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 22nd July 2010, 06:31 AM   #1
kahnjar1
Member
 
kahnjar1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND (RISING FROM THE RUBBLE)
Posts: 2,140
Default KATTARA QUESTION

I recently acquired this Omani Kattara and wish to know what should be thru the hole in the pommel. I have seen many pics of these swords with and without a hole, but never with anything actually in place.
Regards Stuart
Attached Images
  
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd July 2010, 04:04 PM   #2
TVV
Member
 
TVV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 1,103
Default

Stu, congratulations on your latest acquisition. My guess would be that the hole was used to thread a piece of cord through, used to secure the hilt to the hand in a loop and prevent the the sword from being dropped. I am sure there is a proper word for this, I just cannot come up with it right now.

The leather on the hilt looks like a replacement.

Regards,
Teodor
TVV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd July 2010, 05:46 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,574
Default

Hi Stu,
These kattara really are intriguing swords, and actually have become more present in the collecting community in about the last decade or so, before that they seem to have been pretty obscure. I agree with Teodor that the most likely explanation would be for a lanyard type wristknot, which would of course be understandable in combat situations.

It is also possible that this might have been for addition of some type of decorative or perhaps auspicious festoon. On some Islamic swords there are sometimes a string of beads, usually five, added, though I have seen some of these decorative strands with six.

What is important to note is that the Omani's were primary merchants, and affluent and status conscious individuals wore these swords much in the way the janbiyya (termed khanjhar in Oman if I understand correctly) were worn.
While this example seems somewhat simple in its present dress, the newer leather is nicely added, it may have had much more decoration before. Many of these swords had silverwork sheathing removed over time. Perhaps this now seemingly austere example might have been more decorative in times before, and the auspicious addition idea in accord.

Nice sound example of a sword which carried its influence far and wide in Arab trade sphere, from Zanzibar to caravans across the Sahara, and possibly even influencing swords there.

All best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd July 2010, 06:02 PM   #4
Michael Blalock
Member
 
Michael Blalock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: dc
Posts: 266
Default

A nice Kattara you have there. Often these have a silver cap but here is a photo of a Sultan with a Kattara that evidently has the hole exposed and unused. You would think that if it was standard to have a lanyard the sultan would have one. It is a mystery.
Attached Images
 
Michael Blalock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd July 2010, 08:46 PM   #5
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 TVV
Stu, congratulations on your latest acquisition. My guess would be that the hole was used to thread a piece of cord through, used to secure the hilt to the hand in a loop and prevent the the sword from being dropped. I am sure there is a proper word for this, I just cannot come up with it right now.

The leather on the hilt looks like a replacement.

Regards,
Teodor

Yes the leather is a replacement. It looked like this when I got it! A bit of an improvement I think.
Thanks also Michael. I also would have thought that the Sultan would have had something in the hole! The plot thickens!!
Attached Images
 
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd July 2010, 08:58 PM   #6
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 Jim McDougall
Hi Stu,
These kattara really are intriguing swords, and actually have become more present in the collecting community in about the last decade or so, before that they seem to have been pretty obscure. I agree with Teodor that the most likely explanation would be for a lanyard type wristknot, which would of course be understandable in combat situations.

It is also possible that this might have been for addition of some type of decorative or perhaps auspicious festoon. On some Islamic swords there are sometimes a string of beads, usually five, added, though I have seen some of these decorative strands with six.

What is important to note is that the Omani's were primary merchants, and affluent and status conscious individuals wore these swords much in the way the janbiyya (termed khanjhar in Oman if I understand correctly) were worn.
While this example seems somewhat simple in its present dress, the newer leather is nicely added, it may have had much more decoration before. Many of these swords had silverwork sheathing removed over time. Perhaps this now seemingly austere example might have been more decorative in times before, and the auspicious addition idea in accord.

Nice sound example of a sword which carried its influence far and wide in Arab trade sphere, from Zanzibar to caravans across the Sahara, and possibly even influencing swords there.

All best regards,
Jim

Hi Jim, You are right regarding Khanjar being the correct term for the Omani dagger. I believe that they pronounce it as "KUN-JA". As you can see from the added pic, the hilt of the Kattara was just wood of some sort, and had a nasty crack running almost full length. The silver wire looked as if it had not been cleaned for a very long time and I was not even sure that it was silver until I received the piece. Thanks for your comment regarding the application of the leather. My first attempt at this and although the crisscross stitching on the back is not as straight as it could be, I think it will pass OK.
Stu
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th July 2010, 06:29 AM   #7
kahnjar1
Member
 
kahnjar1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND (RISING FROM THE RUBBLE)
Posts: 2,140
Default

BUMP
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th March 2011, 09:00 AM   #8
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,763
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Kattara sword lanyard

Perfectly logical, but Ive never seen one. They dont use a lanyard. The sword is often thrown up in the air during dancing so...About half the kattara have the hole... the rest not. The curved Saif doesnt normally have a hole... but just to confuse the issue Im looking at a curved Omani sword that does have. I like the idea of hanging a 5 bead thing on it... 5 fingers Fatima construct...Interesting though Ive not seen that either (I will have a closer look!) So why the hole? My view is its for hanging the weapon up on a rack basically on a nail... Looking back at the earlier short job it had a hole in it forward of the Pommel high on the grip for a strap.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th March 2011, 12:53 PM   #9
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,763
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Pommel Hole

My last missive seems to have vanished so...I agree it is completely logical to surmise that they use the hole for a wriststrap. However they dont. The Omani swordsmen throw the sword high in the air and I think a wrist strap on this weapon would be a hindrance. On single edged curved Omani Sayfs with a big back edge they also have no hole ... I suggest it could be a religious thing as its iron so a hole could be related to evil ...it may be simply to hang them on wall nails. Thats how we all hang them. (but I suspect its the Iron thing)
About 50% of kattara dont have a Pommel holes .
I watched 1000 tribal infantry march past on national day all with kattara and not one wrist strap... I like the idea of 5 beads hanging from the hole as that would be religious link to the five fingers of Fatima daughter of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)... Geometrical figure 5s occur in many traditional items including Omani Jewelery, Oriental Rugs, Khanjar silver designs(some not all) architecture, woodcarving etc etc. 5 represents the constitutional building blocks ...5 cornerstone foundations of the Islamic religion.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th March 2011, 04:16 PM   #10
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,763
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Wrist Strap or not...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Yes the leather is a replacement. It looked like this when I got it! A bit of an improvement I think.
Thanks also Michael. I also would have thought that the Sultan would have had something in the hole! The plot thickens!!



This is a great question to which all my Omani friends dont know the answer. It puzzles me. First I thought it was a hole to hang it on the wall or some sort of evil drainage hole as its iron.etc etc Then I was told it was only on newer swords not the old ones. That isnt the case since I see old ones on this thread and an old photo clearly showing the hole. I think I need to sit down with an Omani swordsmith and ask that question as it could be that the hole is for some process in the making of the sword or the application of the leather over the wooden hilt so that the sword is steadied by being nailed to the workbench or something. It is weird. Maybe its for a wrist strap after all. Ha !
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th March 2011, 12:13 AM   #11
Dom
Member
 
Dom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Paris (FR*) Cairo (EG)
Posts: 1,142
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
Stu, congratulations on your latest acquisition. My guess would be that the hole was used to thread a piece of cord through, used to secure the hilt to the hand in a loop and prevent the the sword from being dropped. I am sure there is a proper word for this, I just cannot come up with it right now.

Stuart, BRAVO for your latest acquisition
the Teodor observations are making sense, and I consulted "Islamic Weapons - Maghrib to Moghul" and I find a pic for Omani Kattara swords, one of both has that hole
judge by yourself

ŕ +

Dom
Attached Images
  
Dom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th March 2011, 01:22 AM   #12
fearn
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,247
Default

How is the pommel secured? The hole would be a nice, simple way to tighten or loosen a screw-on pommel without scratching the hilt with a wrench.

F
fearn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th March 2011, 04:46 AM   #13
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 fearn
How is the pommel secured? The hole would be a nice, simple way to tighten or loosen a screw-on pommel without scratching the hilt with a wrench.

F

Not sure to be honest, but now that we have Ibrahiim on board, I think this question (and many others) will be answered!!
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st March 2011, 04:55 PM   #14
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,763
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Hole in pommel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Not sure to be honest, but now that we have Ibrahiim on board, I think this question (and many others) will be answered!!


Im baffled. Now the usual way for the screw to be cut is opposite to the european way... but try as I might the pommel are stuck which may be because they are rusted on tight or welded or part of the blade tang pommel so until I visit my sword maker next week .. My money is on the hole for hanging on the wall.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th April 2011, 06:42 PM   #15
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,763
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default THE HOLE IN THE POMMEL; KATTARA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
I recently acquired this Omani Kattara and wish to know what should be thru the hole in the pommel. I have seen many pics of these swords with and without a hole, but never with anything actually in place.
Regards Stuart


After lots of questions to many different people and several craftsmen khanjar makers and sword makers the answer is ~ its for a wrist strap ! So when you are dancing with the weapon you dont lose it...I think that transposes to the old days since dancing is or was a form of martial art training for fighting.... That the wrist strap prevented total loss of the weapon should it be twisted out of your hand (A common trick with the combination of Terrs shield and Kattara) The tang and pommel are one piece of metal so its not to assist screwing on the pommel and its nothing to do with the devlish nature of Iron nor in fact is it meant to dangle beads from though I can see how that could be used...Phew!!
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th April 2011, 01:55 AM   #16
fearn
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,247
Default

Excellent! One puzzle solved!
fearn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th April 2011, 05:33 AM   #17
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
After lots of questions to many different people and several craftsmen khanjar makers and sword makers the answer is ~ its for a wrist strap ! So when you are dancing with the weapon you dont lose it...I think that transposes to the old days since dancing is or was a form of martial art training for fighting.... That the wrist strap prevented total loss of the weapon should it be twisted out of your hand (A common trick with the combination of Terrs shield and Kattara) The tang and pommel are one piece of metal so its not to assist screwing on the pommel and its nothing to do with the devlish nature of Iron nor in fact is it meant to dangle beads from though I can see how that could be used...Phew!!

Salaams Ibrahiim, That DOES answer the original question thankyou. Now for the next challenge......a pic of a Kattara WITH the wrist strap....................
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th May 2011, 04:41 AM   #18
archer
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 348
Default Kattara Pommels

I was going to venture a guess that Since these pommels are of different sizes as are the holes. Could they simply be a fine tuning of the swords balance?

I just purchased one(Omani?) this evening that has a round brass pommel The seller says hilt has original cloth binding. The scabbard is a basket case. Question is what about the round and brass pommel? Thanks, Steve
P.s. Its coming from UK, so it will be awhile.
Attached Images
  
archer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th May 2011, 05:10 AM   #19
kahnjar1
Member
 
kahnjar1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND (RISING FROM THE RUBBLE)
Posts: 2,140
Default

Saw this but not sure that it is in fact Omani. Hilt looks more african to me. Comments from others???????????????
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th May 2011, 06:48 AM   #20
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,489
Default

That's a Manding/Mandingo sword - not a kattara. Personally I'm not convinced there's much of a link between the two types, other than using similar trade blades and local copies. The hilt type is simple enough to occur without influence.
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th May 2011, 02:26 PM   #21
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,763
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
That's a Manding/Mandingo sword - not a kattara. Personally I'm not convinced there's much of a link between the two types, other than using similar trade blades and local copies. The hilt type is simple enough to occur without influence.


Its Mandingo for sure. Its not Omani but as for the influence there isnt enough evidence to not link it to the Kattara design. Personally I think it is very influencial~ my arguement based on Zanzibar which was seized by Oman in 1632 (2 years after they threw the Portuguese out of Oman) being a conduit for weapons from and for Africa the Yemen and Oman etc. My point being that the Omani Kattara didn't exist until that time(or did it?) and the Omani Sword was a short stiff blade with a spiked Islamic Dome shaped Hilt with turned down quillons that I argue could date back to the 8th Century A.D. when Oman adopted Ibathi Islam.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th May 2011, 05:53 PM   #22
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,763
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by archer
I was going to venture a guess that Since these pommels are of different sizes as are the holes. Could they simply be a fine tuning of the swords balance?

I just purchased one(Omani?) this evening that has a round brass pommel The seller says hilt has original cloth binding. The scabbard is a basket case. Question is what about the round and brass pommel? Thanks, Steve
P.s. Its coming from UK, so it will be awhile.


ref. fine tuning; Nice idea.. I already thought about that but its a no. There would certainly be some written material to back up a weights and measurement concept like that.... I wish it was that easy. In my opinion we are probably right on the edge of having lost the absolute truth of this conundrum though the general consensus is that it is a hole for a wrist strap... even amongst the old sword makers they think it was for the sword wrist strap but... their thought is that it is to stop it falling from the hand whilst dancing... It is an interesting choice of words. Not fighting~ dancing. This means that in their life time it is the dancing which takes precedence... whilst I would wager the same question asked say 80 or 150 years ago the answer would be to stop the sword falling whilst fighting. The link is... that dancing was a form of exercise, warm up, martial drill if you like before going into battle therefor we in our wisdom can do a bit of logical manouvre yes?... So its a wrist strap. Insofar as I can tell it seems to have fallen into disuse. Now I am a great believer in the original Omani Short Battlesword as being completely unique to Oman and as a matter of interest it does have a wrist strap hole at the top of the handle the lower two being for rivets to hold the tang/hilt assembly together and it is not without possibility that a hole in the pommel on the Omani Kattara sprang from that idea though... I have no proof !
Attached Images
  
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th May 2011, 06:41 PM   #23
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,489
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Its Mandingo for sure. Its not Omani but as for the influence there isnt enough evidence to not link it to the Kattara design. Personally I think it is very influencial~ my arguement based on Zanzibar which was seized by Oman in 1632 (2 years after they threw the Portuguese out of Oman) being a conduit for weapons from and for Africa the Yemen and Oman etc. My point being that the Omani Kattara didn't exist until that time(or did it?) and the Omani Sword was a short stiff blade with a spiked Islamic Dome shaped Hilt with turned down quillons that I argue could date back to the 8th Century A.D. when Oman adopted Ibathi Islam.


Hi Ibrahiim,

My original post was probably worded a little stronger than I intended and I meant my point to be a little more open ended. I don't specialize in either kattara or Manding weaponry so I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to seriously argue it either way. But just for the sake of discussion... There is plenty of documentation of Arab traders, settlements even within the larger Sahel cities of Arab merchants so all the pieces are there for it to be Omani influence. My issue is that in these regions literally everyone was using some variant of these trade blades, kaskara, takouba etc. This exact blade style was manufactured heavily in the Hausa states much closer to the Manding areas. The style of hilt on kattara is pretty simple and the Manding swords are a bit different in the pommel terminus, a element which shows up on other Manding weapons with slightly different hilt variations such as this example:http://oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=2462

I've also personally never seen a wire covered hilt on a Manding sword which I thought was pretty distinctive of Omani katarra (please do correct that assumption if I'm wrong!) I'm not saying there isn't influence, just that personally I'm undecided as the form is simple enough in my opinion to not necessarily need influence to explain it. It is after all just a grip with a somewhat decorative terminal. I have a tendency to wonder if we, generally speaking, aren't too quick to try and connect a lot of forms which could just as easily be explained by local innovation. Of course this is somewhat playing the other side for the sake of argument. :-)

Interesting that you mention the point that the style could of transmitted from the mainland to Zanzibar and then Oman - that would be opposite direction I'd expect. The Manding do seem to have picked bits and pieces from all over the places - I've got a takouba that's Manding as well. Either way an interesting topic to be sure.

Not wanting to take this thread offtopic I'll PM you with a few questions about the wide blade Omani form as this situation mirrors two takouba types.

Best regards,

Iain
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th May 2011, 07:00 PM   #24
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,763
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default Omani Swords...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
Hi Ibrahiim,

My original post was probably worded a little stronger than I intended and I meant my point to be a little more open ended. I don't specialize in either kattara or Manding weaponry so I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to seriously argue it either way. But just for the sake of discussion... There is plenty of documentation of Arab traders, settlements even within the larger Sahel cities of Arab merchants so all the pieces are there for it to be Omani influence. My issue is that in these regions literally everyone was using some variant of these trade blades, kaskara, takouba etc. This exact blade style was manufactured heavily in the Hausa states much closer to the Manding areas. The style of hilt on kattara is pretty simple and the Manding swords are a bit different in the pommel terminus, a element which shows up on other Manding weapons with slightly different hilt variations such as this example:http://oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=2462

I've also personally never seen a wire covered hilt on a Manding sword which I thought was pretty distinctive of Omani katarra (please do correct that assumption if I'm wrong!) I'm not saying there isn't influence, just that personally I'm undecided as the form is simple enough in my opinion to not necessarily need influence to explain it. It is after all just a grip with a somewhat decorative terminal. I have a tendency to wonder if we, generally speaking, aren't too quick to try and connect a lot of forms which could just as easily be explained by local innovation. Of course this is somewhat playing the other side for the sake of argument. :-)

Interesting that you mention the point that the style could of transmitted from the mainland to Zanzibar and then Oman - that would be opposite direction I'd expect. The Manding do seem to have picked bits and pieces from all over the places - I've got a takouba that's Manding as well. Either way an interesting topic to be sure.

Not wanting to take this thread offtopic I'll PM you with a few questions about the wide blade Omani form as this situation mirrors two takouba types.

Best regards,

Iain


I quite agree. I think there is a lot more research to do on both the Kattara and the earlier Omani sword. Africa became awash with German blades somewhat clouding the issue. Ive seen what appear to be european blades on both the main Omani swords short and long and watered steel wootz from where no one is certain. For me these two questions are hugely important
1. Where did the Omani Short Battle Sword originate and when did it arrive on the scene in Oman?
2. From where did the Omani Kattara originate and when?
My hypothesis on the first question seems to defy gravity somewhat since I suspect the "Short" is 8th century Omani and unrelated to either Persian or Spanish muslim dynasties(Nasrid).
In considering the second question African influence is raising flags all over the answer. Logically OMAN having obtained the big foothold in Zanzibar in 1632 seems like a reasonable timeframe for the influence to begin.

Im getting a message but theres some sort of blocker operating on the private mail!!! will try to clear it... By the way excellent reply and I think it is very much ok and on topic ... I hope!!
Ibrahiim al Balooshi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th May 2011, 08:17 PM   #25
A.alnakkas
Member
 
A.alnakkas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 1,199
Default

Just want to thank you all for this, your discussion is very educational for people with limited knowledge such as myself so please do keep it up!
A.alnakkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th May 2011, 12:24 PM   #26
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,489
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
I quite agree. I think there is a lot more research to do on both the Kattara and the earlier Omani sword. Africa became awash with German blades somewhat clouding the issue. Ive seen what appear to be european blades on both the main Omani swords short and long and watered steel wootz from where no one is certain. For me these two questions are hugely important
1. Where did the Omani Short Battle Sword originate and when did it arrive on the scene in Oman?
2. From where did the Omani Kattara originate and when?
My hypothesis on the first question seems to defy gravity somewhat since I suspect the "Short" is 8th century Omani and unrelated to either Persian or Spanish muslim dynasties(Nasrid).
In considering the second question African influence is raising flags all over the answer. Logically OMAN having obtained the big foothold in Zanzibar in 1632 seems like a reasonable timeframe for the influence to begin.

Im getting a message but theres some sort of blocker operating on the private mail!!! will try to clear it... By the way excellent reply and I think it is very much ok and on topic ... I hope!!


Hi Ibrahiim,

To make a few points about influence from Africa.

1. The only similar hilt form I know of would be the Mandingo form.

2. The likelihood of that particular form making it from Mali to Zanzibar seems slim to me and raises the question of why that form and not the takouba, not the kaskara or other more regional influences. The main trading centers around 1630s should have been Hausa states, Kano, Katsina, Gobir, Zaria, Rano, Biram (Daura is off this list as it's a later settlement) and the Songhai empire (the weaponry of which we know relatively little about as with most of these areas that long ago). My understanding is that concentrations of Arab traders working the routes to Zanzibar and eventually Oman would be more likely to be active in the Hausa areas, who in turn handled the inner leg of trade from the more Western states.

3. The flood of German trade blades seems to me, to have had little influence on sword design per say, the blades were simply put into existing styles of hilts.

4. I know of no way to be truly sure of the age of most hilt mountings in Sahel cultures in a pre-Colonial context, there is no period artwork to go on as we have in European society and the frequency of remounting as witnessed in Tuareg society (for example) is not encouraging when it comes to connecting an old blade an assuming an old mount.

Just some thoughts...

Best,

Iain
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th May 2011, 07:45 PM   #27
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Member
 
Ibrahiim al Balooshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Posts: 3,763
Send a message via MSN to Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
Hi Ibrahiim,

To make a few points about influence from Africa.

1. The only similar hilt form I know of would be the Mandingo form.

2. The likelihood of that particular form making it from Mali to Zanzibar seems slim to me and raises the question of why that form and not the takouba, not the kaskara or other more regional influences. The main trading centers around 1630s should have been Hausa states, Kano, Katsina, Gobir, Zaria, Rano, Biram (Daura is off this list as it's a later settlement) and the Songhai empire (the weaponry of which we know relatively little about as with most of these areas that long ago). My understanding is that concentrations of Arab traders working the routes to Zanzibar and eventually Oman would be more likely to be active in the Hausa areas, who in turn handled the inner leg of trade from the more Western states.

3. The flood of German trade blades seems to me, to have had little influence on sword design per say, the blades were simply put into existing styles of hilts.

4. I know of no way to be truly sure of the age of most hilt mountings in Sahel cultures in a pre-Colonial context, there is no period artwork to go on as we have in European society and the frequency of remounting as witnessed in Tuareg society (for example) is not encouraging when it comes to connecting an old blade an assuming an old mount.

Just some thoughts...

Best,

Iain

Hello Iain. Please correct my date error of 1632 which should read 1652 for Oman taking Zanzibar. German blades do appear on lots of different hilts. I wonder when or if trade blades really impacted sword style in the Omani regions ? To my mind the Kattara is a "system" worked with a Buckler shield. The handle and shield are African possibly Takouba or a mixture finely tuned until the Omani Kattara emerged. I see absolutely no comparison however between the Omani Short and the Kattara long. I urge that the two are unrelated since they are different "systems" the former for close in battle toe to toe with the enemy like a Roman Gladius and the other for standing or dancing like a bantam weight but deadly boxer some 6 feet or more away and using the pivotal defensive and equally destructive Terrs shield vital to the combatants balance and ability to trap the opponents sword. I argue that the Short Omani Battle Sword appeared in the 8th Century after Oman became Ibathi Islamist and the Kattara long in the mid or late 17th because of Zanzibar and African influence. The two unrelated otherwise!
Ibrahiim al Balooshi 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 02:10 AM.


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.