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Old 16th February 2012, 11:05 AM   #1
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Default Yemeni Swords. In the Omani Market place.

Salaams all ~ Yemeni Swords.

Here are a few Yemeni swords which are flooding into Oman at this time. I stopped counting at about 100 in the main shop in Muscats Mutrah Souk.... and there were 200 more in their storeroom...( as well as 3000 tourists !)

Mostly Karabella Hilts with European blades. Caught on film (at photo 4) is an Ethiopian blade imported from Germany with a welded hilt waiting for an Omani long hiltstyle thus the pommel (confirmed by shopowner this work has been often conducted by him and his father before etc in their own workshops)~

1. 3 swords a. Zanzibari Nimcha. b. Saudia Bedu derivative. c. Yemeni Nimcha.
2. as above.
3. Wall loads of swords.
4. Ethiopian on a welded tang awaiting a long Omani Hilt.
5. Saudia derivative from Ottoman / Abbasid/ Greek style.
6. Zanzibar Nimcha.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Note; When I say Yemeni I mean supplied from there and owing to the upheaval currently wreaking havoc. Sanaa is a conduit for such equipment from the entire region including Zanzibari, African and Saudia.
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Old 16th February 2012, 11:25 AM   #2
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Default Wish !

Oh how I would love to browse that market, some interesting blades there! Any particular reason for their appearance at this time?
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Old 16th February 2012, 12:01 PM   #3
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What kind of prices do they command?
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Old 16th February 2012, 12:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ariel
What kind of prices do they command?
Salaams Ariel~ How many beans make 5? Two beans, a bean. a bean and a half and half a bean. Drop me a line and I will give you some idea privately... meanwhile any chance please of seeing your Old Omani Battle Sword acquisition... Im especially interested in the blade stamp.
Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi; 16th February 2012 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 16th February 2012, 12:25 PM   #5
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Nice one Ibrahim, send me an email with more details about the location + prices.
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Old 16th February 2012, 01:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Nice one Ibrahim, send me an email with more details about the location + prices.
Salaams A.alnakkas ~ Absolute pleasure indeed ! Can you just PM me with more of the detail in your request and I will send you the souk owners shop details and hopefully we will gain a great visitor to our shores...Getting you into the shop will be easy enough but I fear you will not want to leave !!
Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 16th February 2012, 05:38 PM   #7
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Amazing grouping of these Arabian swords Ibrahiim !!! Thank you for sharing them.
In observing the groupings, in the first photo, top to bottom:

I would note that these triple fullered sabre blades, particularly with the 'cabalistic' symbols are of an 18th century blade form commonly produced in Solingen, and believed to have been continued well into, if not through the 19th century (Gilkerson). These found considerable favor in regions of the Caucusus where variations of these began to occur in shashkas, and blade producers there copied them and exported many into Arabian trade networks.

The top sabre is known actually (by hilt form) as the Moroccan sa'if, though typically termed incorrectly 'nimcha'. While of course many of these probably did end up in Red Sea trade and as far as Zanzibar, the hilt which has been considered 'Zanzibari' (Buttin, 1933) has similar grip/pommel shape with palm nock at the top, quillon system and distinctively a perpandicular ring extending from crossguard center. This form with the ring seems to have arrived in some volume into the Yemen in the early 20th century from Zanzibar, hence the attribution (also personal contact with Artzi Yarom, Oriental Arms on this). Is does seem likely these 'Moroccan-Algerian' type hilts would be found in Arabia as the hilt form does seem to have originated in the Arabian sphere, likely derived from Italian hilt forms of much earlier (A. North).

The center sabre has an essentially Persian type hilt, but the general design and canted pommel cap in a collectively silvered style seems to reflect Caucasian styles which are typically nielloed and from latter 19th century. The crossguard with bulbous quillon terms reflects European style and of course this is a composite which is to be expected as these swords were so ofren refurbished to remain serviceable.

The bottom sword is not technically a karabella, but does have the stylized version of that type hilt (the term itself is used toward the hilt typically).
This style hilt is of the form usually seen in Hadhremaut in repousse silvered dress, though simpler versions are seen more into the interior regions as seen here.

The 'Ethiopian' blade awaiting the cylindrical hilt is of a triple fuller form which was produced in Solingen around 1880s, and actually resembles the same block forte and hollowed fullers seen on Imperial German swords of that period, though the blades were usually single edged on those examples.
Many of these blades, which seem to have been Weyersberg made, were indeed sent to Abyssinia, and from there many went to Yemen where they had rhino horn hilts removed and silvered hilts added. This seems to have centered in San'aa, one of the main entrepots for the arrival of import blades in this part of Arabia.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 17th February 2012, 02:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
more details about the location + prices.
Salam Aleikum Lotfi ...
are you forecasting a "ġazwa" (غزو)

+

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Old 17th February 2012, 01:05 PM   #9
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Salaams Ibrahiim,
interesting blades ..... but this item caught my eye (ringed in the picture) ....any ideas to what it is called ....perhaps just a fantasy piece but does seem functional.

Kind Regards David




.
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Old 17th February 2012, 01:46 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=katana]Salaams Ibrahiim,
interesting blades ..... but this item caught my eye (ringed in the picture) ....any ideas to what it is called ....perhaps just a fantasy piece but does seem functional.

Kind Regards David

Salaams katana; Well spotted! I didnt even notice that ! Ok well ~ It looks like a nail. A spiggot? There is a peculiar nail that was used in Oman an other Islamic spheres which was just that.. with a twist... They were Monumental talismanic spikes often decorated in geometry and sometimes silver adorned/perhaps gold... I have one which is fairly austere in iron only ... The idea being that as Iron was believed to attract evil that by hammering one into the wall near your front door the talisman would protect the house from evil spirits, djinns, saars etc.
Whilst not exactly like this style the one in the foto could be related but I will have a look at it closely next time...see my nail below!

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

PHOTOS ; Shows Architectural Islamic Talismanic Nail 7 inch long x half inch square with holes cut right through in each side in 3 points down the shaft.. Thus to entrap any evil spirits.
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Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi; 18th February 2012 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 17th February 2012, 02:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Amazing grouping of these Arabian swords Ibrahiim !!! Thank you for sharing them.
In observing the groupings, in the first photo, top to bottom:

I would note that these triple fullered sabre blades, particularly with the 'cabalistic' symbols are of an 18th century blade form commonly produced in Solingen, and believed to have been continued well into, if not through the 19th century (Gilkerson). These found considerable favor in regions of the Caucusus where variations of these began to occur in shashkas, and blade producers there copied them and exported many into Arabian trade networks.

The top sabre is known actually (by hilt form) as the Moroccan sa'if, though typically termed incorrectly 'nimcha'. While of course many of these probably did end up in Red Sea trade and as far as Zanzibar, the hilt which has been considered 'Zanzibari' (Buttin, 1933) has similar grip/pommel shape with palm nock at the top, quillon system and distinctively a perpandicular ring extending from crossguard center. This form with the ring seems to have arrived in some volume into the Yemen in the early 20th century from Zanzibar, hence the attribution (also personal contact with Artzi Yarom, Oriental Arms on this). Is does seem likely these 'Moroccan-Algerian' type hilts would be found in Arabia as the hilt form does seem to have originated in the Arabian sphere, likely derived from Italian hilt forms of much earlier (A. North).

The center sabre has an essentially Persian type hilt, but the general design and canted pommel cap in a collectively silvered style seems to reflect Caucasian styles which are typically nielloed and from latter 19th century. The crossguard with bulbous quillon terms reflects European style and of course this is a composite which is to be expected as these swords were so ofren refurbished to remain serviceable.

The bottom sword is not technically a karabella, but does have the stylized version of that type hilt (the term itself is used toward the hilt typically).
This style hilt is of the form usually seen in Hadhremaut in repousse silvered dress, though simpler versions are seen more into the interior regions as seen here.

The 'Ethiopian' blade awaiting the cylindrical hilt is of a triple fuller form which was produced in Solingen around 1880s, and actually resembles the same block forte and hollowed fullers seen on Imperial German swords of that period, though the blades were usually single edged on those examples.
Many of these blades, which seem to have been Weyersberg made, were indeed sent to Abyssinia, and from there many went to Yemen where they had rhino horn hilts removed and silvered hilts added. This seems to have centered in San'aa, one of the main entrepots for the arrival of import blades in this part of Arabia.

All the best,
Jim
Shukran jazilan ya Ustad !
Salaams Jim Once again thank you for your superb supporting research on these Arabian swords. I hope you were able to see the other Solingen blade which I thought said 1708 but which was inverted and actually reads SOLI followed by the very faint letters NGEN
The German blades for the Ethiopian market are indeed strange and we have examined them before... mine is almost the same as the one in the souk except with a Saudi / Mamluke hilt probably fitted up in the Yemen. Muscat has now also been identified (certainly in at least the last two generations) as being a centre for joining blade and hilt of different provenanced swords... especially long hilt Omani to any blade that looks reasonable... and the weld work and tang+pommel add on is there to be seen..and was confirmed as done by that shops workshop.

Your work is a great example ... I learn more from your input that from any library! What is a beacon for research is the way you set out your position with quotes from the best references and real in depth study combined with great common sense and reasoning. I hope it inspires more forum researchers to follow suit.

I wonder what influence there is in the Red Sea regions from the French in Egypt and the use of blades originally copied by them from the Polish Hussars?

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 18th February 2012, 07:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
Oh how I would love to browse that market, some interesting blades there! Any particular reason for their appearance at this time?

Salaams David I have it sussed as clever positioning by the souk shop owner who has many contacts in the trade and supply from all over Oman and Yemen built up over two generations of shop work. Yemen which is in turmoil is desperate for cash. Like all souks there is 98% garbage and 2 % good stuff...and as in all things it is in the end what people are prepared to fork out for a decent item in an environment where price is seasonal... with thousands of tourists thronging the souk in the cooler weather the price is horrible... such is life.
Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 20th February 2012, 05:20 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=Ibrahiim al Balooshi]
Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Salaams Ibrahiim,
interesting blades ..... but this item caught my eye (ringed in the picture) ....any ideas to what it is called ....perhaps just a fantasy piece but does seem functional.

Kind Regards David

Salaams katana; Well spotted! I didnt even notice that ! Ok well ~ It looks like a nail. A spiggot? There is a peculiar nail that was used in Oman an other Islamic spheres which was just that.. with a twist... They were Monumental talismanic spikes often decorated in geometry and sometimes silver adorned/perhaps gold... I have one which is fairly austere in iron only ... The idea being that as Iron was believed to attract evil that by hammering one into the wall near your front door the talisman would protect the house from evil spirits, djinns, saars etc.
Whilst not exactly like this style the one in the foto could be related but I will have a look at it closely next time...see my nail below!

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

PHOTOS ; Shows Architectural Islamic Talismanic Nail 7 inch long x half inch square with holes cut right through in each side in 3 points down the shaft.. Thus to entrap any evil spirits.
Salaams all ~ However the real answer is apparently that though the spike has Koranic inscriptions on it that this is in fact a weapon ! I suppose you could get nailed with it ! Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 20th February 2012, 11:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Shukran jazilan ya Ustad !
Salaams Jim Once again thank you for your superb supporting research on these Arabian swords. I hope you were able to see the other Solingen blade which I thought said 1708 but which was inverted and actually reads SOLI followed by the very faint letters NGEN
The German blades for the Ethiopian market are indeed strange and we have examined them before... mine is almost the same as the one in the souk except with a Saudi / Mamluke hilt probably fitted up in the Yemen. Muscat has now also been identified (certainly in at least the last two generations) as being a centre for joining blade and hilt of different provenanced swords... especially long hilt Omani to any blade that looks reasonable... and the weld work and tang+pommel add on is there to be seen..and was confirmed as done by that shops workshop.

Your work is a great example ... I learn more from your input that from any library! What is a beacon for research is the way you set out your position with quotes from the best references and real in depth study combined with great common sense and reasoning. I hope it inspires more forum researchers to follow suit.

I wonder what influence there is in the Red Sea regions from the French in Egypt and the use of blades originally copied by them from the Polish Hussars?

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Salaams all. Note to Forum. Kindly see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_...gypt_and_Syria for a comprehensive study of Napoleon Bonaparte in Egypt and adjoining countries. With 15000 dead from battles and the same number from plague I wonder what quantities of swords etc were ingested by the region and where they were chanelled. Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 20th February 2012, 04:52 PM   #15
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Salam Aleikum Lotfi ...
are you forecasting a "ġazwa" (غزو)


Dom, غزو =invasion?
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Old 20th February 2012, 05:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Blalock
Salam Aleikum Lotfi ...
are you forecasting a "ġazwa" (غزو)


Dom, غزو =invasion?
He ment, raiding Omani markets hehe :P
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Old 22nd February 2012, 03:36 AM   #17
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Shukran jazilan ya Ustad !
Salaams Jim Once again thank you for your superb supporting research on these Arabian swords. I hope you were able to see the other Solingen blade which I thought said 1708 but which was inverted and actually reads SOLI followed by the very faint letters NGEN
The German blades for the Ethiopian market are indeed strange and we have examined them before... mine is almost the same as the one in the souk except with a Saudi / Mamluke hilt probably fitted up in the Yemen. Muscat has now also been identified (certainly in at least the last two generations) as being a centre for joining blade and hilt of different provenanced swords... especially long hilt Omani to any blade that looks reasonable... and the weld work and tang+pommel add on is there to be seen..and was confirmed as done by that shops workshop.

Your work is a great example ... I learn more from your input that from any library! What is a beacon for research is the way you set out your position with quotes from the best references and real in depth study combined with great common sense and reasoning. I hope it inspires more forum researchers to follow suit.

I wonder what influence there is in the Red Sea regions from the French in Egypt and the use of blades originally copied by them from the Polish Hussars?

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim , thank you so very much for such kind words! Actually the opportunity to learn is mostly mine as I try to discover as much as I can to respond to the fascinating queries on these pages.
Regarding the French influences in the Red Sea trade regions, while there was certainly some degree, it was largely outshone by the volume of German blades in particular entering various entrepots mostly through British trade venues. The 'hussar' blades from East European influences were primarily via trade from Styria and the Caucusus largely through Syria as well as of course other points of contact with Arab trade. I have seen many sabres with 'Hungarian' motifs that were clearly mounted in Syria, and have seen them actually misidentified as Hungarian hussar sabres.

Most of the French blades as far as I know were situated primarily in the Western Sudan, West Africa sphere and this is why the so called 'Manding' sabres seem to almost invariably have French sabre blades. These blades also reached further into the Sahara and Tuareg takoubas with these curved blades, a distinct anomaly, are classified as 'aljuinar'. There are of course instances of kaskara mounted with French blades or with French inscriptions in various incidental cases, but these were not regularly seen. I am sure that such instances occurred throughout the well travelled Red Sea routes.

Thank you again, and for keeping these discussions going strong.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 22nd February 2012, 09:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Ibrahiim , thank you so very much for such kind words! Actually the opportunity to learn is mostly mine as I try to discover as much as I can to respond to the fascinating queries on these pages.
Regarding the French influences in the Red Sea trade regions, while there was certainly some degree, it was largely outshone by the volume of German blades in particular entering various entrepots mostly through British trade venues. The 'hussar' blades from East European influences were primarily via trade from Styria and the Caucusus largely through Syria as well as of course other points of contact with Arab trade. I have seen many sabres with 'Hungarian' motifs that were clearly mounted in Syria, and have seen them actually misidentified as Hungarian hussar sabres.

Most of the French blades as far as I know were situated primarily in the Western Sudan, West Africa sphere and this is why the so called 'Manding' sabres seem to almost invariably have French sabre blades. These blades also reached further into the Sahara and Tuareg takoubas with these curved blades, a distinct anomaly, are classified as 'aljuinar'. There are of course instances of kaskara mounted with French blades or with French inscriptions in various incidental cases, but these were not regularly seen. I am sure that such instances occurred throughout the well travelled Red Sea routes.

Thank you again, and for keeping these discussions going strong.

All the best,
Jim
Salaams Jim ~ I find the potential French influence intimidating from a number of viewpoints such as the relatively short campaigns couple of years by Napoleon Bonaparte where they lost 30,000 men (and the opposition lost several hundred thousand)and the much bigger time frame leading up to the French revolution and covered in the pamphlet by Dr Sheikh Sultan al Qassimi ruler of Sharjah of about 300 years describing the French and British in the Indian Ocean (I've a spare copy; please PM me with your address and I will send you it). If Hussar blades influenced French blades we should at some point, I suspect, run into one or two? Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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