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Old 6th September 2011, 08:02 PM   #61
kahnjar1
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Originally Posted by A.alnakkas

Zanzibar IMHO. There is also another on this site.
Stu
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Old 7th September 2011, 04:59 AM   #62
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Hello Stu,

Yes, you're right. It is very difficult today to have a final decision on the origins of Moroccan or Arab Zanzibari Nimcha. That is why this subject is open and no door can not be truly closed.

Take the case of this Nimcha from Oriental Arms. I trust Adni of Aïfa when he described it as Zanzibari. Yet its profile and its guard are those of a Moroccan nimcha while its protection is typical of a Zanzibari nimcha .

I got in Algiers in 1962 (independence of Algeria) in stocks of the French Army a number of weapons that were taken of war in 1830. Among them, a Moroccan nimcha used by defenders of Alger. This shows that different types of weapons were circulating well throughout the Maghreb.

Now, armed Algerian troops ensured the protection of convoys of traveling pilgrims each year to Mecca. Possible that the Moroccan nimcha of an Algerian soldier has inspired a Yemeni pilgrim who then placed an order in Zanzibar. Why not?
This is how travel perhaps influences.

Regards Louis-Pierre
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Old 7th September 2011, 05:14 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by LPCA
Hello Stu,

Yes, you're right. It is very difficult today to have a final decision on the origins of Moroccan or Arab Zanzibari Nimcha. That is why this subject is open and no door can not be truly closed.

Take the case of this Nimcha from Oriental Arms. I trust Adni of Aïfa when he described it as Zanzibari. Yet its profile and its guard are those of a Moroccan nimcha while its protection is typical of a Zanzibari nimcha .

I got in Algiers in 1962 (independence of Algeria) in stocks of the French Army a number of weapons that were taken of war in 1830. Among them, a Moroccan nimcha used by defenders of Alger. This shows that different types of weapons were circulating well throughout the Maghreb.

Now, armed Algerian troops ensured the protection of convoys of traveling pilgrims each year to Mecca. Possible that the Moroccan nimcha of an Algerian soldier has inspired a Yemeni pilgrim who then placed an order in Zanzibar. Why not?
This is how travel perhaps influences.

Regards Louis-Pierre

I have no doubt that travel and trade over the years have indeed influenced styles in (amongst other things) weapons. However it is also beyond doubt that the exact origins of styles can only be assumed by the scholars of today. There can be no DEFINATE claims made unless of course there is documented and RELIABLE proof from earlier times.
Stu
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Old 7th September 2011, 02:23 PM   #64
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Default Yemeni Nimcha.

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Originally Posted by kahnjar1
NOT Magreb. The Magreb (Moroccan) has the dropping quillons and no D "guard"
Stu



Salaams Stu ~ Very good point ! The D Guard . Not Magreb,, agreed . Not Zanzibar either . Its a Yemeni Nimcha. The list of countries that have Nimcha specific styles grows longer. Magreb, Algeria, Saudia, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka, and the one which I forgot about ...The Yemeni Nimcha.
Louis Pierre... kind regards and thank you for the pictures and comparisons and I agree the door to the east remains wide open in this regard.
Kurt ... Salaams and your pictures of the Zanzibar perfect style at #1 and # 23 are superb.

Regards Ibrahim al Balooshi.
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Old 7th September 2011, 02:34 PM   #65
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Default The Yemeni Nimcha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas


Eid Mubarak! Salaams from Buraimi !! Kind regards from the entire team !! We hope you are well . Actually we hope you get a chance to pop over to the Tareq Rajeb Museum in Kuwait as they have a brilliant collection of Arabian Arms and even an old Omani Original Kattara from me years ago. I looked at the link you post and sure enough it is Yemeni. It is my advice that The Yemeni Nimcha is a style in its own right as are the Magrebi, Algerian, Saudia, Zanzibari and Sri Lankan versions. The Yemeni Nimcha.

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 7th September 2011, 10:08 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Eid Mubarak! Salaams from Buraimi !! Kind regards from the entire team !! We hope you are well . Actually we hope you get a chance to pop over to the Tareq Rajeb Museum in Kuwait as they have a brilliant collection of Arabian Arms and even an old Omani Original Kattara from me years ago. I looked at the link you post and sure enough it is Yemeni. It is my advice that The Yemeni Nimcha is a style in its own right as are the Magrebi, Algerian, Saudia, Zanzibari and Sri Lankan versions. The Yemeni Nimcha.

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Sorry I do not agree as to Yemeni for this. Artzi attributes this to Zanzibar, although not conclusively, and I believe with the knowledge he has it is likely to be correct. I have never ever seen any reference to a "Yemeni Nimcha", with a hilt even remotely resembling this style. Any Yemeni swords I have seen, either "in the flesh" or in books are like the attached pic and are called Sayf.
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Old 8th September 2011, 03:37 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Sorry I do not agree as to Yemeni for this. Artzi attributes this to Zanzibar, although not conclusively, and I believe with the knowledge he has it is likely to be correct. I have never ever seen any reference to a "Yemeni Nimcha", with a hilt even remotely resembling this style. Any Yemeni swords I have seen, either "in the flesh" or in books are like the attached pic and are called Sayf.


This may sound sacrilegious, but even Artzi, despite having forgotten more about swords than I will ever know, can be wrong sometimes. For example, there is a sboula that he attributed to Zanzibar, despite it being a Maghrebi weapon.

I am attaching a picture of a (rather ugly) hilt, which I believe is Yemeni in origin. The blade is Ethiopian, and we know that a lot of Ethiopian swords were imported in Yemen, because of their rhino hilts. The hilts were reworked to be used on jambiyas, while the blades were rehilted, sometimes in a very crude manner.

I acquired the sword from an Egyptian gentleman residing in Saudi Arabia, but the hilt style is unlikely to be Saudi, and I have to assume that it must have been imported there from a neighboring country. Again, Yemen makes a lot more sense than Zanzibar.

I do therefore believe that the hilts of this style with a straight grip, an a vestigial quillon are Yemeni and later, probably dating back to the middle of the 20th century.

Your sword Stu, on the other hand, has a slightly bent grip and its hilt looks to be of earlier and much nicer manufacture. Obviously, the above observations do not apply to it.
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Old 8th September 2011, 02:54 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Sorry I do not agree as to Yemeni for this. Artzi attributes this to Zanzibar, although not conclusively, and I believe with the knowledge he has it is likely to be correct. I have never ever seen any reference to a "Yemeni Nimcha", with a hilt even remotely resembling this style. Any Yemeni swords I have seen, either "in the flesh" or in books are like the attached pic and are called Sayf.


Salaams, There are many like this in Muscat said to be Yemeni. Ok country of origin ? Your Nimcha is possibly Zanzibari and quite likely with a German blade (e.g. Wilhelm Clauberg &Cie. of Solingen Germany) Though for that factory look for the knight stamp.. The D guard is an apparent give away for one style of Zanzibari hilt. This must mean that there are a number of Zanzibari styles under the banner "Nimcha" since some hilts dont have D guards. (see note below) The history books certainly bear that out as does this forum ! I see so many Nimchas in Oman all with Yemen as the origin and most are like yours though the quality of examples I've seen is poor. There are half a dozen in a souk shop just near me in Buraimi (the store owner is Yemeni) but the quality is low.
Does this mean that all Nimchas in the Yemen are Zanzibari? The fact that it has not entered the history books does not surprise me one bit. There are many areas in the field of ethnographic weapons that are either not yet fully catalogued in this region e.g. The Hadramaut link. The link between Omani and Yemeni Khanjars..The Mamluke Kattara link ... Axes of the Musandam peninsula...The Kastane Sri Lankan link... and so on..Once a sword becomes adopted by a nation or group it is generally accepted as passing into that areas "menu of weapons"; take for example the Omani Kattara which it can be argued is a European trade blade circa 17th C. It puzzles me why the Zanzibari Nimcha developed a D guard which looks like a very European structure ... Perhaps the Portuguese dreamed that one up ?...Could it be that this version went into the Zanzibar hub the long way around via The Cape with the Portuguese Dutch or English whereas the other derivatives spread in via the Red Sea?

Regards, Ibrahiim.

Note; While it is agreed that the D guard is a Zanzibari type, Buttin places more than 20 Nimcha on his plate at # 26 (Kurt) some with D guards some without. # 23 illustrates what I believe to be perhaps the "Iconic" Zanzibari version without a D.

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Old 8th September 2011, 03:05 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by TVV
This may sound sacrilegious, but even Artzi, despite having forgotten more about swords than I will ever know, can be wrong sometimes. For example, there is a sboula that he attributed to Zanzibar, despite it being a Maghrebi weapon.

I am attaching a picture of a (rather ugly) hilt, which I believe is Yemeni in origin. The blade is Ethiopian, and we know that a lot of Ethiopian swords were imported in Yemen, because of their rhino hilts. The hilts were reworked to be used on jambiyas, while the blades were rehilted, sometimes in a very crude manner.

I acquired the sword from an Egyptian gentleman residing in Saudi Arabia, but the hilt style is unlikely to be Saudi, and I have to assume that it must have been imported there from a neighboring country. Again, Yemen makes a lot more sense than Zanzibar.

I do therefore believe that the hilts of this style with a straight grip, an a vestigial quillon are Yemeni and later, probably dating back to the middle of the 20th century.

Your sword Stu, on the other hand, has a slightly bent grip and its hilt looks to be of earlier and much nicer manufacture. Obviously, the above observations do not apply to it.


Salaams, Great example of a Nimcha hilt which has been almost totally butchered and fitted to the Ethiopian (German) blade. These hilts though attributed to Zanzibar could in my opinion have been knocked up in Yemen easily. I think it is generally given the nod that Saudia Nimcha hilts have a straight crossguard often with a silvered hilt... Regards Ibrahiim.
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Old 8th September 2011, 05:12 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Sorry I do not agree as to Yemeni for this. Artzi attributes this to Zanzibar, although not conclusively, and I believe with the knowledge he has it is likely to be correct. I have never ever seen any reference to a "Yemeni Nimcha", with a hilt even remotely resembling this style. Any Yemeni swords I have seen, either "in the flesh" or in books are like the attached pic and are called Sayf.



Salaams,
There is a lot of conjecture about the hawkshead Yemeni sayf which may be derived from one of the Nimcha Hilts see Buttin 1007 on the plate earlier by Kurt #26.. or is this coincidental or even the other way round..Perhaps the hawklike head of the Shashka is responsible?
If it is the case that the Nimcha gave rise to the Yemeni Hawkshead then it follows that it too is a Nimcha variant. Ibrahiim.

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Old 10th September 2011, 04:57 PM   #71
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Default Burton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Louis-Pierre,
Its great to have you posting on this! and your work on these sa'if has been one of my best resources for research. It has been a long time ago, but represents some of the best research compiled on these swords to date outside the standard references, i.e. Elgood and Buttin.

I agree that this example with stout, short blade of hanger/cutlass type blade would suggest maritime use as you have well pointed out. The hilt form is really interesting and seems to derive, or at least compare to quillon arrangements and in degree, hilt styles of North Italy as early as the end of the 16th century. The earliest example of this style hilt seems to be found in a sword of stated North African style from the period of Murid III (1574-95), well placing it in the Ottoman sphere ("The Silver Dragon and the Golden Fish", David Alexander, p.235, fig. 7).

As appears in Buttin ("Catalogue de la Collection d'Armes: Europiennes et Orientales of Charles Buttin", 1933, #1004) the exact hilt style and motif is seen as well as apparantly in ivory, shown as 'Arab, 17th century". The interesting highly stylized and blockish quillon terminals are also present.

It appears that this hilt style must have become highly favored and like many ethnographic hilt forms, perpetuated over long periods. Even in cases where other hilt forms intercede, often revivalist inclinations result in returning to the much revered old styles. This makes it difficult of course in establishing reliable chronological development patterns in many of these sword forms.

The term nim'sha, as has often been pointed out, by its alluded etymology to an Arabic term referring to 'short sword', has often, actually most typically, been misapplied to most of these sa'if from the Maghrebi versions to many of these hilt forms which have full size blades, yet still called 'nimsha'. It seems that the term itself, like many of the terms referring to many sword forms (katar, kaskara, kilij, tulwar, paluouar et al) falls into the colloquial 'collectors' glossary, in which they have apparantly been derived from unclear misinterpretations or broad assumptions. Some of these seem purely contrived, such as with the fanciful term 'scimitar' which appears more the product of literary convention than any reliable etymology.

Returning to this sword, the reference to it being of Zanzibar production brings it in parallel to the familiar sa'ifs of similar hilt form, but with the extended 'D' type ring projecting from the crossguard, presents an interesting conundrum. I have yet been unable to find any reference that unequivocally designates these sa'if with open ringed crossguard extensions or traverse bar to Zanzibar. I have only heard this conjecturally aside from in "Islamic Weapons:Maghreb to Moghul" (A. Tirri, 2003) in which Tirri claims on p.79, "...in Zanzibar, documentary evidence identifies an extensive edged weapon manufacturing center during the 19th and early 20th centuries".
In the Buttin catalog (op. cit. examples 996-1004) of the entire array of these ringed guard sa'ifs are designated as "Arab' and to the 17th and 18th centuries. It is clearly noted that thier characteristic rings also derived from North Italian hilt systems.

Unfortunately Mr. Tirri does not cite the source for the 'documentary evidence' which would have been most helpful. Another dilemma involving 'Zanzibar' weapons are the 'H' shaped (baselard form) short swords termed 'Zanzibar swords' , which designation derives from Sir Richard Burton's 1885 "Book of the Sword". In this case Burton (p.166, fig.183) actually perpetuated an original error in Auguste Demmens 1877 reference where he misidentifies the weapon as a Zanzibar weapon (p.416, #100). Charles Buttin (op.cit, p.270) cites this error in detail, and clarifies that the weapon is in reality the Moroccan form known as s'boula and these seem to have traversed the trade routes via Sekkin and into Zanzibar.

The diffusion of these weapon forms through these trade routes, both maritime as well as trans-Saharan caravans in indisputable. The broad identification as 'Arab' is probably most applicable in most cases where sound provenance is not attainable in my opinion.

I would very much like to know if anyone knows of any documented evidence assigning the ring hilted sa'if form to Zanzibar in specific, and to thier production there. In the case of Muscat (this coastal region of Oman was the actual trade operation), thier connection to thier Sultanate in Zanzibar offers more tangible assessment of 'Zanzibar' to this cutlass as it is hard to say which location actually produced the weapons...both were ports of call receiving large quantities of trade blades.

As earlier mentioned, there are potential cases for Hyderabad in India, via the Malabar trade route also plied by these dhows. These type hilts are known in India as well, in what degree unclear, but it is known that here swords were produced for Hadhramaut in the Yemen. The so called Zanzibar sa'if, while unclear if actually produced in Zanzibar were indeed destined for Yemen, so it would appear these hilts may have been produced at several locations, while it remains certain that they were present throughout the Arab trade sphere.


All best regards,
Jim


Salaams Jim,
Writing to you from a hurricane battered Buraimi which has just torn its way through the Oasis... quite an event ! Our store sign board is 500 metres down the road !
I read with interest your letter and thought the question of Burton and his innaccuracies could be the result of his failure to be exact in a number of issues and as you know his tendency to write with himself at the centre and the debacle of his once friend and travelling colleague which ended in suicide etc etc... Burton is not my choice of historic personalities but with this in mind perhaps I have an alternative source of more believable information. (Burton was in my opinion also remiss about aspects of swords and weapons in Zanzibar) .

W H Ingrams wrote an excellent book about Zanzibar (Zanzibar: Its History and Its People by W. H. Ingrams ) where he was a political secretary etc in the early 1900s and it was one of his written sketches that pointed me in the direction of the Omani Funun as a possible and eventually successful lead on the Omani Kattara saga.

I just finished reading a Hammond Innes 60s copy of travels in the Yemen (Hadramaut) and Ingrams gets a mention there as well therefor I had to research this quite amazing gentlemans history which looks like this..and source ed in the Oxford University collection St Antonys College where apparently they hold 14 boxes of his official papers;

Reference code: GB165-0156
Title: William Harold Ingrams Collection
Name of creator: Ingrams, William Harold (1897-1973) Colonial Administrator, Author
Dates of creation of material: 1841-1872; 1915; 1930-1966
Level of description: Fonds
Extent: 14 boxes

Biographical history: INGRAMS, William Harold (1897-1973)
Born 3 February 1897, son of Revd. W.S. Ingrams. Educated at Shrewsbury School. Served European War, KSLI, 1914-1918. Asst District commissioner, Zanzibar in 1919; 2nd Asst Sec., 1925; Asst. Col. Sec., Mauritius, 1927; Acting Colonial Sec., Jan.-May & Aug. 1932-April 1933; Political Officer, Aden, 1934; British Resident Adviser at Mukalla, S. Arabia, 1937-1940; Acting Governor of Aden, 1940; Chief Sec. to Govt., Aden, 1940-1942; Resident Adviser Hadhramaut States and British Agent E. Aden Protectorate, 1942-1945; Asst. Sec. Allied Control Commission for Germany (British Element) 1945-1947; Chief Commander of Northern Territories, Gold Coast during 1947-1948; Mission to Gibraltar, 1949; to Hong Kong, 1950, to Uganda, 1956; Adviser on Overseas Information, CO, 1950-1954. Editor of “Commonwealth Challenge” and “If you ask me”, 1952-1966; Joint Research Dept, Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, 1966; retired in 1968. Married, 1930, Doreen Short (1906-1997): 2 daughters. Died 9 December 1973.

This is a phenomenal British Character and I promote his work and his Zanzibar book as a reference for this fine forum. W. H. INGRAMS.

Regards,

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 29th March 2014, 03:09 PM   #72
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Default Zanzibari Nimcha...Ivory Comb...Buttin.

Salaams all... Whilst rumbling about in Library I was inspired to look for relative design style of the Zanzibar Nimcha hilt decoration...and in trying to identify Zanzibar as the manufactuiring base for such items...This of course is very difficult and readers are cautioned that the entire African coastal strip on mainland Africa in that region was called Zanj. Personally I suspect that other Nimcha sword forms originated in the Zanj (perhaps I will expend on that theory later) however, for now the intriguing design to an Ivory "Zanzibari" Comb bearing the same style as the hilt of the Zanzibari Nimcha shown ... from http://www.michaelbackmanltd.com/65.html

There are many Nimcha references on Library e.g http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=nimcha from which the sword below is borrowed.

For Interest I also show the Buttin page.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 30th March 2014, 02:35 AM   #73
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Absolutely excellent entry Ibrahiim, and good comparison of decorative style of Zanzibari material culture applied on this sa'if hilt of 'nimcha' style. In this case we have compelling evidence comparatively suggesting this sword to have been produced in Zanzibar.
It is interesting to note that the 'D' ring guard feature which has been claimed to be a characteristic of these swords produced in Zanzibar is notably absent.

As I noted in a concurrent thread on Zanzibar nimchas, in rechecking the Buttin reference shown, all of these examples shown (#996-1002) are classified as "Arab' and from 17th into 18th centuries.
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Old 30th March 2014, 01:43 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Absolutely excellent entry Ibrahiim, and good comparison of decorative style of Zanzibari material culture applied on this sa'if hilt of 'nimcha' style. In this case we have compelling evidence comparatively suggesting this sword to have been produced in Zanzibar.
It is interesting to note that the 'D' ring guard feature which has been claimed to be a characteristic of these swords produced in Zanzibar is notably absent.

As I noted in a concurrent thread on Zanzibar nimchas, in rechecking the Buttin reference shown, all of these examples shown (#996-1002) are classified as "Arab' and from 17th into 18th centuries.



Salaams Jim .. This discovery is 100% down to Michael Backman ... I was just the postman! In looking around I also pulled a few carved combs out of the system though not gold worked certainly from the same region. The "Michael Backman Comb" however sets a benchmark next to this important sword as a statement to its (the hilt) manufacture on Zanzibar.

Below another comb from the same region though not worked in gold showing the roundels in its design (similar to the roundels on the displayed Nimcha Hilt and the *"swirling roundels" on the scabbard ) and another scene of Swahili girls on Zanzibar combing hair; from www.ezakwantu.com

*A style usually attributed as Omani though the common link to Zanzibar is likely.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 1st April 2014, 04:41 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
It's fascinating to see all the stylistic variations of nimchas and saifs out there. In looking through all the recent threads on the subject, it appears that they always have falling quillions above and below the blade. Which makes sense from a functional point of view.

Here's some photos of what looks like a very crude nimcha with the falling quillions on the sides of the blade rather than above and below. It's from an auction I didn't win. In fact I didn't even bid on it since it's too homely even for my low standards. Is this a known variation on the nimcha/saif? Apologies for posting such an ugly sword in a thread with such beauties



Salaams Blue Lander ~ I think you will find that Nimcha variants of this form... I mean with somewhat "flimsy hilt and guards" are a mark of the less well manufactured work coming from the Yemen .. Im not sure if the slump in quality was because of the exit in and after 1948 by Jewish craftsmen but I am aware of a huge rehilting network (Sanaa) taking blades from everywhere and anywhere... mainly Ethiopian; see example at #67 ..from 1970 ..and doing a cheap rehilting makeover often removing better hilt material for the Jambia market (Rhino) and replacing with mediocre hilts displaying very poor hilt metalwork..

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 1st April 2014, 05:05 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams Blue Lander ~ I think you will find that Nimcha variants of this form... I mean with somewhat "flimsy hilt and guards" are a mark of the less well manufactured work coming from the Yemen .. Im not sure if the slump in quality was because of the exit in and after 1948 by Jewish craftsmen but I am aware of a huge rehilting network (Sanaa) taking blades from everywhere and anywhere... mainly Ethiopian; see example at #67 ..from 1970 ..and doing a cheap rehilting makeover often removing better hilt material for the Jambia market (Rhino) and replacing with mediocre hilts displaying very poor hilt metalwork..

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Nothing to do with the departure of the Jewish as these were (mainly) silversmiths.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 03:23 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Nothing to do with the departure of the Jewish as these were (mainly) silversmiths.


Salaams~ Not entirely so~ Please see http://www.hebrewhistory.info/factp...-1_gold.htm#ch7 which sets down the regional Jewish specialities that as you know encompass certain blades including of course Yemeni Janbia, belts etc. They were also the artesans in lampmaking, tailor made items, gold and silversmiths, and both Yemeni Muslim and Jewish wedding jewelers.

I am aware that pre 1948 the finest daggersThe Jambia were made by Jewish hands; It would be most peculiar if these craftsmen were not involved in sword making...not only the lavish and superb hilt and scabbard makers of wedding swords but in the production of blades..they certainly made the other related tools such as ploughs and digging implements commonly associated with blade making. Surely they were the best blacksmiths in Yemen? It should also be observed that I am not simply saying they made the blades... they possibly may not have ... but production of swords did not necessarily mean they made the blades as well... "Sword production" ...fitting swords together...importing blades...and adding hilts and scabbards was also common. They had on their doorstep a sword making region in Hadramaut...and of course imports from Hyderabad..

In fact Jewish involvement in the pan Indian Oceanic spices trade (see reference) ensured that they would have been very much front and centre in importing iron and steel around the region. We know that the Yemeni traders were well into land ownership in Java etc and were part of the scenery in Hyderabad...It is my view that amongst these traders were the famous mercantile traders ... The Jews.

The fog appears around the late 1940s and not long after with the continued exodus. It is easy to see how history erodes their speciality from Yemeni artefacts.

How decoration and quality has been affected in the Nimcha is hard to ascertain but I cannot imagine a sword made in Yemen to be so badly constructed in the hilt ...being allowed to exist before 1948... in a region boasting the finest hilt makers in the world. After 1948, however, there was a huge decline in craftsmanship.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 2nd April 2014, 04:18 PM   #78
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In response to Blue Lander (post #75), while this is indeed a crude munitions grade weapon, with hilt in 'nimcha' style, I would point out that the telling point is that langet style foldover on the guard. This feature is characteristic on the shellguard 'cutlass' type sabres which have been shown as Spanish colonial of Caribbean and primarily South American origin.

The same feature is seen on espada's with flat, striated shells on their guard also known Spanish colonial, and of 18th century.

I would say these swords, noting they all have the characteristic hand nock in the grip, are well connected to this wide spectrum of colonial swords which have these features and trade blades and which includes the Spanish regions of Morocco.

This is an excellent example of how these often humbly regarded weapons help us in better understanding the historical scope of these regions, and the true purpose of the study of ethnographic weapons.

Turning to the well supported notes on Jewish craftsmen Ibrahiim has added, I would like to add that in Ethiopia that the Falashas , better known as Beta Israel, were the craftsmen who furbished weapons for the Amharic rulers and were of course essentially of the Jewish faith. In Morocco, the craftsmen producing arms were often Jewish, though I cannot recall their name. Many of these craftsmen accompanied trans Saharan caravans with the Hajj Pilgrims which travelled through these Ethiopian regions, which included Harar , the bustling entrepot which was key in Red Sea trade and on the way to Arabian destinations.

This is of course a most brief description only touching on the complexity of these networks and how extensively Jewish artisans were involved in many areas of material culture crafts, which extended far beyond simply silver work and jewelry. They were also prevalent in all manner of decorating and furbishing arms, their skills clearly covering North Africa, and into Arabia from their long ancestry in these in Andalusian Spain.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 05:03 PM   #79
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I think that the word CRAFTSMEN used by both Jim and Ibrahiim confirms what I was trying to say on my reply above. The lack of quality work in the subject sword hilt to my mind is not what a Jewish CRAFTSMAN would turn out.
Stu
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Old 2nd April 2014, 05:07 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
In response to Blue Lander (post #75), while this is indeed a crude munitions grade weapon, with hilt in 'nimcha' style, I would point out that the telling point is that langet style foldover on the guard. This feature is characteristic on the shellguard 'cutlass' type sabres which have been shown as Spanish colonial of Caribbean and primarily South American origin.

The same feature is seen on espada's with flat, striated shells on their guard also known Spanish colonial, and of 18th century.

I would say these swords, noting they all have the characteristic hand nock in the grip, are well connected to this wide spectrum of colonial swords which have these features and trade blades and which includes the Spanish regions of Morocco.

This is an excellent example of how these often humbly regarded weapons help us in better understanding the historical scope of these regions, and the true purpose of the study of ethnographic weapons.

Turning to the well supported notes on Jewish craftsmen Ibrahiim has added, I would like to add that in Ethiopia that the Falashas , better known as Beta Israel, were the craftsmen who furbished weapons for the Amharic rulers and were of course essentially of the Jewish faith. In Morocco, the craftsmen producing arms were often Jewish, though I cannot recall their name. Many of these craftsmen accompanied trans Saharan caravans with the Hajj Pilgrims which travelled through these Ethiopian regions, which included Harar , the bustling entrepot which was key in Red Sea trade and on the way to Arabian destinations.

This is of course a most brief description only touching on the complexity of these networks and how extensively Jewish artisans were involved in many areas of material culture crafts, which extended far beyond simply silver work and jewelry. They were also prevalent in all manner of decorating and furbishing arms, their skills clearly covering North Africa, and into Arabia from their long ancestry in these in Andalusian Spain.


Salaams Jim, Excellent detail on the shell style guards and other researched detail...and certainly there is evidence of Spanish ships in the Indian Ocean...I wonder where this one originated ? You mentioned Jewish influence in Morocco ~Please see http://www.hebrewhistory.info/factp...p017-1_gold.htm for a link to Moroccan Jewish involvement.

It seems to me that most of the Nimcha blades with some attachment to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean are from German and European sources. Is this simply a matter of trade blades being teamed up with hilts (of a Zanzibari Style) and scabbards (often with swirls in the leather Omani Style)? Buttin notes Arabian... rather than nominating a specific nation.

It seems the Billao style hilt pictured below is African ~Somalia. and very similar to the Nimcha on Buttins chart of that type.

Regarding the roughly made hilts ~Are we saying that the roughly knocked up versions are late Yemeni copies? (I would agree on that) These, therefor, could be something of a late red herring ... An entire shoal of them !!

The lavish VIP Ivory and Gold Hilt (with supporting comb) would appear to be Hilt and scabbard made in Zanzibar... blade European? or Hyderabad or Hadramaut?

In regarding all things Zanzibari it is worth pointing out the confusion even in maps... see below where "Zanguebar" fills a place between Mozambique and the Gulf of Aden ! It begs the question that if a weapon was described as coming from Zanzibar where, in fact, did that mean?

As you point out we are dealing with "sword networks" and unless we can be quite specific the description has to be entertained with a broad brush view.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 05:27 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
I think that the word CRAFTSMEN used by both Jim and Ibrahiim confirms what I was trying to say on my reply above. The lack of quality work in the subject sword hilt to my mind is not what a Jewish CRAFTSMAN would turn out.
Stu


Well noted Stu, and important to note the quality represented in their work. What I wanted to clarify was the broad extent and history of these artisans in the scope of what we are discussing, and that they were indeed very involved in decoration an furbishing of weapons in varying degree.
Indeed this information does confirm your statement as well as align it with the context intended in Ibrahiims observation.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 2nd April 2014, 06:12 PM   #82
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Added Artwork for interest and general info from The National Maritime Museum has a picture of an Algerian sword or nimcha which Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Hopsonn took from a Barbary Corsair slaver in 1676 when First Lieutenant of HMS Dragon, having led a boarding party in which he wrenched the weapon from his assailant and ran him through with it. He commanded HMS York at the Battle of Solebay (1672) and HMS St Michael at the Battle of Barfleur (1690).

Odd but by no means surprising is the actual sword shown below from http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collec...ects/78504.html proving that the artistic licence extended to an applied hilt and blade change..which would not have affected the chap who was run through at all...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 06:36 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
Thank you Jim and Ibrahiim for providing context on that sword. I ended up not bidding on that one because I thought the fullers looked uneven. I assumed it was some indiginous imitation of a European blade. The seller had another sword that looks to be from the same source. It bears no resemblance to a nimcha, but I'm posting it here in case it sheds some light on their common origin.



While this one (post #82) seems to have the same simplistic munitions gestalt, the shape of the hilt is of course quite different from the familiar hand nocked hilt of the 'nimcha' group, which at this point in discussion includes those of the Arabian spheres as well as Spanish colonial.
The shape brings to mind earlier anomalies which reflected certain characteristics of both North African and Philippines/Indonesian influences.
I am attaching one of these with similar European cavalry type blade and a hilt shape vaguely resembling 'Spanish Main' swords we have ben discussing.
The simple guard on the posted example by Blue Lander seems to be of the almost vestigial guards used on Philippines items.

The strong connections trade and colonial between North Africa and Spains colonial sphere there via Mexico, Cuba, Central and South America westward to the Philippines and Indonesian contacts are complex but well established.
We have seen examples of parang from Sumatra with takouba blades and other such anomalous examples


Regarding the ivory and gold nimcha examples in posts #72 and #74 which show Zanzibar for provenance as well supported by other material culture motif, I think it is important to remember that these similarities are purely decorative. These do not apply to the structural and featured elements being considered as designators to Zanzibar attribution of hilt form.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 07:56 PM   #84
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What do you make of the guard on the sword I posted? It's round like a dha but it seems to have the same thumb "knob" that you'd see on an European cavalry degen.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 10:07 PM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
What do you make of the guard on the sword I posted? It's round like a dha but it seems to have the same thumb "knob" that you'd see on an European cavalry degen.


Sorry, I guess I didn't make my previous post clear. It seems to me this vestigial type guard on this hilt may be from the Philippines, and does not seem in any way North African nor Spanish colonial. That is the reason I mentioned the curious piece which had certain features recalling these 'Berber' type sabres, but only in nuanced sense. The idea I was trying to express is that in these trade networks these kinds of anomalies are of course going to occur, and accurately placing them is pretty unlikely without substantial provenance.
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Old 3rd April 2014, 02:53 PM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
Thank you Jim and Ibrahiim for providing context on that sword. I ended up not bidding on that one because I thought the fullers looked uneven. I assumed it was some indiginous imitation of a European blade. The seller had another sword that looks to be from the same source. It bears no resemblance to a nimcha, but I'm posting it here in case it sheds some light on their common origin.



QUESTION: Is this sword presently at auction? or for sale?
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Old 3rd April 2014, 03:28 PM   #87
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No, it must have ended weeks ago. I don't think anybody bought it though.
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Old 3rd April 2014, 08:34 PM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
No, it must have ended weeks ago. I don't think anybody bought it though.



I am being advised that when these items do not sell in these particular auctions they are apparently automatically relisted. Did you check to ensure that neither of these two swords are presently listed in that auction?

While I very much appreciate the opportunity to see these items and use them in discussion, it is essential that we observe the rules here. For those reading who are not familiar, actually it is rule #1 (at the top of this page under the heading forum rules and regulations) which states items that are in current auctions or for sale are prohibited from being posted for discussion.
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Old 3rd April 2014, 09:25 PM   #89
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You're right, I had no idea they had been relisted. My apologies. If a mod could delete the photos I'd appreciate it.
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Old 7th April 2014, 09:11 AM   #90
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Default Nimcha Hilts ...Made in Zanzibar or ??

It may be worth observing http://www.qucosa.de/fileadmin/data...3_02_athman.pdf for a comprehensive look at Swahili wood carving...which also mentions early settlers from North Africa...My search is aimed at identification of a Zanzibar Hub production centre (or not) for Nimcha hilts...

It seems apparent that the VIP style of Omani Zanzibari Ivory and Gold hilts were produced by artesans in Zanzibar, however, was there a manufacturing unit for the other well made sturdy Rosewood or Rhino Hilts with substantial ironwork guards?...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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