc.

If I may add just a few additional examples of what one author called "the uncompromising attitudes of the Christian reconquista"
(Please do not take this personally after all a lot of nations have done things in history which were pretty terrible; but you did ask...so I should prove it)

Almeida had fought at the siege of Granada that ended in 1492, and he brought with him to the Indian Ocean the uncompromising attitudes of the Christian reconquista. He sacked Kilwa, which had four stone-throwing catapults for its defense, and deposed the sultan in favor of another more amenable to the Portuguese. Further up the coast, Mombasa had some 3700 men of military age and cannon that fired on the Portuguese as they entered the port. The Portuguese, in return, bombarded the town. A Spanish convert to Islam came out and told the Portuguese to leave, that the people of Mombasa were braver than those of Kilwa. That night, Almeida put the town to the torch and in the morning sacked it, killing some 1500 people and taking great quantities of cotton cloth, silk and gold-embroidered textiles as well as valuable carpets. The king of Mombasa wrote to the king of Malindi to warn him of what might befall him: “This is to inform you that a great lord has passed through the town, burning it and laying it waste. He came to the town in such strength and was of such cruelty, that he spared neither man nor woman, old nor young—nay, not even the smallest child…. Nor can I ascertain nor estimate what wealth they have taken from the town. I give you this news for your own safety.”

Vasco de Gama’s first voyage was an intelligence gathering one. He returned in 1502 at the head of a flotilla of twenty-five ships armed with the most powerful cannons in the Portuguese inventory and bombarded the city states all along the east African coast. His first encounter with shipping in the Indian Ocean was a vessel carrying 700 returning hajjis from Mecca to India. An Indian Muslim from Malabar, Merim, owned the ship. Disregarding pleas for mercy, de Gama burned the ship with all of its occupants, women and children included.

When the Portuguese arrived off the coast of Calicut, the Raja of Calicut, Manna Vikrama, sent an emissary, a Brahmin of high repute, to negotiate peace. The ambassador arrived on board the Portuguese flagship with his two sons and a nephew. De Gama cut off the hands, nose and ears of the ambassador, and had the three young men nailed to crosses.

The bombardment of Calicut began in earnest, wreaking havoc on that ancient city. He then turned his attention to the ships in anchor. He treated the captured Hindus the same way he had treated the Brahmin ambassador of the Raja, cutting off their hands, noses and ears and piling them up in heaps on board his ships. But the most sadistic treatment was reserved for captured Muslims. One Khwaja Muhammed, a noted merchant from Egypt was captured, beaten, his mouth stuffed with pig refuse, and then set afire. Such atrocities were repeated wherever the Portuguese went on the Indian coast.


Within a span of fifteen years, the Portuguese had destroyed the thriving city-states of East Africa, captured strategic naval posts all along the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, occupied the entrances to both the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and disrupted the trade that had flowed from India, Sumatra and China to West Asia and East Africa. Once thriving cities on the African seaboard became ghost towns. Violence, greed, enmity and ruthlessness took over trade and cooperation. Portuguese hatred of Muslims was unbounded. Wherever they landed, their first targets were the Muslims. The Inquisition was instituted in Goa against both Hindus and Muslims, and instructions were passed out by the Portuguese governor that no Muslim was to be hired, even though the territory of Goa had been a part of the Sultanate of Bijapur, and had a large number of Muslims in it.

Lastly an example of the crew make up on a Portuguese ship though I seem to remember somewhere reading about Battleship Crew Make up this example is trader ships but gives the idea ~

In all the ports controlled by the Portuguese, Albuquerque instituted the system of the cartaz, a trading licence authorizing a ship to carry cargo. Ships without a cartaz, which of course had to be purchased from the Portuguese port authorities, were fair game. This simple protection racket, plus customs duties and some outright piracy, raised the money to defray part of the cost of manning garrisons and maintaining the navy—as well as purchasing cotton textiles to trade for spices in the Moluccas and for gold and ivory in East Africa. The cartaz system enabled the Portuguese to exercise some control over trading networks that they could not dominate. In time, they raised further revenues by selling concessions for specific maritime trade routes to Asian shipowners. By the mid-16th century Asian merchants were shipping their goods on Portuguese ships and vice versa. And even the Portuguese ships were crewed by men from Arabia, Malabar, Gujarat, Malaysia and Indonesia, with perhaps one or two Portuguese officers. Pidgin Portuguese became the lingua franca of the Indian Ocean ports.

Regards Ibrahiim.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 19th October 2011 at 05:51 PM.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2011, 06:37 PM   #78
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,266
Default

Hi Ibrahiim
If I have read with full attention your post #13, i should have guessed that, your reply to my two innocuous questions (actually one doubt and one question), could result in a reply far beyond the technicalities of historic weaponry and their periphery.
So it happened that, specially after you edited your post, i am faced with an authentic catharsis over the Portuguese atrocities during the 16th century.
You tell me not to take it personally but, to my eyes, the energy you transmit to this issue is hardly unpersonal.
I fail to see where the largest part of your post contents is intrinsic to the questions i have posed, as also they appear to be far distant from the scope of this venue and too close from its restrictions, namely religion and politics.
Assuming i have opened the door to such situation and before this discussion derails into a (more) unpleasant path, i will punish myself and unwillingly refrain from further commenting on your vast exposition.
Therefore i will render the points and suggest we drop this conversation.
Kind regards
fernando is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd October 2011, 11:17 PM   #79
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,583
Default

I am inclined to agree that continuing this course with such obvious polarity in views concerning political issues in the history of these periods and regions would be counterproductive to the discussion of the kattara, the original topic of this thread. While I must admit the presentation of both sides here is most impressive and profound, it is in my opinion not particularly relevant to the study of the weapon itself. That too could of course be argued, but more well placed in debate venue.
Intriguing reading in any case gentlemen! Thank you.

Best,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th October 2011, 02:51 PM   #80
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I am inclined to agree that continuing this course with such obvious polarity in views concerning political issues in the history of these periods and regions would be counterproductive to the discussion of the kattara, the original topic of this thread. While I must admit the presentation of both sides here is most impressive and profound, it is in my opinion not particularly relevant to the study of the weapon itself. That too could of course be argued, but more well placed in debate venue.
Intriguing reading in any case gentlemen! Thank you.

Best,
Jim


Salaams Jim,
I would propose the following with which to bring this threads topic back on track: I wish to disprove a commonly held theory that Omani Kattara are European supposedly (though as far as I can deduce without proof) from the European Trade Blade concept. What is certain is that the Kattara appeared from somewhere and it is my suspicion they were developed closer to home.

My whole treatise on the Old Kattara forms a major part of this thread and a quick glance back through the details shows the conundrum ; The Old kattara (turned down quillons, Islamic Pommel, wing shaped blade) is from circa 8th C and appears at the start of Ibathi Islam as it is in the Funun; The accepted passage of tradition via music dance and mimicry. So why would Oman adopt a European blade in about the 17th / 18th C ? I find it hard to believe that a sword which was a virtual heraldic symbol, an icon of Ibathi Islam, ousted by a European Trade Blade. So my first doubt is a cultural one.

For Oman to take on a new system (and it can be seen that the new sword is quite different in many ways though similar in others) a whole mind shift would be needed in Nizwa as the governing body over the Ibathi structure. This weapon was to take the name Kattara and to absorb the Terrs buckler shield. It would need a completely fresh fighting approach as the long blade was spatula tipped and no good as a stabbing sword. It would change the Funun. My second doubt considers the religious and traditional mindset which a European trade blade contravenes.

It is difficult to see how a European sword could come into Oman via Muscat and then somehow be absorbed so that Nizwa then adopted it... The coast and the Interior were at constant running disagreement with each other. Whilst some trade may have taken place between the Interior and Coast the other routes by camel were to Mecca, Yemen, and the Gulf Coast via Buraimi Oasis and on up the line of mountains to Ras Al Khaimah etc etc. My third doubt is therefor socio-geographical.

I can find no swords with blades like the New Kattara outside of Oman...Yes there are blades which are similar in Ethiopia and Sudan but they are very different carrying distinct blade marks and without the same tang and pommel(blade tang and pommel made all as one) as the new Omani kattara.. If a new blade was sweeping through Africa would we not see evidence of it cropping up in Red Sea locations like Yemen, Saudia, Ethiopia and Sudan etc? Are we to believe that suddenly out of the blue a new kattara arrives; bang ! I do not buy that . We know that it appears in Zanzibar but that is likely to be because it was taken there by the Omanis who owned the territory. Doubt four is thus: No evidence of a transmission route overland via Africa or the Red Sea. No evidence of European swords being directly shipped to Oman.

I can find no proof that thousands of Kattara supposedly made in Europe were sent directly to Oman by ship. Some swords carry the running wolf stamp however these are fake stamps. Where were they stamped? Assuming that place of stamp = place of manufacture?

Not one Omani blade has a European sword factory stamp whereas masses of swords (Trade Blades) in Africa carry the correct German and European insignia and decorated blades. No Gurda. No European Factory Marks. What they do have marking the blades is the occasional "God Is Great" phrase or a Lion and/or crown mark ~ The Crown being generally attributed to what locals call Taj.. British India. So are these blades Indian or Sri Lankan? Therefor this doubt, number five, focusses on the absence of European factory marks but the inclusion of Islamic wording and some apparent British India Crowns and Lions.

Wootz blades would give clue to Indian blades. I have never seen a wootz blade in Oman though this forum has shown a couple which I believe are one-offs. Wootz is called Johar here and is not the style of blade in either dagger or sword. I therefor generally dont buy the India/Sri Lanka connection.

So we are looking for a sword maker closer to home who could produce perhaps a few hundred swords a year and who was on a camel trade route and who could knock out blades with suitable stamps (fake crowns, Lions, genuine religious chants) even as they do today.

My finger points to Ras Al Khaimah.

Regards,

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th October 2011, 04:15 PM   #81
A.alnakkas
Member
 
A.alnakkas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 1,199
Default

Salam,

This sword I have for a while.. The blade looks like those used in Kattaras but the hilt is yemeni.
Attached Images
    
A.alnakkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th October 2011, 04:44 PM   #82
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,776
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Salam,

This sword I have for a while.. The blade looks like those used in Kattaras but the hilt is yemeni.


Salaams, Nice sword. I would say a hybrid? Certainly a Yemeni Nimcha Hilt variant. The blade notwithstanding the blade marks which are not Omani (If blade marks were applied at the manufacture point then this may be an indicator of provenance) is of a wing shaped cross section whereas Kattara Omani are flat. I imagine this blade to be quite rigid. This looks like a one off... its a nice South Arabian sword all the same. Mabrook ! Ibrahiim.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th October 2011, 05:05 PM   #83
A.alnakkas
Member
 
A.alnakkas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 1,199
Default

Thanks Ibrahim, Allah yebarek feek.

The blade is not like the Kattaras I've seen, its rigid and thick at the ricasso. the blade is very sharp at the tip. The only similarity to Kattara blades is the spatula shaped tip?
A.alnakkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th October 2011, 05:06 PM   #84
kahnjar1
Member
 
kahnjar1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND (RISING FROM THE RUBBLE)
Posts: 2,140
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams, Nice sword. I would say a hybrid? Certainly a Yemeni Nimcha Hilt variant. The blade notwithstanding the blade marks which are not Omani (If blade marks were applied at the manufacture point then this may be an indicator of provenance) is of a wing shaped cross section whereas Kattara Omani are flat. I imagine this blade to be quite rigid. This looks like a one off... its a nice South Arabian sword all the same. Mabrook ! Ibrahiim.

.....so what about these two? The kattara here has what you describe as a wing shaped cross section, ..............and what about the mark also on a kattara but not the one shown full length.?
Attached Images
  
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th October 2011, 06:10 PM   #85
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,583
Default

Thank you Ibrahiim for returning this thread to topic, and again it is a fascinating topic which truly needs to be discussed to learn more on the development of swords in these regions.
I need to review notes to readdress some points, for example that the adoption of European blades, and in many cases examples from India and the Caucusus occurred in the 17th century onwards is primarily..availability. It is all very much commercially rather than culturally oriented, and much as in the Sudan. The sword until relatively modern times remained the weapon of nobles and individuals of means and standing. As trade strengthened with exposure to wider scope of materials, particularly with colonial incursions, the inclusion of sword blades also increased. In the Saharan routes, Kano was oe key point of dispersal....in the Middle East, Damascus was a key hub, in India there were a number of these many on the Malabar Coast. In Arabia, it was of course Oman, and properly, Muscat. This was a point of contact where merchants traded and dispersed wares into East African and Red Sea trade, and of course the movement of these materials entered land routes.

As we have discussed, the interior of Oman, strictly Ibadi, carried on trade independantly via camel routes through regions not necessarily within the spheres of maritime trade, but still it would be impossible to consider that goods did not diffuse via route confluences at many points. The forms of 'traditional' kattara with downward quillons and the distinct mosque domed pommel would seem to have been maintained strictly within fundamental standards and not influenced nor refurbished with European blades in most cases I am aware of. I think that the ancestry of this form can likely be traced to early Abbasid forms, and remained in use traditionally into fairly modern times, contemporary with the coastal kattaras.

The coastal (Muscat) cylindrical hilted versions of kattara again, as discussed, seem to be largely mounted with trade blades, and the adoption of this distinct form seems to be keenly associated to the increased import of trade broadsword blades.
BTW, Stu, I believe the stamp on the blade you show in one from the Caucasian regions, and these are seen it seems usually on qama and other weapons produced in Transcaucasian regions. I believe it is known in Arabia as the number of blades brought into many regions were via Ottoman auspices and of course via Syria. I have seen numbers of Syrian hilt sabres with Hungarian blades misidentified as East European sabres with notably East European inscriptions.
The sword shown by A. Ainakkas is one of relative commanality and indeed of Yemeni type with it seems most of them being latter 19th into early 20th but often with refurbished older blades. The 'karabela' style hilt with subtle trilobate pommel is characteristic on a number of Yemeni, particularly Hadhramaut forms.

All best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th October 2011, 07:12 PM   #86
TVV
Member
 
TVV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 1,103
Default

Sorry Ibrahim, the evidence is overwhelmingly in support of the use of trade blades on the longer, 18-19th century kattaras. If you go all the way back to the very first post in this thread you will see a kattara blade with a variety of markings - a termometer, eyelashes and crosses. All of those are quite common and can be traced back to well known earlier European examples.

Per Elgood, many of these blades were exported to Alexandria and Cairo, from where they were distributed throughout Arabia. If the Omanis were able to adopt the curved blade (most likely from Caucasian shashkas), then I do not see why they would not adopt the longer broadsword blade a century or so earlier, especially in light of the fact that German and Hungarian blades were very popular throughout the rest of the Arab Peninsula.

Personally, I think you put way too much stock in the cultural and religious barriers to the adoption of weapon forms, both in the case of the Omanis and the Portuguese. The hard evidence in the blades supports the theory that weapon forms diffused through trade, whereas your observations are so far entirely based on conjecture.

Regards,
Teodor
TVV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th October 2011, 07:24 PM   #87
A.alnakkas
Member
 
A.alnakkas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 1,199
Default

The use of European trade blades ranged from al-Sham to Yemen. Denial of it is refuted by material evidence and "natural" evidence (lack of steel manufacturers ment expensive local swords. Buying european blades was the cheapest option)

Followers of Imam Abdulwahab for example didnt have any problem using Lion stamped blades or bu-askiri (clauberg) stamped blades. I highly doubt they had the luxury to have a problem :-)
A.alnakkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th October 2011, 01:28 AM   #88
kahnjar1
Member
 
kahnjar1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND (RISING FROM THE RUBBLE)
Posts: 2,140
Default

Now we are getting back to some sort of sensibility at last. Thanks Jim, TVV, and Lofty. Of course there was wide spread use of trade blades throughout the colonial territories, including Oman. I will now show the full blade with the mark, which by the way came from Ibrahiim himself, and was described by him as a curved Kattara. So that rather blows the theory that the Omanis did not use trade blades, but made their own.
Attached Images
 
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th October 2011, 01:39 AM   #89
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,583
Default

Stu thank you for showing the entire sword, and interesting to see the curved blade. If I recall that stamped figure is similar to markings I have seen on blades from Tblisi in Georgia, which was a busy trade center and there were numbers of Armenian smiths working there in the 19th century.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th October 2011, 01:54 AM   #90
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 3,904
Default

Can we simplify it?
Wouldn't it be reasonable to suggest, that the Old Kattara is just a variant of the pre-islamic straight-bladed Arab sword?

Arab invasion of Persia put them in contact with equally straight-bladed Iranian swords, so nothing changed at the beginning.

From conquered Persia they attempted to invade Europe from the East, but encountered Khazars, who were armed with true sabers. And that's when the Arabs switched to the curved blade. Persians might have taken it from them, or from the Turkic or Mongolian invaders.

The straight blade coexisted for a while, finding its way to Mamluks, Berbers and finally to Spain ( jineta). Subsequently, the most primitive tribes, Sudanese and Tuaregs, adopted it and preserved the form up to the contemporary tourist traps.
No need to invoke the imported blades for the early straight Arab blades. They had them from the beginning. The Portugese might have been surprised to find that their rapiers were identical to the Omani kattaras. Later on, everybody imported blades from everywhere, just like today upper-class americans import italian shoes, german cars and french perfume, while they import Mac Donalds and blue jeans.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 02:32 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.