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Old 23rd February 2013, 03:59 PM   #31
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Default Yes or No ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Whilst I note that the above interesting discussion has for the present discounted the issue of flexibility, I have just one question for a straight "yes" or "no" answer please.
Do ALL the Straight bladed Omani Sayfs have a "90 degree" flex or not?
If not, then it would be reasonable to assume that those that DO NOT, were, or COULD have been, used for combat, and therefore could not accurately be called Dancing Swords. I have a Sayf in my collection which has only about 2" flex....pic below.


Salaams kahnjar1 ~ I once went to an interview in which the interviewer would only answer questions with two words... either "yes" or "no".

In "Ethnographics" I doubt the same technique can be applied.

The first point is that not all blades danced with in Oman are straight flexible ones... with nothing else to hand dancers use pretty well anything similar including rifles, camel sticks and any variety of sword avialable...I can show the mimic fighting taking place with a curved sword and a sandal for a shield. So it would be quite wrong to be so specific.

Your question (though by no means a closed or completed querry) asks; Do ALL the Straight bladed Omani Sayfs have a "90 degree" flex or not?

Technically I think so. All the ones I have seen and handled are flexible but... and the BUT is big ... There appear to be swords from probably the Red Sea region that are not flexible ... that look like Omani Dancing Swords but which are not flexible..and no-one knows why. Logically they could be rehilts of otherwise previous fighting blades (foreign) on Omani Hilts. We know for example that Muscat since the 70s has been active in the business of rehilting all manner of foreign blades onto Omani Long Hilts. We know that these blades were provided from Sanaa and several have Ethiopian blades originally German. The Red Sea link is therefor highly likely. Your blade may be related to the blade at Kattara for comments #1. The apparent blade cross section from what I can see... makes that blade and yours similar ... not a flat springy dancing blade but stiff..with a wing shaped cross section.

Naturally there is a very big difference in the application between wholly flexible and wholly stiff blades, though, try as I might, I still haven't unearthed the reason why these odd stiff variants turn up now and again mounted on Omani long hilts, however, since I'm in the Muscat Museums next week I will be giving that one a lot of time.

As to the yes or no answer technique I repeat that ethnographic detective work can never be so limited..The Forum would only be about two pages long based on that structure...yes or no ?

Regards,
Ibrahiim Al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 23rd February 2013 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 23rd February 2013, 07:37 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams kahnjar1 ~ I once went to an interview in which the interviewer would only answer questions with two words... either "yes" or "no".

In "Ethnographics" I doubt the same technique can be applied.

The first point is that not all blades danced with in Oman are straight flexible ones... with nothing else to hand dancers use pretty well anything similar including rifles, camel sticks and any variety of sword avialable...I can show the mimic fighting taking place with a curved sword and a sandal for a shield. So it would be quite wrong to be so specific.

Your question (though by no means a closed or completed querry) asks; Do ALL the Straight bladed Omani Sayfs have a "90 degree" flex or not?

Technically I think so. All the ones I have seen and handled are flexible but... and the BUT is big ... There appear to be swords from probably the Red Sea region that are not flexible ... that look like Omani Dancing Swords but which are not flexible..and no-one knows why. Logically they could be rehilts of otherwise previous fighting blades (foreign) on Omani Hilts. We know for example that Muscat since the 70s has been active in the business of rehilting all manner of foreign blades onto Omani Long Hilts. We know that these blades were provided from Sanaa and several have Ethiopian blades originally German. The Red Sea link is therefor highly likely. Your blade may be related to the blade at Kattara for comments #1. The apparent blade cross section from what I can see... makes that blade and yours similar ... not a flat springy dancing blade but stiff..with a wing shaped cross section.

Naturally there is a very big difference in the application between wholly flexible and wholly stiff blades, though, try as I might, I still haven't unearthed the reason why these odd stiff variants turn up now and again mounted on Omani long hilts, however, since I'm in the Muscat Museums next week I will be giving that one a lot of time.

As to the yes or no answer technique I repeat that ethnographic detective work can never be so limited..The Forum would only be about two pages long based on that structure...yes or no ?

Regards,
Ibrahiim Al Balooshi.

OK Let me rephrase the question......Do ALL the straight bladed Omani swords which you have in your workshop, and describe as Omani, have "90 degree" flexible blades?
What I am trying to establish here, is that there was POSSIBLY a "combat" version of this sword in it's own right.

Last edited by kahnjar1 : 23rd February 2013 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 24th February 2013, 09:18 AM   #33
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QUOTE=kahnjar1]OK Let me rephrase the question......Do ALL the straight bladed Omani swords which you have in your workshop, and describe as Omani, have "90 degree" flexible blades?
What I am trying to establish here, is that there was POSSIBLY a "combat" version of this sword in it's own right.[/QUOTE]


Salaams kahnjar1 . Yes all the Omani Sayfs ... The straight Omani Dancing swords bend massively... at least through 90 degrees and return immediately to straight.

None of the dancing swords I have ever seen are stiff.

Now the question we are all chasing down is... What about these stiff blades like the one you have? They are made differently being wing shaped in cross section but are they fighting swords or dancing ?... Technically they must be weapons but were fitted to Omani hilts when, why...and where? They could be part of the ensemble of swords fitted up in Muscat in the last 40 years... after all they have cross hilted thousands of swords.

That is one of the questions I have for the museum people.

In the meantime we may simply have a very odd situation we can't solve yet but somewhere down the line this one should unravel ~ meanwhile it's ringfenced.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 24th February 2013 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 24th February 2013, 04:13 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
QUOTE=kahnjar1]OK Let me rephrase the question......Do ALL the straight bladed Omani swords which you have in your workshop, and describe as Omani, have "90 degree" flexible blades?
What I am trying to establish here, is that there was POSSIBLY a "combat" version of this sword in it's own right.



Salaams kahnjar1 . Yes all the Omani Sayfs ... The straight Omani Dancing swords bend massively... at least through 90 degrees and return immediately to straight.

None of the dancing swords I have ever seen are stiff.

Now the question we are all chasing down is... What about these stiff blades like the one you have? They are made differently being wing shaped in cross section but are they fighting swords or dancing ?... Technically they must be weapons but were fitted to Omani hilts when, why...and where? They could be part of the ensemble of swords fitted up in Muscat in the last 40 years... after all they have cross hilted thousands of swords.

That is one of the questions I have for the museum people.

In the meantime we may simply have a very odd situation we can't solve yet but somewhere down the line this one should unravel ~ meanwhile it's ringfenced.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.[/QUOTE]
Salaams Ibrahiim,

My question is still not answered......The Omani Sayfs in your workshop....are they ALL "90 degree"flexible blades (dancing swords)?

You state that those with 2" or so flexible blades, or stiff blades are not of Omani origin, so I assume that the above is true as you describe all your straight Sayfs as Omani. Please confirm.
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Old 24th February 2013, 05:29 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Salaams kahnjar1 . Yes all the Omani Sayfs ... The straight Omani Dancing swords bend massively... at least through 90 degrees and return immediately to straight.

None of the dancing swords I have ever seen are stiff.

Now the question we are all chasing down is... What about these stiff blades like the one you have? They are made differently being wing shaped in cross section but are they fighting swords or dancing ?... Technically they must be weapons but were fitted to Omani hilts when, why...and where? They could be part of the ensemble of swords fitted up in Muscat in the last 40 years... after all they have cross hilted thousands of swords.

That is one of the questions I have for the museum people.

In the meantime we may simply have a very odd situation we can't solve yet but somewhere down the line this one should unravel ~ meanwhile it's ringfenced.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Salaams Ibrahiim,

My question is still not answered......The Omani Sayfs in your workshop....are they ALL "90 degree"flexible blades (dancing swords)?

You state that those with 2" or so flexible blades, or stiff blades are not of Omani origin, so I assume that the above is true as you describe all your straight Sayfs as Omani. Please confirm.[/QUOTE]


Salaams, I refer you to the first line above in which I say... Yes all the Omani Sayfs ... The straight Omani Dancing swords bend massively... at least through 90 degrees and return immediately to straight. That applies to all of the Omani dancing swords in my collection... my workshop is not a sword "making" facility.

All the sword making workshops that I know of continue to turn out only flexible dancing swords in the format I describe.

It has always been my suspicion that the straight stiff variant "blade" is a Red Sea style previously a fighting blade perhaps Ottoman, Ethiopian Yemeni or even Algerian. For a comparison on an Omani hilt on a blade with a "similar" blade mark almost identical to an Algerian gun mark see Kattara for comments # 149 and #176.

My thoughts on Muscat rehilting are already placed.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 24th February 2013 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:10 PM   #36
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Salaams Khanjar 1 ~ SO TO BE QUITE CLEAR ~

Yes all the Omani Sayfs ... The straight Omani Dancing swords bend massively... at least through 90 degrees and return immediately to straight. That applies to all of the Omani dancing swords in my collection... my workshop is not a sword "making" facility.

All the sword making workshops that I know of continue to turn out only flexible dancing swords in the format I describe.

It has always been my suspicion that the straight stiff variant "blade" is a Red Sea style previously a fighting blade perhaps Ottoman, Ethiopian Yemeni or even Algerian. For a comparison on an Omani hilt on a blade with a "similar" blade mark almost identical to an Algerian gun mark see Kattara for comments # 149 and #176.

My thoughts on Muscat rehilting are already placed.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 6th March 2013, 08:32 PM   #37
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Salaams all Update in Muscat.

I have tracked a number of points on the straight flexible dancing sword... The Omani Sayf. This is for confirmation (though it is already agreed by the Museums via another collector and close colleague whom I interviewed in Muscat yesterday) that precisely as I have explained previously the sword is purely for dancing and since its inception at the beginning of the current Albusaid Dynasty which I assume is 1744 though 1799 is also claimed...its role has been in the pageants as described and never... absolutely never as a weapon of war. The key proof is that this weapon was invented to march past and honour the Dynastic Albusaid monarch and not some previous family ruler...Obvious really ! The blade is supposed to be Omani, however, where other occasional foreign neighboring or distant blades appear it makes absolutely no difference to the core theme... Dancing Sword only. I am in the Museums on Tuesday next to collect the proof.
This is therefor simply an update..

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Notes;
List of rulers that have been paraded past by tribesmen using the Straight Omani Sayf;

Al Bu Said Dynasty (1749–Present)
Abu Hilal Ahmad bin Said
10 June 1744
15 December 1783

Said bin Ahmad
15 December 1783
1784
Last direct male descendant of Al Bu Said to hold the office of Imam. He abdicated secular power to his son and retired to Rustaq where he died in 1803.

Hamad bin Said
1784
13 March 1792

Sultan bin Ahmad
13 March 1792
20 November 1804

Salim I bin Sultan and Said II bin Sultan
20 November 1804
14 September 1806
Co-Rulers

Said II bin Sultan
14 September 1806
19 October 1856 Sole Ruler

Thuwaini bin Said
19 October 1856
11 February 1866
Killed

Salim II bin Thuwaini
11 February 1866
3 October 1868
Killed

Azzan bin Qais
3 October 1868
30 January 1871
Killed

Turki bin Said
30 January 1871
4 June 1888

Faisal bin Turki
4 June 1888
9 October 1913
British protectorate imposed on 20 March 1891[28][29]

Taimur bin Feisal
9 October 1913
10 February 1932
Abdicated

Said III bin Taimur
10 February 1932
23 July 1970
Deposed

Qaboos bin Said

23 July 1970
Present
British protectorate ended on 2 December 1971

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 6th March 2013 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 31st May 2013, 04:38 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams all Update in Muscat.

I have tracked a number of points on the straight flexible dancing sword... The Omani Sayf. This is for confirmation (though it is already agreed by the Museums via another collector and close colleague whom I interviewed in Muscat yesterday) that precisely as I have explained previously the sword is purely for dancing and since its inception at the beginning of the current Albusaid Dynasty which I assume is 1744 though 1799 is also claimed...its role has been in the pageants as described and never... absolutely never as a weapon of war. The key proof is that this weapon was invented to march past and honour the Dynastic Albusaid monarch and not some previous family ruler...Obvious really ! The blade is supposed to be Omani, however, where other occasional foreign neighboring or distant blades appear it makes absolutely no difference to the core theme... Dancing Sword only. I am in the Museums on Tuesday next to collect the proof.
This is therefor simply an update..

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Notes;
List of rulers that have been paraded past by tribesmen using the Straight Omani Sayf;

Al Bu Said Dynasty (1749–Present)
Abu Hilal Ahmad bin Said
10 June 1744
15 December 1783

Said bin Ahmad
15 December 1783
1784
Last direct male descendant of Al Bu Said to hold the office of Imam. He abdicated secular power to his son and retired to Rustaq where he died in 1803.

Hamad bin Said
1784
13 March 1792

Sultan bin Ahmad
13 March 1792
20 November 1804

Salim I bin Sultan and Said II bin Sultan
20 November 1804
14 September 1806
Co-Rulers

Said II bin Sultan
14 September 1806
19 October 1856 Sole Ruler

Thuwaini bin Said
19 October 1856
11 February 1866
Killed

Salim II bin Thuwaini
11 February 1866
3 October 1868
Killed

Azzan bin Qais
3 October 1868
30 January 1871
Killed

Turki bin Said
30 January 1871
4 June 1888

Faisal bin Turki
4 June 1888
9 October 1913
British protectorate imposed on 20 March 1891[28][29]

Taimur bin Feisal
9 October 1913
10 February 1932
Abdicated

Said III bin Taimur
10 February 1932
23 July 1970
Deposed

Qaboos bin Said

23 July 1970
Present
British protectorate ended on 2 December 1971




Salaams All~ The Museums support my long held theory that the Omani Straight Dancing Sword (The Omani Sayf) never saw action as a fighting blade, however, it was and is the Royal chosen form of Dynastic pageantry weapon with which to salute the Albusaid rulers down the ages.... from the start ... 1744.

It appears clear that the hilt transferred from the Kattara (A Ships Merchant, Slave Captains sword) and that the blade was sharpened on both edges and spatulate tipped and given the Terrs Shield in Honour of the Old Omani Battle Swords or the bearers of ... who went before.

The choice of very flexible, shimmering, broadsword was deliberate since the weapon is ideally suited for Royal march past by massed tribesmen and pageant and can be buzzed and thrown in the air and mock fought with relatively safely.

This was not a European import but was produced locally. European swords, moreover, were fighting weapons by definition... The Sayf was not.

Production continues locally today in Mussandam and Salalah for both the local market and the tourists.

The mark of a dancing sword is its ability to bend easily through 90 degrees from the tip and when released springs straight again immediately.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 31st May 2013, 10:13 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams All~ The Museums support my long held theory that the Omani Straight Dancing Sword (The Omani Sayf) never saw action as a fighting blade, however, it was and is the Royal chosen form of Dynastic pageantry weapon with which to salute the Albusaid rulers down the ages.... from the start ... 1744.

It appears clear that the hilt transferred from the Kattara (A Ships Merchant, Slave Captains sword) and that the blade was sharpened on both edges and spatulate tipped and given the Terrs Shield in Honour of the Old Omani Battle Swords or the bearers of ... who went before.

The choice of very flexible, shimmering, broadsword was deliberate since the weapon is ideally suited for Royal march past by massed tribesmen and pageant and can be buzzed and thrown in the air and mock fought with relatively safely.

This was not a European import but was produced locally. European swords, moreover, were fighting weapons by definition... The Sayf was not.

Production continues locally today in Mussandam and Salalah for both the local market and the tourists.

The mark of a dancing sword is its ability to bend easily through 90 degrees from the tip and when released springs straight again immediately.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

OK so where does the NON flexible straight Omani sword fit into your picture?
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Old 1st June 2013, 04:17 PM   #40
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Default The Omani Sayf; Pageant Only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
OK so where does the NON flexible straight Omani sword fit into your picture?



Salaams khanjar 1,
I dont believe it is "my picture"... since the essence of study so far as I am concerned shines a "forum" light into dark recesses otherwise undiscovered or shrouded in mystery... as this one has been. Thus the picture belongs to all of us.

Your question is about the straight Omani Dancing sword or do you percieve that there is another straight sword with a conical hilt that isn't flexible ? There isn't... There is only a straight dancer so any sword that is described as straight two edged on a conical hilt which looks like the standard Omani Sayf .. (but isn't because its not flexible) is probably a red sea blade rehilted. It may be the case with your #30.

I think a lot of these were floated through Muscat souk but were deliberately put together as tourist items. Personally I suggest that a few could be decent fighting blades and as I have said before even of Schiavona parentage and some from the Solingen stables sporting the Solingen stamp and STAMM STAMM. (See Kattara for comments #228 at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...attara+comments.)

There is a degree of irony here, since, surely a blade that was a fighting blade should be regarded as worth more collectably than say a pageantry and dancing blade only?

Regarding the Omani Sayf; Visitors... some very prominent and knowlegeable to boot including several military ones during the 18th and 19th C have been hoodwinked by this fascinating "weapon" not surprisingly because of its apparent wickedly sharp blade, its seemingly broadsword lethality, the amazing mimic fighting pageant...and of course its attendant battle shield " The Terrs."

We have shown, however, the purely accidental nature of this mistake which incidentally occured whilst the other great smokescreen was being thrown up... that of gunpowder weapons which heralded the demise of the other great Omani weapon;The Spear. That period also witnessed the slide from grace of the absolutely Omani blade; "The Old Omani Battle Sword" which even today holds an honourable place as a fighting Icon with a royal blessing on a redesigned Sayiddiyah hilt.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 1st June 2013, 04:57 PM   #41
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have any examples of the Omani Spear or spears from the Gulf Regions/Yemen survived to date?
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Old 1st June 2013, 09:17 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams khanjar 1,
I dont believe it is "my picture"... since the essence of study so far as I am concerned shines a "forum" light into dark recesses otherwise undiscovered or shrouded in mystery... as this one has been. Thus the picture belongs to all of us.

Your question is about the straight Omani Dancing sword or do you percieve that there is another straight sword with a conical hilt that isn't flexible ? There isn't... There is only a straight dancer so any sword that is described as straight two edged on a conical hilt which looks like the standard Omani Sayf .. (but isn't because its not flexible) is probably a red sea blade rehilted. It may be the case with your #30.

I think a lot of these were floated through Muscat souk but were deliberately put together as tourist items. Personally I suggest that a few could be decent fighting blades and as I have said before even of Schiavona parentage and some from the Solingen stables sporting the Solingen stamp and STAMM STAMM. (See Kattara for comments #228 at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...attara+comments.)

There is a degree of irony here, since, surely a blade that was a fighting blade should be regarded as worth more collectably than say a pageantry and dancing blade only?

Regarding the Omani Sayf; Visitors... some very prominent and knowlegeable to boot including several military ones during the 18th and 19th C have been hoodwinked by this fascinating "weapon" not surprisingly because of its apparent wickedly sharp blade, its seemingly broadsword lethality, the amazing mimic fighting pageant...and of course its attendant battle shield " The Terrs."

We have shown, however, the purely accidental nature of this mistake which incidentally occured whilst the other great smokescreen was being thrown up... that of gunpowder weapons which heralded the demise of the other great Omani weapon;The Spear. That period also witnessed the slide from grace of the absolutely Omani blade; "The Old Omani Battle Sword" which even today holds an honourable place as a fighting Icon with a royal blessing on a redesigned Sayiddiyah hilt.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.


My question was NOT about the straight DANCING sword. It was about the straight bladed NON (only approx. 2" flex) flexible Omani sword.
For you to say that these do not exist (para 2 above) is IMHO not true, as many of these are in collections of Forumites, and for that matter respected dealers.

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Old 2nd June 2013, 04:00 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1

My question was NOT about the straight DANCING sword. It was about the straight bladed NON (only approx. 2" flex) flexible Omani sword.
For you to say that these do not exist (para 2 above) is IMHO not true, as many of these are in collections of Forumites, and for that matter respected dealers.



Salaams ~ No I didn't say they don't exist... its just that if a non flexi blade has been fitted onto a long conical Omani hilt it isn't a dancing sword... its a mixture of another blade on an Omani long hilt... probably a Red Sea variant ...and quite likely to have been so fitted for commercial reasons...not least the tourism market.( Muscat has been doing that since 1970) I can prove, because I know the people who have done the conversions, that hundreds or probably thousands of these mixes have been sold via Muscat main souk to Tourists from all over the world.

Anyone so inclined could technically fit any blade from anywhere onto Omani long hilts but that wouldn't make them an Omani dancing sword ... insofar as swords are concerned the breed is not interchangeable simply by adding a long Omani Hilt.

To be clear; if the blade is non flexible and fitted to an Omani long hilt the indicators are it is not a dancing blade and that no such interim sword exists except by this accident of cross breeding caused by commercial exploitation in the market...

The whole point about flexibility is in the reason for its very existence and invention as a pageantry only sword.

Whilst my letter is about 50 years too late I am afraid that it is also not my fault ~ such is life ~ as I have already pointed out the provenance on such a blade could well exceed the importance of a mere dancing sword and could even be Schiavona or as in the case of the weapon at Kattara for comments #149 a much rarer Algerian weapon the stamp of which is shown to be Algerian at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...attara+comments

There is always the strong possibility that these stiffer blades are related to Mamluk style.

You in fact have a sword with the similar dimensions of such a possibility and could it not masquerade as an Omani Dancing Sword if it was on a long Omani Hilt ? ... see #81 at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...attara+comments

In respect of your respected dealers comment I really am at a loss on how to respond since it would never be my aim to go against anything a respected dealer might think...oh wait a mo... I am a respected dealer... so if I may respond with some experience; The truth of this matter is;

The Omani Dancing Sword... The Straight Omani Sayf ... Dancing and pageants only. Specially invented as the current Dynastys sword of Salutation and Pageantry since 1744. Not for fighting.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 3rd June 2013, 01:53 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANTARU
have any examples of the Omani Spear or spears from the Gulf Regions/Yemen survived to date?



Salaams BANTARU ~ There is one only in the "Richardson and Dorr" reference book on Omani artifacts. The spear fell into demise because of the advent of gunpowder..it also failed to make the grade because the much easier to carry sword and khanjar did. It was a matter of simple practicality and there was no contest since rifles simply superceded spears.

If I get the chance I will open a thread on Omani Spears later...

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Old 3rd June 2013, 02:03 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANTARU
have any examples of the Omani Spear or spears from the Gulf Regions/Yemen survived to date?


An interesting point - I have never actually seen a spear from the Arabian Peninsula region, although I have seen a picture of one in old postcard...
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Old 3rd June 2013, 02:37 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
An interesting point - I have never actually seen a spear from the Arabian Peninsula region, although I have seen a picture of one in old postcard...


Salaams Colin~ It is a very interesting field and there are a few in the museums. I will open the thread now with my only exhibit from the book above.

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Old 4th June 2013, 12:33 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams BANTARU ~ There is one only in the "Richardson and Dorr" reference book on Omani artifacts. The spear fell into demise because of the advent of gunpowder..it also failed to make the grade because the much easier to carry sword and khanjar did. It was a matter of simple practicality and there was no contest since rifles simply superceded spears.

If I get the chance I will open a thread on Omani Spears later...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.



Salaam Wajah,

Thank You for the thread. However, before the advent of gunfire, the spear would certainly have been more useful than the sword or khanjar, for long-range attacks or during pursuit of fleeing enemies or for killing infantry from horse/camel back.
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Old 4th June 2013, 06:33 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANTARU
Salaam Wajah,

Thank You for the thread. However, before the advent of gunfire, the spear would certainly have been more useful than the sword or khanjar, for long-range attacks or during pursuit of fleeing enemies or for killing infantry from horse/camel back.



Salaams Bantaru... Absolutely agreed... which is why it was first to fall into disuse as soon as the rifle.. or long gun (Roumi or abu futtila appeared)

The new thread; THE OMANI SPEAR is open

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Old 4th June 2013, 09:53 PM   #49
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MY KNOWLEGE IN THIS FIELD IS ONLY AS DEEP AS WHAT I HAVE READ IN THIS THREAD, SO PARDON ANY CONJECTURE OR SILLY COMMENTS I MAY MAKE.
IT APPEARS TO ME THE INTRODUCTION OF THE FELXABLE DANCE SWORD INTO PARADE USE CAME QUICKELY. NO DOUBT IN EARLIER TIMES WARRIORS CARRIED THEIR WAR SWORDS IN SUCH PROCESSIONS. TO GET A OLD WARRIOR TO LEAVE HIS CHERISHED WAR SWORD BEHIND WOULD NOT BE EASY OR POPULAR. TO APPEAR IN A PROCESSION BEFORE YOUR RULER WITHOUT YOUR SWORD OR NOT TO GO AT ALL WOULD NO DOUBT BRING DISHONOR OR WORSE.
THIS LEADS ME TO SUSPECT A ROYAL EDICT WAS THE CAUSE FOR THE RAPID CHANGE. WHERE WOULD A WISE RULER GET SUCH AN IDEA? HE KNEW HIS PEOPLE WOULD NOT LIKE TO APPEAR BEFORE HIM IN TRADITIONAL PROCESSIONS WITH NO SWORD BUT FOR SOME REASON WANTED TO CHANGE THE TRADITION WITHOUT TOO MUCH TROUBLE. POSSIBLE REASONS FOR THE CHANGE 1. TO STOP FATAL FIGHTS AMONG WARRIORS 2 . SECURITY FROM ASSINATION.
PERHAPS FLEXABLE SWORDS WERE USED IN THEATRE SUCH A WOBBLY FLEXABLE SWORD WOULD BE VERY GOOD IN COMEDY. PERHAPS PERFORMERS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE REAL WEAPONS WHEN PERFORMING BEFORE RULERS. THE RULER MAY HAVE SEEN THIS AND SAW A WAY TO PASS HIS EDICT REQUIRING EVERY PARTICIPANT TO HAVE SUCH A SWORD HE MAY EVEN HAVE HAD SOME MADE TO HIS ORDER TO GIVE AS PRESENTS TO HIGH RANKING MEN OR PERHAPS TO ENTIRE UNITS SO AS TO NOT LOSE THEIR SUPPORT OR FAVOR. THIS WOULD ASSURE EVERY ONE WOULD WANT SUCH A SWORD FOR THE PROCESSIONS AND NO DOUBT LEAD TO A COMPETICIAN OF SHOWMANSHIP SUCH AS BUZZING, THROWING AND FIGHTING WITH THE OBJECT OF ONLY CUTTING YOUR OPONENTS THUMB.
CONJECTURE MY SPECIALITY BUT PERHAPS IT MAY GIVE A DIRECTION TO SEARCH IN AS ROYAL RECORDS ARE LIKELY TO BE VAST IN NUMBERS. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR QUEST.
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Old 5th June 2013, 09:41 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VANDOO
MY KNOWLEGE IN THIS FIELD IS ONLY AS DEEP AS WHAT I HAVE READ IN THIS THREAD, SO PARDON ANY CONJECTURE OR SILLY COMMENTS I MAY MAKE.
IT APPEARS TO ME THE INTRODUCTION OF THE FELXABLE DANCE SWORD INTO PARADE USE CAME QUICKELY. NO DOUBT IN EARLIER TIMES WARRIORS CARRIED THEIR WAR SWORDS IN SUCH PROCESSIONS. TO GET A OLD WARRIOR TO LEAVE HIS CHERISHED WAR SWORD BEHIND WOULD NOT BE EASY OR POPULAR. TO APPEAR IN A PROCESSION BEFORE YOUR RULER WITHOUT YOUR SWORD OR NOT TO GO AT ALL WOULD NO DOUBT BRING DISHONOR OR WORSE.
THIS LEADS ME TO SUSPECT A ROYAL EDICT WAS THE CAUSE FOR THE RAPID CHANGE. WHERE WOULD A WISE RULER GET SUCH AN IDEA? HE KNEW HIS PEOPLE WOULD NOT LIKE TO APPEAR BEFORE HIM IN TRADITIONAL PROCESSIONS WITH NO SWORD BUT FOR SOME REASON WANTED TO CHANGE THE TRADITION WITHOUT TOO MUCH TROUBLE. POSSIBLE REASONS FOR THE CHANGE 1. TO STOP FATAL FIGHTS AMONG WARRIORS 2 . SECURITY FROM ASSINATION.
PERHAPS FLEXABLE SWORDS WERE USED IN THEATRE SUCH A WOBBLY FLEXABLE SWORD WOULD BE VERY GOOD IN COMEDY. PERHAPS PERFORMERS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE REAL WEAPONS WHEN PERFORMING BEFORE RULERS. THE RULER MAY HAVE SEEN THIS AND SAW A WAY TO PASS HIS EDICT REQUIRING EVERY PARTICIPANT TO HAVE SUCH A SWORD HE MAY EVEN HAVE HAD SOME MADE TO HIS ORDER TO GIVE AS PRESENTS TO HIGH RANKING MEN OR PERHAPS TO ENTIRE UNITS SO AS TO NOT LOSE THEIR SUPPORT OR FAVOR. THIS WOULD ASSURE EVERY ONE WOULD WANT SUCH A SWORD FOR THE PROCESSIONS AND NO DOUBT LEAD TO A COMPETICIAN OF SHOWMANSHIP SUCH AS BUZZING, THROWING AND FIGHTING WITH THE OBJECT OF ONLY CUTTING YOUR OPONENTS THUMB.
CONJECTURE MY SPECIALITY BUT PERHAPS IT MAY GIVE A DIRECTION TO SEARCH IN AS ROYAL RECORDS ARE LIKELY TO BE VAST IN NUMBERS. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR QUEST.


Salaams VANDOO That is exactly what happenend when the new (current)Dynasty developed the idea in about 1744 and according to the Museum sources, thus, it became the celebrated design for the dancing sword and for pageants and march past...never for fighting... though the tribes dont exactly march.. they sort of saunter and dance past en masse before the ruler with great pomp throwing their swords in the air and shimmering their blades with clever wrist flicking actions (something that stiff sword blades cannot do...) Throwing stiff swords in the air would be counter produtive to the population count!! The mimic sword fight contest would also be a bit dodgey with a stiff blade as the idea is to score the winning point by touching the opponents thumb on his shield hand ... not sawing off his hand/ arm / fingers..into the bargain ! The Omani Sayf.. The Omani straight dancing and pageants only sword entered the Omani Funoon .. the great traditional enactment reflecting the history of Oman and the sword was honoured by being sharpened on both edges like its predecessor The Omani Battle Sword.. and further enhanced by the provision of the Terrs Battle Shield. (Buckler).

Thank you for your excellent post.

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Old 31st August 2013, 06:43 PM   #51
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Default Tourist Swords.

Salaams all Note to Forum; How the spurious non flexible blade has appeared on Omani Long Hilts.

Some people have examples of fake Omani dancing swords which are non flexible... other than a slight few degrees of bend. These are fakes made in Muttrah Souk from 1970. They are old Ethiopian blades imported from Sanaa and rehilted in Muscat for the tourist market. For those who think that another Omani Sword exists ie a straight non flexible blade on a conical Omani longhilt the answer is no . No such weapon exists. It is a concoction of the souk workshops.

See Post #2 at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17556

This describes the now known route of such blades; many originally 19th C German/European, sold to Ethiopia thence to Yemen(Sanaa) and Saudia and on to Salalah and Mutrah Souks which have appeared spuriously on Omani long hilts and sold to visitors/tourists as Omani swords. It is difficult to know where to slot this mixed up weapon since it is not of the family Omani Battle Sword nor is it an Omani Dancing Sword (The Straight Sayf).

It is however placed here for reference and carries the warning that an Omani long hilted straight sword with a blade that is not flexible must immediately be looked at as a potential fake and likely to be mismatched from a Red Sea variant. They are classified as Tourist Swords.

Workshop in Muttrah have been identified as having created probably thousands of such mix ups since 1970. Many workshops are defunct but some remain. They often extend the tang (pictures available) and can add original scabbards and furniture. None of these swords appear to be absorbed into the Omani local market because;

"the dancing sword must be a certain style and able to bend often almost double since that is the criteria for the 1744 flexible dancing style continuing to be made locally today in Ras al Khaimah and Salalah and pre 1970 by wandering gypsy groups all over Oman".

I have included this post here and on Omani Battle Swords... so that library is correctly served.

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Old 31st August 2013, 07:47 PM   #52
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I have a straight-bladed Omani sword. The blade is obviously locally-made and is marked with the "eylashes". It is flexible, but the tip can go off axis by no more than 2-3 inches. The blade is solid and battle - worthy.


My Argument against Ibrahim's theory is somewhat different: these swords were made at a time when swordfights were epidemic in the area. Thus, most if not all men owned battle swords.
Why on earth would they keep their fighting swords at home and acquire flimsy dancing implements to, - allegedly, - honor their ancestors. Too much money to burn?:-) Honoring ancestors with specially-made battle-worthless fakes? Makes no sense to me, unless there is something special in the Omani culture, and I have too much respect for them to suspect it.

Sword dances were widely popular in other cultures ( Caucasus, Ukraine, Cossack comes to mind right away), but those used real fighting blades. Otherwise, they would look like sissies. Was Oman a special case? I have great doubts about it: the laws of militant display are pretty standard all over the world.
No doubt that by now, when real swords are not practicable, lost, broken or sold to tourists for mucho dinero, the dancing ceremonies might employ flimsy substitutes ( same as modern Caucasian dancing troupes) . But 100-200 years ago? Sorry, but the theory looks totally illogical.
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Old 1st September 2013, 07:20 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
I have a straight-bladed Omani sword. The blade is obviously locally-made and is marked with the "eylashes". It is flexible, but the tip can go off axis by no more than 2-3 inches. The blade is solid and battle - worthy.


My Argument against Ibrahim's theory is somewhat different: these swords were made at a time when swordfights were epidemic in the area. Thus, most if not all men owned battle swords.
Why on earth would they keep their fighting swords at home and acquire flimsy dancing implements to, - allegedly, - honor their ancestors. Too much money to burn?:-) Honoring ancestors with specially-made battle-worthless fakes? Makes no sense to me, unless there is something special in the Omani culture, and I have too much respect for them to suspect it.

Sword dances were widely popular in other cultures ( Caucasus, Ukraine, Cossack comes to mind right away), but those used real fighting blades. Otherwise, they would look like sissies. Was Oman a special case? I have great doubts about it: the laws of militant display are pretty standard all over the world.
No doubt that by now, when real swords are not practicable, lost, broken or sold to tourists for mucho dinero, the dancing ceremonies might employ flimsy substitutes ( same as modern Caucasian dancing troupes) . But 100-200 years ago? Sorry, but the theory looks totally illogical.


Salaams Ariel ~ How correct you are in pointing to the special Omani culture. In 1744 the new ruler called for an identifying sword of dance specifically for the Bussaidi dynasty. Thus was invented/born the Omani Saif or Dancing Sword. This has the flexible blade so that it can shimmer and buzz in the air when it is danced with and at weddings and social gatherings and for the march past by tribal infantry... and people. Its hilt was taken from the Omani Kattara. It has a mimic fighting performance also part of the culture ~ and in fact an entire ensemble of such dances with and without the Saif are in what the Omani People call The Traditions or "Funoon."

Your querry illustrates the difficulty that sword people have all over the world... in understanding the point. It's not a weapon ... It's a dancing sword ...to celebrate, dance, perform, pageants and traditions. It is the Bussaidi Dynasty Sword. It has never been used for fighting.

What has happenend since 1970 is that Yemeni merchants have bought and sold Ethiopian and other Red Sea blades and where these blades have had Rhino hilts they have been stripped off and put on Jambia... The blades then applied to the Omani market mainly Muttrah Souk Muscat. Enterprising Omani Souk Store owners have mismatched these blades with Omani Longhilts and occasionally scabbards and offered them for sale to tourists...They look real. They aren't.


Flexibility. The blade when flicked by the wrist can be seen to buzz and bends in the region of 5 to 6 inches both sides of the vertical ...see #5... by this action alone. When you press the blade horizontal against a wall it will bend almost 90 degrees easily. When you seize the tip and bend it back it can bend almost double and on release springs back straight.

Rule. An Omani long hilted straight dancing sword with a blade that is not flexible must immediately be looked at as a potential fake and likely to be mismatched from a Red Sea variant. They are classified as Tourist Swords.


The identification of an Omani dancing sword does not depend on whether a blade is considered capable of chopping a horses leg off or slicing through watermellons or chunks of wood...It is a sharp 2 edged item with a spatulate tip on a long Omani hilt. The blade, variously fullered, MUST BE FLEXIBLE.

There are 4 categories of Omani Sword;

1. The Old Omani Battle Sword. (Saif Yamaani)
2. The Omani Dancing Sword. (The straight flexible Omani Sayf)
3. The Omani Shamshiir.
4. The Omani Kattara.

As a note Ariel.. I have never seen an Omani Dancing Sword with eye lash markings... not yet anyway. Lots from the Red Sea region but not Oman.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 1st September 2013, 09:16 AM   #54
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The heavy straight bladed Oman long handled sword of Kattara type hilt from aniquity exist, various examples have been viewed and owned by many.

There is no concrete evidence to say that swords with these heavy blades were not used in dance, they probably were used in dance but the point remains these swords are present in the world.

Please make the trip to Australia or England and view first hand antique Oman straight swords with fighting type blades, original items, not tourist swords but swords of antiquity. Find your best fake from the best fake makers and bring it with you to compare these inaccuracies.

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Old 1st September 2013, 09:42 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
The heavy straight bladed Oman long handled sword of Kattara type hilt from aniquity exist, various examples have been viewed and owned by many.

There is no concrete evidence to say that swords with these heavy blades were not used in dance, they probably were used in dance but the point remains these swords are present in the world.

Please make the trip to Australia or England and view first hand antique Oman straight swords with fighting type blades, original items, not tourist swords but swords of antiquity. Find your best fake from the best fake makers and bring it with you to compare these inaccuracies.

Gavin



No. What are owned are traded in blades converted as I have said many times but to apparently no avail. ...read #53 above.

At this point I would suggest you contact the Omani National Museum since it is from there that confirmation must be accepted as I have done... and from the Richardson and Dorr cultural herritage work on same. Not to mention a long and interesting study of more than 3 decades in the subject. No such weapon exists except as described by me; The Omani souk produced weapon cross matched Re Sea Blade and Omani hilt scabbard etc are not classified as Omani Swords because there is no classification for fakes or Tourist Swords.

At this point therefor I decline your offer of me travelling to Australia or England to look at Red Sea examples of fake Omani Swords since I am quite aware of their provenance. You are of course invited to travel yourself and I will show you the Muscat workshop where such switched are still being done, if that is, you are still not convinced by the wealth of information at Museum level here or by the detailed work added by me on Kattara for Comments and on the specific details at The Omani Battle Sword and The Omani Dancing Sword.

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Old 1st September 2013, 10:06 AM   #56
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Thank you for your offer.

At this point, I must ask, why would a souk worker take a perfectly good complete with scabbrd antique flexible dance sword from antiquity, with wonderful culturally important fittings, design and artistry and history and being culturally important itself in its complete form, then remove the blade, then somehow fit a thicker fighting type blade in to a scabbard meant for its thinner brother, join the hilt in some manner that does not in any way disturb one ounce of age and patina and sell it as a [????] to tourists....seems rather odd that Omani Souk owners are destroying cultural heritage in an exercise of wasted time and resources when it would be just as easy to sell the original sword...Then what happens to the flexible blade? Does it then get dressed in modern leather, steel and silver of which I only see a couple of in the photos compared to the dozens and dozens of what I'd call beaters in the rest of the photos....

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Old 1st September 2013, 10:20 AM   #57
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Default Flexible Dancer. The Straight Omani Sayf..1744 The Bussaidi Dynasty Sword

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Thank you for your offer.

At this point, I must ask, why would a souk worker take a perfectly good complete with scabbrd antique flexible dance sword from antiquity, with wonderful culturally important fittings, design and artistry and history and being culturally important itself in its complete form, then remove the blade, then somehow fit a thicker fighting type blade in to a scabbard meant for its thinner brother, join the hilt in some manner that does not in any way disturb one ounce of age and patina and sell it as a [????] to tourists....seems rather odd that Omani Souk owners are destroying cultural heritage in an exercise of wasted time and resources when it would be just as easy to sell the original sword...Then what happens to the flexible blade? Does it then get dressed in modern leather, steel and silver of which I only see a couple of in the photos compared to the dozens and dozens of what I'd call beaters in the rest of the photos....

Gavin



Salaams SwordsAntiqueWeapons,

In answer to your souk worker question ~I have no idea.. but I think you are arriving at the finished product in the wrong way. Here is how it worked;

1. Blade arrives from Yeman (Sanaa) to souk Muscat circa 1970 or after (not before as there weren't any tourists to speak of before that)
2. Souk shop transfers blade to workshops.
Blade is fitted up, tang extended, and long hilt fitted. .
3. Scabbard is tooled up to suit... including as you point out quite excellent furniture hand tooled leather and silver where required. Page 454 of Richardson and Dorr has metalwork such as yours you showed me on e mail..

What you now have is a non flexible Red Sea Blade on an Omani Long Handle heavily camouflaged and looking every inch an Omani Sword which it is not. Sold to a Tourist... and thus can turn up worldwide in this very confusing guise.

I have to say that you are not the first specialist in swords to have been misled by the Swords of Oman. Many 19TH C visitors made similar mistakes which because of the written word have become concreted in as fact when they aren't true at all.. viz;

1878 Mr Geary, Times of India...Muscat ..Quote" A favourite weapon is a straight broad two handed sword; the sweep of which would take off a mans thigh or even cut him in two at the waist. The swordsmen carried over their shoulders small round shields of Rhinosceros hide 8 or 9 inches in diameter. The Arabs of these parts are very formidable swordsmen." Unquote.

James Wellstead visit to tribesmen Jalaan Bani Bu Ali 1835 Quote" The whole of the tribe... of about 250 men assembled for the purpose of exhibiting their dance. They had formed a circle within 5 or 6 of their number now entered. After walking leisurely around for some time, each challenged one of the spectators by striking him gently with the flat of his sword. His adversary immediately leapt forth and feigned combat ensued. They have but two cuts, one directly downwards at the head, and the other horizontally across the legs. They parry each other neither with sword nor shields but avoid the blows by leaping and bounding backwards. The blade of their sword is 3 feet in length, straqight thin double edged and as sharp as a razor''. Unquote.

What Wellstead didnt mention because he probably didn't know... is that there is but one point in the scoring system awarded if the thumb of the shield hand is touched by the flat tip of the oponents sword ... game over.

He also failed to notice that the weapon was not in fact a weapon but a dancing and pageant sword only and since the Mimic Fight is in fact an important part of the pageant The...Hooplah!!...Hey Presto!!...A pageantry Sword. (Pageant = Traditions = The Funoon.)

There are plenty other examples of mistaken identity and it is interesting to see it perpetrated today and in this case by a reasonably recent sword format fetched in by trade and rehilted by enterprising workshops.

Like always ... I am quite prepared to leave the door open for logical arguement and for anyone to dive in and start researching the issue. I continue to search always on the lookout for twists and turns in the story and always ready to re-assess my findings. To date I have seen no evidence to illustrate another avenue on these sword rebuilds but as always I am ready to listen and will follow up on leads which are sensible and constructive. Tilting at Windmills, however, ...I've done that and do not intend to repeat the experience !

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.








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Old 1st September 2013, 11:02 AM   #58
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With respect, and hence my invitation,

A first hand and even scientific analysis of the sword we now discuss will reveal to you that this is now a 43year old souk manufactured sword nor is the delicate string worked leather scabbard....

They do exisit and it is worth the effort to explore the type in detail as they are in my opinion valid and I have ideas as to how and why they are in the world but first the opinion that they do not exist must be passed and explored further to comfirm this for you.

I must also point out, not specific to these swords or the souks spoken of or any other Oman sword type but tang extension has been common for hundereds of years and likely longer throughout Syria and other surronding countries just as base steel tangs and forte's were extended to wootz blades.

Gavin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
I have no idea.. but I think you are arriving at the finished product in the wrong way.
1. Blade arrives in souk Muscat circa 1970 (not before as there werent any tourists to speak of before that)
2. Souk shop transfers blade to workshops.
Blade is fitted up tang extended and long hilt fitted silvered up etc.
3. Scabbard is tooled up to suit... including as you point out quite excellent furniture. Page 454 of Richardson and Dorr has metalwork such as yours you showed me on e mail..
What you now have is a non flexible Red Sea Blade on an Omani Long Handle heavily camouflaged and looking every inch an Omani Sword which it is not. Sold to a Tourist... and thus can turn up worldwide in this very confusing guise.

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Old 1st September 2013, 11:22 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
With respect, and hence my invitation,

A first hand and even scientific analysis of the sword we now discuss will reveal to you that this is now a 43year old souk manufactured sword nor is the delicate string worked leather scabbard....

They do exisit and it is worth the effort to explore the type in detail as they are in my opinion valid and I have ideas as to how and why they are in the world but first the opinion that they do not exist must be passed and explored further to comfirm this for you.

I must also point out, not specific to these swords or the souks spoken of or any other Oman sword type but tang extension has been common for hundereds of years and likely longer throughout Syria and other surronding countries just as base steel tangs and forte's were extended to wootz blades.

Gavin


Salaams SwordsAntiqueWeapons,

I dont understand your first paragraph ?


If you have an idea as to how these arrived then lets hear it ! The hot anvil of Forum discussion awaits your findings...

Tang extensions... On Omani longhilts its different... The pommel is part of the tang... On non pommel swords the tang has to be extended and a pommel welded on... then the sword can be hilted like a long Omani hilt... not before.

An example of an extended tang is on file here where you can see an Ethiopian blade fitted with an extended tang and pommel and awaiting its Omani hilt to be fitted in Muscat at Muttrah where they've been doing this for decades ! This blade has come up the same route as yours.. Germany- Ethiopia - Yemen/ Sanaa) -Muscat -Tourist -Worldwide -

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...attara+comments see post 241.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 1st September 2013, 11:37 AM   #60
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With respect to your updated post from which I drew my quote of yours.

With consideration to a number of things mentioned but the absence of examples collected by these authors, they are but merely telling a story in their journals, not studying specifics of weapons nor collecting them.

This sword of fighting type we discuss between us for example, is certainly a thin sword to coin the phrase presented above by one author...very thin compared to English regulation swords for sure and thin in many respects to Indian swords of the time and period that he was exposed to but a strong well forged fighting type.

As I have mentioned, I have no denial that these swords were used in dance, that is not being questioned, but they did certainly carry heavier fighting blades in this style of sword.


Gavin
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