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Old 9th August 2010, 01:02 AM   #1
Michael Blalock
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Default Arabian Saif

Here is a great photo of a bedouin from the Wadi Doan in the Hadramaut with an arabian saif and a torador.

HANS HELFRITZ, Vergessenes Süd-Arabien ( Forgotten South Arabia)

Germany, Leipzig, Vienna, 1936
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Old 9th August 2010, 11:27 PM   #2
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A very interesting picture. These finds are always helpful not only in chronicling how they should look, but also they give a cultural context as well. Thank you.
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Old 12th August 2010, 07:39 AM   #3
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Default Arab vs Indian matchlocks

The matchlock gun in the photo is often mistaken for an Indian "toradar". After all, they are mechanically alike and have a similar slender profile. What you see here is a firearm typical of southern Arabia, colloqially called "abu fitilia" or "father of the match". The region of Oman was known for the production of these weapons, which utilized barrels from various sources (Turkey, Iran, India, and even Europe). Some of the tribes preferred a type of gunstock with a bulbous or mushroom-shaped terminus to the butt. The purpose of this expansion has been variously explained as a recoil-absorber, and to keep the butt from sinking in loose sand during the loading process.

What is interesting is that guns with the expanded butts are also found in a particular area of India: Hyderabad in the Deccan. This style was introduced by the Arabs who immigrated to this area (the court of the Nizam or ruler of Hyderabad maintained strong ties with the Arabian peninsular states and had an Arab bodyguard). Hyderabad is also the point of origin for those Indo-arab jambiyas occasionally seen on the market, with blades and hilts of typical Arab form, the heavy silver fittings exquisitely chased in Indian motifs.

For more on Arab matchlocks, see Robt. Elgood, THE ARMS AND ARMOUR OF ARABIA IN THE 18TH-19TH & 20TH CENT., London: Scolar Press 1994
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