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Old 21st October 2011, 01:24 AM   #1
archer
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Default Are these Shafras?

What are these knives called? Are they Omani? How were they worn?
They look like the sheaths mid sections were originally covered in leather.
Blades are 5 and 51/2 inches long. The top one in the sheathed photo has
an eared balkinlike pommel. Thank you for any information on these two.
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Old 21st October 2011, 11:53 AM   #2
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I don't think so shafras are a bit different.
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Old 21st October 2011, 02:49 PM   #3
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archer
What are these knives called? Are they Omani? How were they worn?
They look like the sheaths mid sections were originally covered in leather.
Blades are 5 and 51/2 inches long. The top one in the sheathed photo has
an eared balkinlike pommel. Thank you for any information on these two.


Salaams, Provisionally I would say almost certainly both daggers are from Ras Al Khaimah. They are worn simply under the belt at the side. I can drum up some souk pictures on my next visit in a day or two. Ibrahiim

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 21st October 2011 at 02:51 PM. Reason: text
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Old 21st October 2011, 04:32 PM   #4
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Here is one style of shafra that I am familar with.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=shafra
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Old 23rd October 2011, 04:57 PM   #5
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archer
What are these knives called? Are they Omani? How were they worn?
They look like the sheaths mid sections were originally covered in leather.
Blades are 5 and 51/2 inches long. The top one in the sheathed photo has
an eared balkinlike pommel. Thank you for any information on these two.



Salaams, This is very interesting. I have backtracked to all the forum references on this subject and it crosses paths with the Omani work knife and Kukri weapons though it rightly disproves that link. These daggers are not uncommon in Eastern Arabia however they appear to belong (or were adopted into)to the Mussandam region and Ras al Khaimah in the Shuhuh tribal area.
The Shuhuh tribal area straddles the UAE and Oman. They call the dagger after the prominent name of one of the biggest groups in the Shuhuh .... The Shehe (she he sound as in the english) I believe there are a few other sub local names but Shehe is the daggers name here and in the Mussandam and Ras Al Khaimah.
The daggers appear to have several forms and a variety of sizes. Some have flared ear pommels, some have silver decorated hilts whilst some have flat butter knife hilts depending upon where they are worn.
Flat hilted butterknife hilts are normally worn behing the khanjar with or without a small leather scabbard. For this configuration Omanis prefer the Victorian Butterknife with a spatulate blade in Sheffied Steel or Solingen however modern blades appear with Japanese maker stamps. In the case of home grown blades locals used ground down bedford truck leaf springs and old steel files to make blades. In the case of the Sheffield and Solingen knives the silver makers decorated on top of the bone or bakerlite handles retaining a robust but flatish hilt comfortable to slip behind the Khanjar. Whilst not a hard and fast rule a Khanjar work knife normally has a decorated silver hilt whilst a knife in its own substantial wooden scabbard is normally worn on its own under a belt or tucked in about the waist area. Most Omanis would simply call their work knife a sikkeen (knife) which differentiates it from the Shehe though clearly the two styles tend to fuse once the hilt is silver decorated and naturally the nearer the tribal area the more likely to encounter the Shehe style.
Some care has to be taken when dealing with the Shuhuh workshops; As an area Ras Al Khaimah is quite famous for throwing a spanner in the works and well made forgeries appear from their workshops quite frequently especially with swords. The origin of the ear shaped pommel is Turkish(Yatagan) so how it has been copied onto a Ras al Khaimah knife is open to interpretation, trade, copy or coincidence? As regarding scabbard material they are wooden and often hand worked decoration in the mid section in geometry normally. Silver decorates the tip and throad sections and mulberry clusters of silver balls are often used at the end and sometimes (not ilustrated here)on the pommel top.
I have photos of most variant stlyles attached and include a picture illustrating the Omani Work knife attached to the back of the Khanjar..

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 06:05 PM   #6
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Default Re Shafras

Salaams Ibrahiim ,
Shukran, a very thorough and informative response . These two most likely would have been belt knives. Their sheaths making them a bit uncomfortable between a Khanjar and ones ribs. They also show the deeply recessed area that would help keep them in place on a belt.
Your excellent photos of the various styles complete the explanation. Your efforts are appreciated.
Lew, your response and photo helped dispel the shafra idea.

Thank you, Steve
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Old 23rd October 2011, 06:14 PM   #7
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Why do I think of Central Asia/Afghanistan?
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Old 24th October 2011, 04:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Why do I think of Central Asia/Afghanistan?


Salaams Ariel, Well it is a reasonable thought since the Shuhuh were migrated from somewhere in Persia so bringing with them designs of dagger ... and indeed the Gers Axe likely to be Luristani in origin... Ibrahiim
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Old 23rd February 2012, 05:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams Ariel, Well it is a reasonable thought since the Shuhuh were migrated from somewhere in Persia so bringing with them designs of dagger ... and indeed the Gers Axe likely to be Luristani in origin... Ibrahiim


Salaams all ~ Correction to Forum for library... The Shehuh! (or Shuhuuh!) are not from the Persian side however there may be Persian dialectic influece via the obvious geographical location of Mussandam. They in fact appear to be a tribal group originating in the Yemen. They have about 5 religious groupings and the main family is the SHEHE . They are famous for making work knives (shehe) and axes (Jers). Artefacts such as pottery and stoneware have been unearthed in their region reaching back 3,000 years with identical decorations to that on their axe heads. During the last 30 to 50 years (?) and still under scrutiny is their production of Omani Sayf; flexible dancing swords. Shukran. Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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