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Old 7th August 2010, 06:29 PM   #1
TVV
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Default Somewhat Unusual Omani Khanjar for Comment

This khanjar has certainly seen better times, but I was attracted to it due to the rhino hilt and the unusual features. It has the general shape and proportions of a typical Omani khanjar, but the scabbard is a bit unusual. It is skinnier, the front is covered with brass sheets instead of silver I am not sure if it ever had a belt. On top of that, it has a faded piece of velvet in the middle, not unlike some Indo-Arab khanjars from Kutch, and there are sockets holding turquoise imitations. I am attaching a picture next to a more typical Omani example for comparison.

Oman historically had possessions in Balochistan, such as Gwadar, which was sold to Pakistan in the late 1950s. Could this dagger, showing mixed Omani and Central Asian influences be from there?

Thank you for your comments,
Teodor
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Old 7th August 2010, 10:14 PM   #2
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Pleased this went to another Forum Member. Pics on auction were not the best so I didn't risk pushing it. Assume you plan some restoration?
As to its origins, the velvet piece does perhaps suggest Indian origin as does the brass (silvered??) scabbard metal. Also to me the hilt "buttons" seem rather low quality for an Omani Khanjar.
Those turquoises COULD be the real thing. I have seen a Saudi piece with these as decoration.
Regards Stu
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Old 8th August 2010, 03:33 AM   #3
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Thank you for responding Stu,

There are conflicting views on restoration. Mine is, to do what is needed to prevent further deterioration and then leave all original materials and components intact. I am open to replacing missing parts, such as the missing button, as long as I know what it originally looked like. Still, even such small additions will constitute tampering with an artifact and changing it from its authentic state, so I am not sure if I will do anything at all for now.

The scabbard metal is brass, and it is not silvered - I am a poor photographer. The "turquoises" to me look like plastic or pieces of tile, or some other material, but they do not look like actual stones. Perhaps someone wanted turquoises for all the talismanic properties attributed to this type of stone, but could not afford it or simply did not have them available.

Do you recognize the scabbard decoration from somewhere? There seems to be a wave motif, which looks familiar, but I cannot tell from where right now.

Regards,
Teodor
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Old 8th August 2010, 04:15 AM   #4
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Hi Teodor,
It would seem that your thoughts on restoration are much like mine. Repair/replace what is missing/broken and remove any rust or corrosion to prevent further deterioration. I have seen old pieces ruined by over restoring. These pieces afterall are relics of a bygone era and should (in my opinion) reflect that.
Nothing wrong with your pics and they are certainly MUCH better than those of the original listing!
That wave pattern is also familiar to me but I can't place it either. It does not appear to be Omani though. None of my Omani Khanjar have this pattern, nor do any of them have brass scabbards.
I vote for Indian origin.
Regards Stu
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Old 8th August 2010, 11:23 AM   #5
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I'm glad you like it, and sorry- I did what I could for pictures. Figured someone on here would probably get it, and glad to see I was right. I personally picked it out of an estate auction I was hoping to pull a Winchester 1873 frame from, but after five hours of waiting, ended up with only aching feet and the khanjar.

I've seen some marvelous restorations done here, and at the very least I expect better conservation than what I could provide, so I got my satisfaction from the piece simply being a conduit. After eBay fees, I think I made $9, not counting gasoline spent.
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Old 8th August 2010, 02:52 PM   #6
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Wasn't it in Elgood's book that Bukharan masters worked around Arabia ( mostly in the vicinity of Persian Gulf ? ) and some weapons reflect their influence?
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Old 9th August 2010, 12:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Wasn't it in Elgood's book that Bukharan masters worked around Arabia ( mostly in the vicinity of Persian Gulf ? ) and some weapons reflect their influence?


That would make a lot of sense. I need to read Elgood's book on Arabia more carefully. I actually need to read all Elgood's books more carefully, but there is so much information there that if I were to get quizzed on it, I would certainly fail.

Vaarok, thank you for a very pleasant and easy transaction. The amount you netted from the item probably did not cover your gas, but if it is of any consolation, I like it a lot.

I still have not decided on rstoration. I might replace the missing "turquoises" because it is something, which is easily reversible in case someone else does not like the idea of having non-original stones added to the scabbard.

Regards,
Teodor
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Old 25th March 2011, 09:35 AM   #8
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Default Khanjars?

Very interesting pictures , very clear photos... I expect they cleaned up nicely. In Oman they use a brass wire brush to take off the silver oxide.. I find toothpaste works wonders too. Hmm... On the right I reckon Indian but certainly not Omani. I can hardly believe the hilt is Ziraff(Rhino) I would have expected to see some translucence in the edges but it looks like bull horn or possibly wood. Normally Rhino would be the choice on a stunning and very tasty weapon... perhaps its a lesser horn... but I might be wrong!
The laft dagger is Omani but... look at the dagger as I think its a missmatch as the silver pattern isnt the same and the base of the dagger looks slightly too narrow ... It would not be unusual by the way as many a dagger is switched to a different scabbard .. Its almost a national sport! Ive seen a few brass or possibly gilded wire stitchings below the belt section but only probably 2 or 3 in 30 years of collecting Khanjars here... Usually its silver wire. I would say its from the Oman Coast as its a "fully stitched" below the belt "4 ringer". Great pictures and thanks for displaying ... I have a new camera and must add some myself...
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Old 25th March 2011, 05:33 PM   #9
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Very good observations Ibrahiim, thank you! Looking forward to pictures of your khanjars - I can certainly learn a lot from you.

Regards,
Teodor
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Old 25th March 2011, 07:34 PM   #10
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The hilt definately looks like wood to me. Still an interesting piece.
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Old 26th March 2011, 04:02 AM   #11
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I would not have thought that the hilt would be the most discussed feature of this khanjar. Hopefully the picture below would help provide an answer.

I do believe the hilt material exhibits the characteristics of rhinoceros horn, but whatever the case, it is still a damaged hilt.
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Old 26th March 2011, 05:16 AM   #12
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Ok it's rhino
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Old 27th March 2011, 09:39 AM   #13
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Default Khanjars, Hilts ...etc

Yep Thats Rhino ... Theres the translucent edges !! The Omanis consider various things when sussing out their Khanjars.. The first is the Hilt. So Hilt is vital ! To the collector Rhino horn hilts is like owning a Rolls Royce... very sad because of the rhino demise . I have about 30 of these weapons and Im carefull not to select Rhino or Elephant. The great test for a Khanjar dagger by the way is to try to pick it up by the point with the thumb and first two fingers. It should be impossible with a proper, full on, top quality dagger.
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Old 29th March 2011, 12:53 PM   #14
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Default Indian or ??

Great picture of the Rhino Hilt ... Did you decide on where it was from because I have to say I think its from Saudia. Close to Oman in the border area or possibbly Yemen close to Oman. The Khanjars there are very similar to Omani daggers and often have 7 rings mimicking the Omani 7 ringers from the Sharqiyyah (Eastern Oman Senaw to Sur area) but absolutely narrower. Skinny is what I would agree they are yes skinnier. I wouldnt mind betting it had 7 rings on it ... I go for Oman Saudia border but a Saudi variant.
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Old 29th March 2011, 11:23 PM   #15
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Thank you Ibrahiim, my knowldge of khanjars is very limited and therefore I started this thread with the hope of finding out where this one is from. The velvet, the turquoise stones and the unusual decoration scheme on the scabbard had me thinking of a possible Indian or Central Asian connection.

Right now though, I would much rather go with your suggestion of an Omani/Saudi border region origin, as this is based on your personal observations as someone with extensive and local knowldge on the subject of khanjars. Those subtle differences, such as the "scinnier" scabbard shape, etc., is something that must have taken years to learn and I am thankful for all the knowldge you are sharing here.

Regards,
Teodor
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Old 29th April 2011, 05:07 PM   #16
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Default kHANJAR SILVER ADORNMENT AND SILVER STITCHED BELT CRAFTMANSHIP

Recently we sent "the camera" into the Sur region and took a few pictures of Omani Khanjar silver technique and silver stitched belts. Here are a few pictures. The belt stitching is self explanatory...
The Khanjar Scabbard~ Note that the silver pattern is applied to a strip of leather the same shape as the lower khanjar scabbard body. The actual internal body of the scabbard is wooden~ shown. The wooden body is backed with leather or felt, then the entire silver decoration is stitched to the front attaching tightly to the backing thus encasing the wooden body in a delightful silver pattern. Note; After this the crown is added and the ringed "belt" section and platework "upper belt". (not shown)
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Old 30th April 2011, 09:26 PM   #17
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Teodor,

It's an interesting pair of Khanjars you have there.
Have you cleaned them up at all?
I'm particularly taken by the decoration on the second one (the more typical one). I've never seen a heart depicted on one before.

Best
Gene
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Old 30th April 2011, 11:08 PM   #18
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Great photos Ibrahiim! It is fascinating to see craftsman at work! Thank you very much for sharing with us all!
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Old 1st May 2011, 07:01 AM   #19
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Thank you Ibrahim - always very interesting to know how khanjars are made. We have seen some info on the production of Yemeni janbiyas, but this is the first time someone has given us a glimpse into the methods of decorating Omani khanjar scabbards.

Gene,I know very little about the symbolism of the decoration on Omani khanjars - basically what Ibrahim has shared here and Elgood's book. As such, I have no idea of the significance of the heart, and I do not know if this is a rare or a relatively common symbol.

Regards,
Teodor
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Old 1st May 2011, 08:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Recently we sent "the camera" into the Sur region and took a few pictures of Omani Khanjar silver technique and silver stitched belts. Here are a few pictures. The belt stitching is self explanatory...
The Khanjar Scabbard~ Note that the silver pattern is applied to a strip of leather the same shape as the lower khanjar scabbard body. The actual internal body of the scabbard is wooden~ shown. The wooden body is backed with leather or felt, then the entire silver decoration is stitched to the front attaching tightly to the backing thus encasing the wooden body in a delightful silver pattern. Note; After this the crown is added and the ringed "belt" section and platework "upper belt". (not shown)


Thank you for sharing art work in the making, something many of us here would never get to see first hand.

Gavin
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Old 1st May 2011, 09:27 AM   #21
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Ibrahiim,

Just to follow on whats been said. Excellent pictures and information thank you.
Lovely work and nice to see how it's done!
Best
Gene
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Old 1st May 2011, 03:30 PM   #22
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Default Hearts or Leaf shapes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
Thank you Ibrahim - always very interesting to know how khanjars are made. We have seen some info on the production of Yemeni janbiyas, but this is the first time someone has given us a glimpse into the methods of decorating Omani khanjar scabbards.

Gene,I know very little about the symbolism of the decoration on Omani khanjars - basically what Ibrahim has shared here and Elgood's book. As such, I have no idea of the significance of the heart, and I do not know if this is a rare or a relatively common symbol.

Regards,
Teodor

Salaams, Heart Shape? Im not sure if you refer to the leaf pattern.. or a heart shape to a thread above mine with a heart shape on it. The leaf pattern though depicted on an Omani Khanjar appears to be originally a Persian or Indian derivative called Miri Bota(leaf pattern) adopted by the Scotish famous Paisley tie company. In the case of its inclusion on an Omani Khanjar on my thread about making Khanjars it is sometimes referred to as the eyes of the Bedouin.. as I think you will agree they do look rather eyes like... or mask like.
Formal heart shapes. Khanjars with formal heart shapes are available as Ive seen several however in my collection of about 40 Khanajer I dont have a single one ! I would say relatively common.
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Old 1st May 2011, 03:41 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams, Heart Shape? Im not sure if you refer to the leaf pattern.. or a heart shape to a thread above mine with a heart shape on it. The leaf pattern though depicted on an Omani Khanjar appears to be originally a Persian or Indian derivative called Miri Bota(leaf pattern) adopted by the Scotish famous Paisley tie company. In the case of its inclusion on an Omani Khanjar on my thread about making Khanjars it is sometimes referred to as the eyes of the Bedouin.. as I think you will agree they do look rather eyes like... or mask like.
Formal heart shapes. Khanjars with formal heart shapes are available as Ive seen several however in my collection of about 40 Khanajer I dont have a single one ! I would say relatively common.



Ah, thank you Ibrahim.

Teodor,
Have you cleaned this one up at all? I think it would look very fine!
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Old 1st May 2011, 04:10 PM   #24
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Default More on Omani Khanjar Construction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathaniel
Great photos Ibrahiim! It is fascinating to see craftsman at work! Thank you very much for sharing with us all!


Salaams,
My next set of pictures shows the two other components of the scabbard ie 1. The belt section. 2. The Above the belt section. It can be seen that silver wire and silver rings are the main components in holding together and securing the belt section whilst the "above the belt" is plate silver, die pattern hammered and fitted as a sleeve. The important bit to understand is the back of the scabbard since that holds all the clues as to how the silver stitched "frontal lower belt" is attached.
To top it off there is a silver crown occasionally decorated in silver balls reflecting the fruit of the common Mulberry bush here in Oman.
Thats all on the scabbard maker as its another 400 kms to take in the art of Khanjar Hilt making.
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Old 1st May 2011, 06:15 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Teodor,
Have you cleaned this one up at all? I think it would look very fine!


Gene,

I prefer not to clean brass and silver aggressively, as I prefer them with patina. I guess it is a matter of personal preference, but I like mine showing age.

Teodor
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Old 1st May 2011, 06:29 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
Gene,

I prefer not to clean brass and silver aggressively, as I prefer them with patina. I guess it is a matter of personal preference, but I like mine showing age.

Teodor


Hi Teodor,

I like something in the middle but I know what you mean. Otherwise these can look too new

Lovely examples BTW!
Best
Gene
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