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Old 26th April 2013, 06:03 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default Zanzibar? Nimcha.

Hi,
New addition. What I believe to be a Zanzibar Nimcha. Overall length 35 inches, blade length 29 inches, blade width 1 5/16 inches and 1/4 inch at its thickest, it is very sharp with the 4 1/2 inch false edge also extremely sharp. Although this does not have the 'guard ring', the hilt shape, the quillion type, the blade profile and the peaked silver collar on the grip lead me to think this is a Zanzibar type. See thread http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=nimcha and the post by LPCA/Louis-Pierre. I look forward as usual to your thoughts and comments.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 26th April 2013, 09:02 PM   #2
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A comparison of hilts.
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Old 29th April 2013, 05:09 PM   #3
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi,
New addition. What I believe to be a Zanzibar Nimcha. Overall length 35 inches, blade length 29 inches, blade width 1 5/16 inches and 1/4 inch at its thickest, it is very sharp with the 4 1/2 inch false edge also extremely sharp. Although this does not have the 'guard ring', the hilt shape, the quillion type, the blade profile and the peaked silver collar on the grip lead me to think this is a Zanzibar type. See thread http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=nimcha and the post by LPCA/Louis-Pierre. I look forward as usual to your thoughts and comments.
Regards,
Norman.



Salaams Norman McCormick, Nice to see your Zanzibari Nimcha. Buttin as portrayed in your reference clearly earmarks this style in his sketches. The mixups occur in the other similar styles from North Africa especially the Moroccan and Algerian ... the later having closonne decoration and which can be found at library at my second reference below.

see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...anzibari+nimcha and a real treat of Moroccan style on thread http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4782 see # 13 of this reference for clossonne decoration.

What is also interesting is where the hilts blades and scabbards were made. We usually see scabbards decorated in a sort of repeated swirl on the leather. The link to the fabulously decorated elephant tusk hilt with gold decoration is clear. The blades appear European in style but some local manufacture Hadramaut ? seems likely and I do not rule out Indian blades Hyderabadi... due to trade links etc. Some of the hilts will be rosewood and others Rhino.
What is questionable is who wore these swords?.. To me it seems likely that the lavishly decorated version hung on the VIP waist... so they must have been Omanis .. Merchants, Royal Family, and important Officials...Ministers and slave traders, Captains and Admirals.. etc. They were technically Zanzibari but when it was owned by Oman... worn by Omani VIPs.
Your sword would surely have been the more practical version worn by officers, sea traders and seafarers more than likely Omani officers. I would even go so far as to put this style in the military category.
The only real evidence is Buttin and other publications such as the late Anthony North.. Islamic Arms.... (and our own library !!)as more exact details are difficult to ascertain even in Muscat museums.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 29th April 2013 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 30th April 2013, 04:46 PM   #4
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Hi Ibrahiim,
Many thanks for your input and interest. I would certainly agree that this Nimcha is definitely of the using kind and not merely for decoration. I am in two minds about the origin of the blade i.e. is it European or Indian etc.? The ricasso makes me steer towards Euro trade blade and probably the earlier part of the 19thC. Thanks once again for the info.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 14th April 2014, 05:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Ibrahiim,
Many thanks for your input and interest. I would certainly agree that this Nimcha is definitely of the using kind and not merely for decoration. I am in two minds about the origin of the blade i.e. is it European or Indian etc.? The ricasso makes me steer towards Euro trade blade and probably the earlier part of the 19thC. Thanks once again for the info.
My Regards,
Norman.


Hello Norman and Salaams. I just wanted to get a reference onto your post because I dont want to lose the importance of your pictures etc.. The area I am looking here at is the Quillon end decoration since I have recently posted a comb with similar decoration to the Ivory and Gold Nimcha more or less indicating a Zanzibari provenance which in turn shines a similar light onto the decorated quillons as being Zanzibari. This would thus confirm your sword as coming from the same region..
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Old 15th April 2014, 08:07 PM   #6
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Hi Ibrahiim,
Many thanks for your continued interest and added illustrative images. I am, of course, following closely the excellent discussion on these weapons currently running on the Forum. Thanks again.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 16th April 2014, 02:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Ibrahiim,
Many thanks for your continued interest and added illustrative images. I am, of course, following closely the excellent discussion on these weapons currently running on the Forum. Thanks again.
My Regards,
Norman.


Salaams~
Thank You Norman... Your posts are always excellent and supportive.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 16th April 2014, 05:14 PM   #8
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Ibrahiim,
Excellent work!!! and I think you may be onto something here. These are unusual 'dragonhead' quillon terminals, a fixture long standing in Ottoman context deriving from Timurid and Safavid styling as far back as 15th century, and further heritage to Saljuq types.

What seems unusual is that these highly stylized examples appear to be quite similar, and shown with examples reflecting other motif and fixtures compellingly shown to be likely Zanzibar products. In the case of these rather blockish terminals they seem to carry the same basic design, which only remotely reflects the typically Ottoman forms seen on many hilts from India, Afghanistan, Turkey and even into Bosnia.

While we may recognize these particular examples of nimcha with these similar features as Zanzibar products, it is important to note that these represent classification by motif rather than as a distinct hilt form as was the case with the D loop guard.

I have found further examples of this hilt feature in a nimcha stated from a specific workshop for the Ottoman court of Murad III (r.1574-95) and is seen in "The Silver Dragon and the Golden Fish", David Alexander, 'Gladius XXIII, 2003. This is illustrated in "Arts of the Muslim Knight", Bashir Mohamed, Furissiya Art Foundation 2008 .

On this sword which has the characteristic nimcha style hilt, with quillons and the 'ring' guard, and the pommel has the familiar hand nock and a peaked backstrap .
Most interesting on the blade, is a mark grouping with three orbs having projecting lines, an Italian mark known on numerous blades. This same mark appears (op.it. AMK, p.176) on an Ottoman dagger blade believed from Bosnia 17th c. These attributed to Arnaut admirals and corsairs of Algerian regions.

Clearly these instances reflect the hilt form, as well as the ring guard, to end of the 16th century, again emphasizing the influence in these elements from Italian sources, and entering into the Ottoman/Arab sphere in this early period.
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Old 17th April 2014, 04:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Ibrahiim,
Excellent work!!! and I think you may be onto something here. These are unusual 'dragonhead' quillon terminals, a fixture long standing in Ottoman context deriving from Timurid and Safavid styling as far back as 15th century, and further heritage to Saljuq types.

What seems unusual is that these highly stylized examples appear to be quite similar, and shown with examples reflecting other motif and fixtures compellingly shown to be likely Zanzibar products. In the case of these rather blockish terminals they seem to carry the same basic design, which only remotely reflects the typically Ottoman forms seen on many hilts from India, Afghanistan, Turkey and even into Bosnia.

While we may recognize these particular examples of nimcha with these similar features as Zanzibar products, it is important to note that these represent classification by motif rather than as a distinct hilt form as was the case with the D loop guard.

I have found further examples of this hilt feature in a nimcha stated from a specific workshop for the Ottoman court of Murad III (r.1574-95) and is seen in "The Silver Dragon and the Golden Fish", David Alexander, 'Gladius XXIII, 2003. This is illustrated in "Arts of the Muslim Knight", Bashir Mohamed, Furissiya Art Foundation 2008 .

On this sword which has the characteristic nimcha style hilt, with quillons and the 'ring' guard, and the pommel has the familiar hand nock and a peaked backstrap .
Most interesting on the blade, is a mark grouping with three orbs having projecting lines, an Italian mark known on numerous blades. This same mark appears (op.it. AMK, p.176) on an Ottoman dagger blade believed from Bosnia 17th c. These attributed to Arnaut admirals and corsairs of Algerian regions.

Clearly these instances reflect the hilt form, as well as the ring guard, to end of the 16th century, again emphasizing the influence in these elements from Italian sources, and entering into the Ottoman/Arab sphere in this early period.



Salaams Jim... Superb detail and as usual impeccable references ... I believe that places the ancient design in the right area. Actually purely by accident this time ... the thread on Nimchas is kind of split, however, it is well balanced and anyway is well placed in Library. I am searching for the kind of chunky geometric ironwork seen on the Quillons which I know is an African trait... and also appears in Portuguese and Dutch iron/brass on handles and lock plates on Chests...The type of Chest was very much copied and adorned with heavy wood carving and the same sort of metalwork... In Zanzibar ~!!! Thank you for your post.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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