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Old 13th April 2014, 05:55 PM   #91
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Some comparisons in the Pommel of two Zanzibari Nimcha ~ a decorative design which appears to be some sort of leaf design...perhaps a herb?... in silver.

Shown also is a rough hewn copy probably Yemeni of the same motiff...

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Old 13th April 2014, 06:21 PM   #92
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Please see http://badger.uvm.edu/omeka/exhibit...502010/item/574 for an interesting Nimcha said to be the work of a German sword maker called Schimmelbusch.

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Old 13th April 2014, 07:05 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Shown also is a rough hewn copy probably Yemeni of the same motiff...



The nimcha in question. http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=nimcha
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 13th April 2014, 10:02 PM   #94
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I had not noticed the curious stylized pommel plate on these nimchas Ibrahiim, interesting element. The simplistic design here seems to recall the 'calyx' type flourish usually found on the back of blades right at the hilt where the blade enters. It seems an extension of the backstrap and is typically a 'leaf' type shape, characteristic on Central Asian weapons such as Khyber knives and pesh kabz.
Another stylized image would be the component on scabbard throat mounts of Yemeni sa'if which is often termed the 'aghreb' (=scorpion?). These mounts are apparently fashioned in Hyderabad in India, and of course well within the trade sphere to Arabia and further to Zanzibar.

The influences of Central Asian arms and those from India were of course well represented in Ottoman contexts with mercenary forces which were largely present in their forces.

Though highly stylized these sometimes roughly presented forms still carry the nuance of the tradition and symbolism on the more elegant examples of these arms. While this comparison is admittedly tenuous and speculative, it seems worthy of consideration.

The Schimmelbusch family was a dynasty of swordsmiths in Solingen from beginning of 17th century to end of the 19th. They began using the shooting star symbol in 1777, and these makers were apparently one of the more prolific suppliers of blades to Red Sea trade, which included Zanzibar. Like other Solingen producers, they of course only supplied blades, but not hilts
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Old 14th April 2014, 06:30 AM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I had not noticed the curious stylized pommel plate on these nimchas Ibrahiim, interesting element. The simplistic design here seems to recall the 'calyx' type flourish usually found on the back of blades right at the hilt where the blade enters. It seems an extension of the backstrap and is typically a 'leaf' type shape, characteristic on Central Asian weapons such as Khyber knives and pesh kabz.
Another stylized image would be the component on scabbard throat mounts of Yemeni sa'if which is often termed the 'aghreb' (=scorpion?). These mounts are apparently fashioned in Hyderabad in India, and of course well within the trade sphere to Arabia and further to Zanzibar.

The influences of Central Asian arms and those from India were of course well represented in Ottoman contexts with mercenary forces which were largely present in their forces.

Though highly stylized these sometimes roughly presented forms still carry the nuance of the tradition and symbolism on the more elegant examples of these arms. While this comparison is admittedly tenuous and speculative, it seems worthy of consideration.

The Schimmelbusch family was a dynasty of swordsmiths in Solingen from beginning of 17th century to end of the 19th. They began using the shooting star symbol in 1777, and these makers were apparently one of the more prolific suppliers of blades to Red Sea trade, which included Zanzibar. Like other Solingen producers, they of course only supplied blades, but not hilts

Hi Jim,
The silver decoration is separate and is not part of the backstrap. My pic has been used above to illustrate. Here it is again.
Stu
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Old 14th April 2014, 03:11 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Hi Jim,
The silver decoration is separate and is not part of the backstrap. My pic has been used above to illustrate. Here it is again.
Stu

Khanjar 1, Jim, Norman ~ Salaams all;

Khanjar 1 That leaf pattern...Its identical .. Absolutely to the other Nimcha ...and so are the quillons. That means we could be looking at the same manufacturing base.. My thoughts are that this could be foliage or plant based... herbal or spice related thus the link to perhaps Zanzibar (Nutmeg for example). It could be scorpion in style thus Hyderabad enters the scene as pointed out by Jim above...It is my view that this type of work (and it is very specific and of a high quality compared to the roughly hewn Yemeni type) could in fact be military~ and currently the chase is on to track one down. It would not surprise me at all to discover the weapon as an issue weapon to Omani Military... Navy?...Officers in the 19th C.

Jim Thanks for the heads up on Hyderabad ... I am fairly confident that this hilt mark is a pointer to the manufacturing base of the hilts unless it transpires the emblem was added later after the hilts were delivered. Could it be that the hilts were made either in Zanzibar in which case I need to see the top of the pommels on the gold and Ivory items to compare.. or are we possibly looking at Hyderabadi style, imported hilts. Naturally I have not ruled out Hadramaut. I remember a potential weapon from there with almost the same pommel decorationon in brass http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...anzibari+nimcha

Norman..Yes; superb sword (I may be wrong about the pommel top on yours as it has the superb quillons of the Ivory and Gold Zanzibari Nimcha. Maybe it just fell off and got replaced. I have some notes on that sword somewhere...and I have added those to your fine thread on the subject...at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=nimcha

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 14th April 2014, 05:21 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Hi Jim,
The silver decoration is separate and is not part of the backstrap. My pic has been used above to illustrate. Here it is again.
Stu


Thanks Stu, what I meant in suggesting the 'calyx' type fixture or device in motif on Central Asian edged weapons' backstraps was the basic gestalt in its stylized botanical context......not that here it was part of the backstrap.
Sorry for not being more clear.

Ibrahiim, on these almost munitions grade examples, this highly stylized and virtually vestigial representation as a fixture on the pommel of these nimchas does not seem likely to be intended as an emblem or distinguishing feature.
I do like the idea of seeking indigenous botanical association in motif though. I know that with Daghestani weapons for example, the botanical representation of vines etc are sometimes key in identifying regional work, from what I have been told.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 14th April 2014, 06:22 PM   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thanks Stu, what I meant in suggesting the 'calyx' type fixture or device in motif on Central Asian edged weapons' backstraps was the basic gestalt in its stylized botanical context......not that here it was part of the backstrap.
Sorry for not being more clear.

Ibrahiim, on these almost munitions grade examples, this highly stylized and virtually vestigial representation as a fixture on the pommel of these nimchas does not seem likely to be intended as an emblem or distinguishing feature.
I do like the idea of seeking indigenous botanical association in motif though. I know that with Daghestani weapons for example, the botanical representation of vines etc are sometimes key in identifying regional work, from what I have been told.

All the best,
Jim



Salaams Jim, The leaf, spice plant or scorpion (I prefer that) shape keeps cropping up on Pommels on what I believe are Zanzibari Nimcha. Most of the Ivory and Gold example hilts have this embellishment.
Thus, I am now able to compare a number of structures on this hilt with the style above in rosewood..and occasionally possibly horn material...and which I suspect are Military weapons though as yet without proof...The avenue of approach ie the botanical slant was in reference to one of the three main reasons for the entry of these great powers into the Indian Ocean... Spices. The closest I can get to that is Nutmeg but it could be something else as you say... maybe scorpion....or lobster ...famous in that region..

If by showing that some of these comparisons are the same and where we know that style is Zanzibari then we move the pointer closer to a Zanzibari hilt(and scabbard). I think that is the case for 2, 4 and 7 below...and offer the others for comment and in support.

In fact~ are the pointers noted below not what defines the Zanzibar Nimcha Hilt...? See picture of Zanzibar and Mediterranean Nimcha below.


Not withstanding the same general shape and cut of the hilts the specific pointers for comparison of both types are;

1. Dots on the spine of the short rainguard.
2. Decoration on the end/finial of the handguard.
3. X shaped leaves on the handguard and where it exists the same X shape on the D ring.
4. The Omani roundels on the scabbard.
5. The ferule at the base of the hilt. Silver.
6. The marks on the hilt where the handguard touches, OVO shapes.See 52 second picture. In some examples silvered.In some examples two O shapes though in others 3...set as a triangle. See Below .
7. The odd shape we are examining here which looks scorpion like or leaf form. Often silver, occasionally base metal. See below a brass example..

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 14th April 2014, 07:00 PM   #99
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For interest on scabbard furniture ~compare these...
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Old 14th April 2014, 09:17 PM   #100
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In revisiting post #67, Teodor posted an interesting hilt type nimcha which has the distinct D ring guard which has long been attributed loosely to Zanzibar. This hilt is however notably different in the rather blockish pommel area with metal cover and the interesting lozenge type insets in the grip.
The blade has a crudely inscribed Star of Solomon surround over the initials M.K. and is one of the deeply channeled straight blades known to have been exported to Abyssinia from Solingen around end of the 19th century .
The MK is believed to have been M.Kevorkoff & Co. in Harar, Ethiopia.

These blades were typically mounted there with rhino hilts for shotel, and many ended up being sent to Yemen, where the hilts were removed for janbiyya and the blades were usually remounted in San'aa with various silver hilts.

In his post, Teodor stated he had obtained this from an Egyptian gentleman in Saudi Arabia.

It seems that this rather crude hilt form is characteristic of the sabre hilts of Bedouin in Palestinian regions, often Sinai. However, the characteristic D ring is that seen in many sabres (nimcha) known to have been used in Yemen as ersatz weapons during conflicts in the mid 20th century. These were part of the lot obtained by Artzi as discussed and somehow the apparent origin of the Zanzibar attribution.

It would seem that the MK blade which is typically associated with the Harar entrepot in Ethiopia, and subsequent traffic to San'aa for 'redistribution' of hilt materials, suggests it may have been rehilted there in this case with the ring hilt guard. As it is an unusual hybrid in hilt style, with the also familiar metal wrap around hilt often seen in Yemen examples, as well as the ring hilt and attributes of other Bedouin styles.....it seems that production or use of these D ring hilts centers in Yemen regions.

While the Zanzibar nimcha hilt of ivory and gold embellished seems to reflect characteristic decorative features of that location, it does not seem to represent a commonly known type which might be designated 'Zanzibari' other than its decorative motif.

The presence of this stylized and somewhat distinctive pommel cap device does present some interesting possibilities however, and quite honestly I had not thought of this before, admittedly not noticing these. It does seem that in photographing or presenting swords the pommel cap or motif is often overlooked . This has long been an issue with swords such as tulwars, which often have distinctive designs and motif inside the disc.

It does seem that the application of this device as a pommel cap may well have apotropaic intent, much as the 'aghrab' on many Arab sword mounts.
On the other hand of course, this could simply be an aesthetic feature but it seems curious that if that were the case, such attention would be afforded to 'design' in otherwise crude and vestigial applications in some instances.
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Old 15th April 2014, 03:20 AM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
In revisiting post #67, Teodor posted an interesting hilt type nimcha which has the distinct D ring guard which has long been attributed loosely to Zanzibar. This hilt is however notably different in the rather blockish pommel area with metal cover and the interesting lozenge type insets in the grip.
The blade has a crudely inscribed Star of Solomon surround over the initials M.K. and is one of the deeply channeled straight blades known to have been exported to Abyssinia from Solingen around end of the 19th century .
The MK is believed to have been M.Kevorkoff & Co. in Harar, Ethiopia.

These blades were typically mounted there with rhino hilts for shotel, and many ended up being sent to Yemen, where the hilts were removed for janbiyya and the blades were usually remounted in San'aa with various silver hilts.

In his post, Teodor stated he had obtained this from an Egyptian gentleman in Saudi Arabia.

It seems that this rather crude hilt form is characteristic of the sabre hilts of Bedouin in Palestinian regions, often Sinai. However, the characteristic D ring is that seen in many sabres (nimcha) known to have been used in Yemen as ersatz weapons during conflicts in the mid 20th century. These were part of the lot obtained by Artzi as discussed and somehow the apparent origin of the Zanzibar attribution.

It would seem that the MK blade which is typically associated with the Harar entrepot in Ethiopia, and subsequent traffic to San'aa for 'redistribution' of hilt materials, suggests it may have been rehilted there in this case with the ring hilt guard. As it is an unusual hybrid in hilt style, with the also familiar metal wrap around hilt often seen in Yemen examples, as well as the ring hilt and attributes of other Bedouin styles.....it seems that production or use of these D ring hilts centers in Yemen regions.

While the Zanzibar nimcha hilt of ivory and gold embellished seems to reflect characteristic decorative features of that location, it does not seem to represent a commonly known type which might be designated 'Zanzibari' other than its decorative motif.

The presence of this stylized and somewhat distinctive pommel cap device does present some interesting possibilities however, and quite honestly I had not thought of this before, admittedly not noticing these. It does seem that in photographing or presenting swords the pommel cap or motif is often overlooked . This has long been an issue with swords such as tulwars, which often have distinctive designs and motif inside the disc.

It does seem that the application of this device as a pommel cap may well have apotropaic intent, much as the 'aghrab' on many Arab sword mounts.
On the other hand of course, this could simply be an aesthetic feature but it seems curious that if that were the case, such attention would be afforded to 'design' in otherwise crude and vestigial applications in some instances.

Hi Jim,
I agree with your theory regarding this blade as I now have it here. It was definitely originally from Ethiopia as the fuller decoration is typical. Here are some pics of how this sword now appears after some minor attention to the hilt.
There was some discussion elsewhere on the Forum that this blade may have originally been straight. IMHO this is not the case, as had it been, then the fuller decoration would have been stretched. It has not. The last pic shows a small amount of the decoration which fills the total length of the fullers.
Regards Stu
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Old 15th April 2014, 05:30 AM   #102
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Hi Stu,
This unusual style hilt as I noted, appears similar to some hilts of the sabres used by Bedouin tribes of Sinai and into Palestinian regions from what I have understood. Mostly I am referring to the rather block style pommel instead of the more familiar 'hand nock', excluding the guard (the Palestinian types are guardless). The metal sheet wrap around it seems similar to other Yemeni hilts, as does the piton type D ring guard, which as we have now determined, is a form of guard in a cache of these swords acquired by Artzi around 20 years ago and from Yemen.

After a long period of assuming these ring guards were Zanzibari, as per discussions with Artzi, it now seems that while they were indeed provenanced from Yemen, there is no real proof they were assembled fully in Zanzibar as he suggested. Therefore there is no reason to presume these distinctive guards are indicative of Zanzibar .
They indeed appear to be 'Arab' as classified in Buttin (1933) in all the illustrated examples with this feature.

In going through notes this evening I discovered another example of the same type hilt as yours, metal wrapped pommel section, metal knuckleguard and D ring guard, and was posted in 2010 on another forum. Interestingly the motif on the grips were the same diamond shapes but also roundels. The blade on this one had the same deep channels and in this case Busch & Son(?) latter 19th c. Solingen.

I do recall the discussions some years ago claiming that blades were at times realigned from straight to curved and vice versa.
In the latter 19th century, around 1890s and later, there were considerable arrangements between Menelik II and both German and British blade suppliers to import blades. There was also considerable traffic outside official channels with such blades to private importers in Harar and Addis Adaba, mostly Armenian merchants in Harar.
A large number of these blades were deep channeled blades like your example, but these were indeed usually straight. It stands to reason that curved examples would have been brought in as well, as all of these blades were being mounted in rhino hilts for shotels. There was still a market among tribal figures for the traditional parabolic blade shotels as well as those with varying curve. I cannot see the purpose of straightening or curving blades when both types were readily available.

Many of these were apparently shipped to Yemen, apparantly for the rhino hilts, mounted in these blades due to restrictions on bringing in the horn alone. It would seem that most of these blades probably entered these regions pre WWI, and were refurbished with various hilts a number of times over the years. Many of these hilt components may also have been compositely assembled into these variant forms of nimchas.

While it has long been generally assumed and held that these ring guard nimchas were produced in Zanzibar, it seems most likely that these were assembled in Yemen with varying blades brought in from 'Red Sea trade'. In this case the Ethiopian blades probably filtered through Zanzibar, then on to Yemen with Arab merchants. This seems likely to have been how the 'Zanzibar' attribution may have been tagged to the Yemen swords, when it was actually the blades, not the entire swords being referred to.
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Old 15th April 2014, 03:18 PM   #103
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It is a fact these days that such blades are pouring out of Sanaa. Enough said about that and the escapades of the Sanaa boys to remove the rhino hilts and replace with backyard workshop basic hilts simply to raise the price allowing souk owners to purchase swords they can immediately put up for sale rather than just blades.

I have several of these straight variants and clearly bending to curved blade format was an option... I doubt they were originally produced curved but maybe they were.

Having said that, I see no reason why such a blade or sword would somehow reduce in actual collector value since they have had a very interesting history... German blade technology on the African trade blade circuit specific to Ethiopia and hilted with Rhino ~they were good weapons !... Then sent to Yemen and the famous bazarre of Sanaa...and all its incredible atmosphere and history ... There; rehilted and off up the trade route to exotic climes... Salalah and Muscat where they traded to world wide clients ... These were fighting blades in all their glory and recent history ~ On the waist of the occasional Bedu tribesman with blade bending, re hilting et al...

And by the way ... on their travels they almost got written up as fairly substantial Yemeni swords in a class of their own ... until the penny dropped here !!

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Old 16th April 2014, 06:20 PM   #104
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Zanzibari metalwork.. I have five examples of Zanzibari Metalwork viz;

1. Carved door accoutrements; clasps, hinges and spiggots.
2. Chests.
3. Combs.
4. Terrs Shields.
5. Nimcha; The form most directly attributable is the Ivory and Gold Hilted style.

Terrs shield metalwork, though, tentative is suggestive of the decorative angular / geometric style of the strap atop the Nimcha.

The comb proves the link to gold and Ivory Zanzibari style of decoration.

Finally; the strap (usually silver) on the Pommel top;
Note that the strap also occurs on the Ivory and Gold at # 1 and below though it is difficult to see..This in its own right virtually assures that the odd pommel strap of geometric scorpion style is Zanzibari. If the Golden Ivory hilt is Zanzibari the Rosewood/dark horn version hilt must also be, since it too carries the same Pommel top decoration... Unless unfinished hilt and blades were shipped off somewhere to be fitted with the scorpion device... It, thus, must be a wholly Zanzibari Hilt...In fact the scorpion device is a marker for such weapons !!

Therefor the geometric "scorpion" shape atop all "Zanzibari Nimcha" must be a Zanzibari design See below...

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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