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Old 29th May 2014, 01:47 PM   #1
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Default The Habaabi Khanjar/Jambia; FromThe Asir.

The Habaabi Khanjar/Jambia; From "The Asir"

Salaams,

Some slight puzzlement has transpired over the apparent likeness to certain Saudia Arabian weapons and those of Oman. Indeed it appears that through Muscat trade by sea and camel train, diffusion of their weapons has spread regionally. One such influence appears on the Muscat sea trade route to Zanzibar Islands and the North East African broad regional strip also known as Zangibar in old maps. Perhaps the same has occurred in other regions such as the Bahrayn region that in older days contained the great Al Ahsa Oasis in Eastern Saudia though a study of those weapons has not yet been made for comparison.

This post therefor will deal with The Asir weapon.

From Wikepedia the following sections Quote''Asir or 'Aseer /ˈɑːsɪər/ (Arabic: عسير‎ ʿAsīr) is a region of Saudi Arabia located in the southwest of the country, named after the confederation of clans of the same name. It has an area of 81,000 km² and an estimated population of 2,190,000 It shares a short border with Yemen. Its capital is Abha.

History
In 25 B.C. Aelius Gallus marched his legions south from Egypt on a 1,300-mile expedition to take control of the ancient overland trade routes between the Mediterranean and what is now Yemen and Hadhramaut. The Romans wanted control of those routes because they were desperate for money and hoped to raise some by capturing Marib, capital of Yemen, and taking control of the trade in incense - then a priceless commodity - and other valuable aromatics. As it turned out, however, the expedition was a disaster and little information about 'Asir emerged.

By 1920, however, 'Abd al-'Aziz, founder of Saudi Arabia, had begun to recoup the losses of the House of Sa'ud and to unify most of the Peninsula under his rule. As part of this campaign, he sent his young son Faisal - later king - with an expeditionary force to occupy 'Asir, and from then on 'Asir was controlled by the House of Sa'ud - a situation formalized in 1934 with the signing of the Treaty of Taif between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Even then the region was still largely unknown to the West. In 1932, H. St. John Philby, one of the first Europeans to explore and map the Peninsula, did enter 'Asir, but as he didn't publish his observations until 1952, the area remained one of the blank spots on the world's map.'' Unquote.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/5512947198

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytripsmypics/4336633417

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/5780340287

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/5780340299

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytripsmypics/4318547823

Maps Key to the Asir region is the main port of Jazan vital in the old days as a trade centre for goods to and from Muscat and Zanzibar/Africa. Central to the name of the dagger ... The Habaabi ...is the Capital of the region Abha...from which the name derives..
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Old 29th May 2014, 03:23 PM   #2
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Default Royal Khanjar Influence?

(Cautionary note; In researching the design features of the Habaabi Khanjar and the Muscat Khanjar something odd is discovered; The large silver buttons and split palmette flower shapes don't appear on Muscat hilts... but are apparent on many Royal Khanjar Hilts. This is recorded here and on The Omani Khanjar The significance is important since it could indicate that the Habaabi Hilt design features were copied from the Royal Omani Khanjar after all !)

Shown here below for perusal The Royal Omani Khanjar Hilt and the Habaabi Hilt ... Is there a connection? If so it would define an more exact date before which the Habaabi did not exist...between 1840 and 1850. Can this be true?

It may transpire that at the height of trade between Muscat and Zanzibar via the Asir port of Jazan...in about 1850...this dagger influenced the local style becoming part of its cultural mix...directly because of The Royal Khanjars appearance at that time...designed by Sheherazad...Amazing if true...!!!

It would explain the two split palmette inward pointing buttons and the large central hilt silver strap.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 13th July 2014, 07:16 AM   #3
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Salaams All ~

I confirm that this style is Abha or as it is known in Oman, "Habaabi" (of Abha) and that the distinctive silver UUUUUU design is present in many of these weapons... just above the belt. I have noted that "Omani silver dot com" illustrates daggers from that region though the write up indicates Omani...which is an oversight by them...they aren't, but that daggers from Abha often have a flower tribe stamp...a flower on the reverse and many are engraved on the reverse or sometimes on the back of the Quba(crown) with either the owners or the makers name.

The pictures below illustrate the UUUUUUUU design and two from www.omanisilver.com show the floral stamp to the reverse...and just how close these items are to the Omani Royal Khanjar...The Saaidiyah style..because of the trade Muscat Asir Zanzibar at a high precisely when the Royal weapon was redesigned by Sheherezad in Muscat in about 1840..

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 13th July 2014, 06:10 PM   #4
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Default Term "Habaabi" clarification

For the benefit of "newbies" to this Forum, and to avoid further confusion, it should I think be noted here that the term "Habaabi" is used by Omanis to describe non Omani daggers. It is NOT a term, used for a specific style of jambiya.
This statement was made by Ibrahiim elsewhere in his posts.
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Old 14th July 2014, 06:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
For the benefit of "newbies" to this Forum, and to avoid further confusion, it should I think be noted here that the term "Habaabi" is used by Omanis to describe non Omani daggers. It is NOT a term, used for a specific style of jambiya.
This statement was made by Ibrahiim elsewhere in his posts.





Salaams All, let me quote to you what I was told by a Yemeni just the other day...

Quote"These daggers are also called Habaabi in Yemen because as you can see when you strip the word down it becomes obvious that it means of Abha... or Abha region''. Unquote. (Abha being the capital of that region.)
I have to say I am not at all convinced but the chap may be right...he is a weapons sword and dagger dealer... It is such a closed region historically that very little detail is available. Should more evidence come about on the subject of terminology I will report it.

The pronunciation is interesting since it should actually be heard as Abhaabi but that is extremely difficult to say requiring a fully aspirated AH ...Habaabi is simply an easier pronunciation.

However khanjar 1 what is much more important to researchers is the essence of this weapon and how it developed and its obvious linkage to Omani daggers. http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14878

For the uninitiated the trade link by sea between Oman(Muscat) the Asir(Jazan)...and Zanzibar in the mid 19th C is KEY. At the mid point in the 19th C Oman embarked on huge development in Zanzibar at the very same time that the Royal Omani Khanjar was designed by the Rulers wife.


Wikipedia is not a bad place to start looking for Asir...and where the difficulties are outlined as ~

Quote" By 1920, however, 'Abd al-'Aziz, founder of Saudi Arabia, had begun to recoup the losses of the House of Sa'ud and to unify most of the Peninsula under his rule. As part of this campaign, he sent his young son Faisal - later king - with an expeditionary force to occupy 'Asir, and from then on 'Asir was controlled by the House of Sa'ud - a situation formalized in 1934 with the signing of the Treaty of Taif between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Even then the region was still largely unknown to the West. In 1932, H. St. John Philby, one of the first Europeans to explore and map the Peninsula, did enter 'Asir, but as he didn't publish his observations until 1952, the area remained one of the blank spots on the world's map." Unquote.

The main port is Jazan also noted well in Wikepedia and a key centre well placed over the centuries for regional trade..

The weapon is peculiar and has confounded experts and specialists down the ages...The prestigious www.omanisilver.com even has a handful of such daggers wrongly written up as Omani..such is its similarity to The Royal Omani Khanjar...invented or redesigned from the Muscat Dagger by Sheherazad in about 1840/50 with some flair added from Indian design in the Hilt. I stress that it was the hilt which she was responsible for..See The Omani Khanjar for further details.



Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 14th July 2014, 01:51 PM   #6
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Oriental Arms has a couple of these that they categorize as Omani as well.

It seems all of these Habaabi khanjars are larger than mine. The "toe" of the scabbard is also pointing slightly upwards on these whereas mine's almost horizontal. They all also have the small "shield" thing on the bottom ring and mine doesn't, although it could have fallen off.
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Old 14th July 2014, 08:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
Oriental Arms has a couple of these that they categorize as Omani as well.

It seems all of these Habaabi khanjars are larger than mine. The "toe" of the scabbard is also pointing slightly upwards on these whereas mine's almost horizontal. They all also have the small "shield" thing on the bottom ring and mine doesn't, although it could have fallen off.



Salaams blue lander, Yes a lot of people get these twisted up because they are so similar...Not all daggers are the same size and in this respect Habaabi can be quite small in some cases... and quite narrow in the body...compared with others. The small shield over the base ring is sometimes not present. Some variation also exists in the angle of tilt...I checked the website of Oriental Arms... Yes you are spot on and the offending weapon I looked at even has the flower insignia on the reverse...as well as the UUUUUUU design on the front and another give way is the floral decor on the crown(toe)...well spotted Sir !!
It may well be that they looked at Omanisilver dot com and took their cue from there...and their rendition being wrong perpetrated the error!

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 14th July 2014, 09:23 PM   #8
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Default AL AHSA OR ASIR?

There seems to be some confusion creeping in here.
In this thread http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=18700 you are saying that the UUUUUU is an indicator of being from Al Ahsa. Now you are saying that it is from Asir. The two regions are many miles part, and indeed are on opposite sides of Saudi Arabia!
I have no doubt that there are similarities between the two, but perhaps you could, for the benefit of those us who are still learning, explain how you have arrived at this conclusion.
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Old 15th July 2014, 08:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
There seems to be some confusion creeping in here.
In this thread http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=18700 you are saying that the UUUUUU is an indicator of being from Al Ahsa. Now you are saying that it is from Asir. The two regions are many miles part, and indeed are on opposite sides of Saudi Arabia!
I have no doubt that there are similarities between the two, but perhaps you could, for the benefit of those us who are still learning, explain how you have arrived at this conclusion.



Good point ...I think my #18 of that reference indicates Asir... Abha... since the flower tribe weapons all have it. I am not so sure about the al Ahsa oasis. Frankly they are hugely difficult regions to penetrate...and what we have is by sheer hard plugging at it...

It occurs to me that the Flower tribe weapon is copied from the Royal Omani Khanjar whilst the Al Ahsa is copied from the Muscat Khanjar...which as you know led me quite a dance as the cornerstone Omani reference was entirely wrong in that regard... and the other reference so prestigious in all other respects was Omanisilver dot com is very badly wrong....and there are apparently other references which are incorrect.

Abha identity marks.
As well as the UUUUUUU (Which occasionally looks like OOOOOOO)The other marker decoration on the Abha is a floral decoration to the Quba and the flower motif on the reverse as well as an arabic inscription(maker/owner) either on the backplate above the belt or on the back of the Quba...(crown)There are many that appear to have criss coss wiring below the belt, however, to me the big give away is the highly angled scabbard turn.

I dont think enough examples exist from the al Ahsa Oasis quite yet to draw conclusions though I did stumble in and give it a shot...The major differences appear to be hilt related;more examples please...

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Old 16th July 2014, 07:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Good point ...I think my #18 of that reference indicates Asir... Abha... since the flower tribe weapons all have it. I am not so sure about the al Ahsa oasis. Frankly they are hugely difficult regions to penetrate...and what we have is by sheer hard plugging at it...

It occurs to me that the Flower tribe weapon is copied from the Royal Omani Khanjar whilst the Al Ahsa is copied from the Muscat Khanjar...which as you know led me quite a dance as the cornerstone Omani reference was entirely wrong in that regard... and the other reference so prestigious in all other respects was Omanisilver dot com is very badly wrong....and there are apparently other references which are incorrect.

Abha identity marks.
As well as the UUUUUUU (Which occasionally looks like OOOOOOO)The other marker decoration on the Abha is a floral decoration to the Quba and the flower motif on the reverse as well as an arabic inscription(maker/owner) either on the backplate above the belt or on the back of the Quba...(crown)There are many that appear to have criss coss wiring below the belt, however, to me the big give away is the highly angled scabbard turn.

I dont think enough examples exist from the al Ahsa Oasis quite yet to draw conclusions though I did stumble in and give it a shot...The major differences appear to be hilt related;more examples please...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

I think we need to express some caution here as Oman is NOT NECESSARILY the origin of all other Jambiya/Khanjar shapes or designs. The Yemeni and other Western Arabian areas spawned their own definitive designs and these can be seen described in several modern publications on the subject. These designs also have their own descriptive names depending on the areas of origin. Although the general shape is similar, it can not be IMHO, be firmly attributed to derive from Omani Khanjar types.
As a further matter of interest, the term "Habaabi" does not appear in any of these publications.
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Old 16th July 2014, 07:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
I think we need to express some caution here as Oman is NOT NECESSARILY the origin of all other Jambiya/Khanjar shapes or designs. The Yemeni and other Western Arabian areas spawned their own definitive designs and these can be seen described in several modern publications on the subject. These designs also have their own descriptive names depending on the areas of origin. Although the general shape is similar, it can not be IMHO, be firmly attributed to derive from Omani Khanjar types.
As a further matter of interest, the term "Habaabi" does not appear in any of these publications.



Salaams Khanjar 1... Colloquial knicknames and regional folk lore often don't appear in official documentation especially in the case of a region that has been taken over by another state. Habaabi means of Abha... It is the traditional and local name also used in Oman for these weapons from the Abha region...Other traditional local nameology that isnt in the official list such as the one two and three grooved swords abu Falaj etc and local names for boiling honey...arabic is full of these lovely descriptive phrases....Several local names come in to play for the old guns and there is one called The One with the hump...A Martini Henry with a raised rear breach section.

The spread of the Omani Khanjar style ... Surely you are not suggesting that the regional variants from Asir and Al Hasa came from another region...and against all the trade link details I have outlined and the obvious style? A style so like the Omani Khanjar that the Prestigious author of Omani Silver and the extremely well versed people at Omani Silver dot com and others were hoodwinked??

Prove it.

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Old 16th July 2014, 06:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams Khanjar 1... Colloquial knicknames and regional folk lore often don't appear in official documentation especially in the case of a region that has been taken over by another state. Habaabi means of Abha... It is the traditional and local name also used in Oman for these weapons from the Abha region...Other traditional local nameology that isnt in the official list such as the one two and three grooved swords abu Falaj etc and local names for boiling honey...arabic is full of these lovely descriptive phrases....Several local names come in to play for the old guns and there is one called The One with the hump...A Martini Henry with a raised rear breach section.

The spread of the Omani Khanjar style ... Surely you are not suggesting that the regional variants from Asir and Al Hasa came from another region...and against all the trade link details I have outlined and the obvious style? A style so like the Omani Khanjar that the Prestigious author of Omani Silver and the extremely well versed people at Omani Silver dot com and others were hoodwinked??

Prove it.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

I have no intention of "proving" anything. All I am saying is that Jambiya from other areas NOT NECESSARILY originated in design from Oman.
Maybe this all happened in the opposite direction.................

Remember please that this is a DISCUSSION Forum, and I am discussing rather than stating unproven facts.
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Old 17th July 2014, 06:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
I have no intention of "proving" anything. All I am saying is that Jambiya from other areas NOT NECESSARILY originated in design from Oman.
Maybe this all happened in the opposite direction.................

Remember please that this is a DISCUSSION Forum, and I am discussing rather than stating unproven facts.



Salaams Khanjar 1 ..This is indeed a discussion forum and as you know with ethnographics there is seldom a silver bullet. Often research is quite ground breaking and examples of misleading detail propogated down the decades appears and is cleaned up...sometimes no such research is available and we make of what we have, perhaps, so that some researcher in the futuure may observe these proceedings as new pieces of the jigsaw materialise...In this case more so... since both regions in the Asir and in al Hasa are veritable black holes and have been for many centuries.

I have as part of my research shown Forum the trade links of sea routed traffic Muscat Jazan Zanzibar inspired by Said Bin Sultan in the first half of the 19th C and in the timeframe(Hilt designed-1840/1850) when the Royal Saiyidiyah Khanjar was designed by one of his wives(Sheherazad) and the important hub position of Jazzan in the Asir and the region which was in Yemen but is now since about 1920 (though officially 1934) in KSA. The fact that this Khanjar is almost identical to the Saiyidiyah must be obvious...and knowing that the Muscat Khanjar was a 7 ringer must surely be clear..viz;

1.The 7 rings of the Sheherazad designed Sayidiyah were the influence of the Muscat Khanjar whilst the hilt was redesigned completely with Indian silver style design and a new shape..The same/similar silver styled hilt is seen on the same/similar 7 ringer in the Asir..e.g.on the flower tribe weapon.

2. The Muscat Khjanjar is a 7 ringer with a formal tee shaped hilt and is the contender for the al Hasa style having gone there by camel train... via Buraimi .


They are utterly different to other Saudia or more to the point for the Asir, Yemeni weapons and are obviously Omani styles.

If you think otherwise the ink is free here... You could do some research and try to prove otherwise?...I mean fairs fair...; I've done the research so if you reckon otherwise ...prove it.

I would be delighted to discus your reverse flow theory on Forum.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 17th July 2014, 07:15 AM   #14
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I bow to your extensive research but I do wonder why you do not quote any sources......................
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Old 17th July 2014, 09:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
I bow to your extensive research but I do wonder why you do not quote any sources......................


Salaams Khanjar 1,
As I was explaining ...much of the research on ethnographic arms ~ especially in the difficult to reach arabian regions~is being done without a safety net and precious little supporting documentation of any great accuracy. I am as far away "technically" from the Asir and Al Hasa as you are...it is extremely difficult to visit..or believe me I would be there digging up the examples! So much utter nonsense is recorded... now that ought not to put off Forum research and it doesn't stop me..... Look at the discrepancies inserted into the records by Burton...and as you know once its documented its true...or it takes a lot of reversing...He had Moroccan and North African weapons slated as Zanzibari... !! I digress...but you see my point...

There often isn't a source! I use references some with completely spurious information...like the descriptions in www.Omanisilver.com where I noticed flowers engraved on the back of so called Omani Khanjars..It was your astute observation of the Khanjar in Omani silver by Ruth Hawley that is supposed to be Omani but is actually an Asir or al Hasa job (I'm still not certain). I use web site details all recorded ... I use Museums in Muscat and their huge double volume Richardson and Dorr...which is THE National Museum Doctrine and I know the form of Omani work so when something odd turns up I know its odd. I handle these weapons all the time so I get good at spotting discrepancies and in the case of swords I cracked all on my own the furious trade in rehilts ... which still continues unabated...in fact they sell more thesedays... I think if they stuck fake stickers on they would sell even more..

Just a last note on resources... I am absolutely certain that the best resource built up over the last few years is our own library which is now stacked with the latest doctrine and most updated discussion...even if it does get a little hot at times... thats the point about hot anvils ...They are hot.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 17th July 2014, 04:29 PM   #16
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Gentlemen, I would like to thank you for maintaining objectivity and composure as this complex discussion continues. As well noted, often discourse can become somewhat volatile as reactions to certain ideas and observations are presented, but what is important is to remain objective in any contesting and of course include as much proof or support as possible in rebuttal.

These discussions are far too important for personality issues, and personally I am more than impressed with the knowledge and perspective all of you have on these esoteric topics and which you impart here.

I must add that it seems well established that there are of course many older reflections, misperceptions and notations which have certainly given us a degree of distortion in developing useful material concerning these arms.
As well noted, particularly in 19th century as photography developed, the use of props, staging and other false impressions are notable hazards in our research.

Even in the woodcuts and other images representing these times and events, the artists license becomes a constant concern.

In my opinion I have always felt that slavers, in these cases as well as in Darfur in the Sudan, the drivers and bosses certainly would have used a bit of drama in their chosen accoutrements. I think of the kaskara types with full crocodile anatomy in their mounts, some I have seen with the hilt composed of entire foot as well as the scabbard entirely scaled hide. I met with the usual arguments that these were 'tourist' items, but my opinion remained firm as I found similar items in provenanced collections among other combative arms as well as personal discussions with an acquaintance who was a tribesman from Darfur. Naturally these do not comprise 'admissable' evidence, however they remain compelling.

In the case of the dancing swords themselves, I would submit that the concept of using actual combat swords in the form of ceremonial display here discussed as the Funun seems quite likely. Clearly much of this is tradition which developed out of martial hubris and eventually became a recognized celebration, and as well noted, the practice of sound in vibrating the sword blades would well dramatize the events. The 'sword dance' itself is well known in many cultures, I think of course of Scotland, but there are many others.
The field research shared here by Ibrahiim seems to reflect the instance where of course little actual documentation exists, though the standing tradition remains profoundly in place. To set hard and fast dates and regulation types of weapon to be used etc. would be it seems unlikely in these kinds of investigations, and I perceive most of what has been asserted here to in essence a 'working concept' to serve as a kind of guideline .

It seems fully conceivable that blades intended specifically for these events would have eventually been produced, and that actual weapons used in combat in early times or even later using arms mounted with the ever developing influx of trade blades, would have existed contemporarily.

As with most situations, especially in ad hoc circumstances, the use of these forms could certainly have interpolated. The planned or traditional events of course would likely have used the specifically produced weapons.
In more recent times, as the commercial aspects of weapons sales for collecting has advanced, and with the virtual opening of Oman to outside activity, naturally innovation has set aside any kind of adherence to such traditions and amalgamated the use of materials at hand.

It is well established that the trade blade phenomenon has monumentally complicated the study of ethnographic swords, developing conundrums which remain at best, speculative in attempting to find answers. Those of us who do engage tenaciously in attempting to do so regardless of the dangers of course feel profound frustration, anxiety and disappointment as regular emotions so adverse reactions are rather expected. However, we must remember we work here as a team, and one in my opinion the best in the business' as it were.

OK, off my soap box

As always,
Jim
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Old 18th July 2014, 06:33 AM   #17
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Salaams Jim, Thank you for your timely comments ... In explaining the phenomena of unrecorded unwritten traditions in this way you underline the difficulty of researching in that vacuum... when in fact Omani people not so much tell you what they think you want to hear ...(thus sidestepping the deliberate lie) but are guarded in letting go of the unwritten almost secretive passed down tradition that really only flows from parent to child...Which is why all of the half dozen or so visitors to Oman in the early 19th C were wrong footed on swords.

People, I think, have realised that the added shock of Oman suddenly creaking open the door to modern civilisation in 1970 before which it was absolutely archaic, needs to be considered. There were no museums before that..in fact it was mediaeval in most respects. No schools to speak of other than two small units in Muscat and one in the South but no colleges or Universities or hospitals, clinics, tarmac roads or any sort of infrastructure... Nothing! You got sick ~ you got better ...or you died. Being born alive was down to chance.

The unwritten traditions of the Funun stretch back centuries to the start of the religious structure here in 751.AD . Not only is there evidence that the Sword and Shield were honoured but also Khanjars. The main two sword genres are in the Razha and the Yalhaa but there is another for the Khanjar called the Baraa ..

People simply baulk at the idea of in-use weapons or systems lasting nearly 2,000 years but it is well recorded by the late Anthony North in the first line of his introduction to Islamic Arms (V. and A. publication) ;

Quote''Unlike Western Arms the styles and shapes of Islamic arms did not continually change. Once an Islamic armourer had found a satisfactory design, it was often retained for many centuries." Unquote.


I think it throws people who still cannot perceive that the Old Omani Battle Sword which I have compared with the Abasiid weapon of the 9th C. can have been used as a weapon until very recently. Since the dancing sword owes its very existence to the Old Battle Sword it is crucial to understand its place and I urge readers to view the details ...Please see

The problem is that attempting to find the written word on the Old Omani Battle Sword which must have been used in Battle and traditional dancing in its early days is impossible, except by reverse engineering the entire concept...and where people demand proof ~ a bit of writing perhaps or a body in a grave holding the sword...You are aware that swords were not buried in the Islamic time with bodies... it was ruled against. Since hardly a man could read and write nor was it needed for the traditions where then can the facts be obtained other than reverse engineering and common sense?

The vital ingredients provided by the Funun need to be analysed carefully for clues..My analysis commenced ...in Zanzibar with the secretary to the Rulers Office "H. Ingrams" who pointed my research in the Funun direction noting that it was only the Omani contingent in Zanzibar that used the flexible saif at the pageants... The Manga(Omanis)...in the Funun not the native Africans.

Dancing with swords is as you point out universal but in Oman it has this peculiar link to the current dynasty which commenced in about 1744... but getting to the "silver bullet" section...; When and who ordered the sword to become the heraldic, dynasty, dancing and pageantry sword? That is the elusive point which may never be found...

The indicators are with Said bin Sultan since he instigated other dynastic key issues ... and he had a long balanced rule time of more than a half century.

My impulses seem to be drawn toward Zanzibar for many reasons..Said bin Sultan was the ideas man behind developing Zanzibar as the Omani capital and the slavers sword must have originated if not "from there" certainly "through there" as a hub for slavery. Enter Tippu Tip. The great slave merchant whose slave captains all wore the long hilted Kattara probably a sword developed from the Manding...and with a European single edge and heavy backblade... The Omani Kattara. From this someone devised the design leap onto the Omani Dancing Sword.. The question is who and when?

Tantalizing is the fact that Burton proposed that there were three swords of Zanzibar two of which were certainly not...and one other... The Omani Dancer. Was its first appearance in Zanzibar under Said Bin Sultan... Was Burton right; one out of three??

Unrelated to this is the Shamshiir ... a purebred ... with wootz blade etc and of the Persian style...worn by VVIP and Royalty though as you point out in photographs it was often artistic licence and swords could be switched around..The point is the Shamshiir though it was a great fighting sword blade was dripping in silver and gold on a superb scabbard and hugely expensive; was only a badge of office..These weren't issued en masse to troops of the line...Too expensive thus simply not a chance of that. But badge of Office ...yes.... though in fact all the swords had that attachment...as did the Khanjar. They could all be carried as a Badge of Office. They could not, however, all be carried as weapons.

Amidst all the hooplah on swords in the early 19th C Oman was fairly awash with two other weapons... which announced the demise of blades... The Abu Futtila and the Cannon... i.e. Gunpowder weapons. The first to fall by the wayside was the spear... I believe the next to decline was the old Omani battle Sword but clinging on as a royal hilted weapon well into the present day...I show the present Ruler with one on the site; The Old Omani Battle Sword.

Against this backdrop of blade decline is the concept of the dancing sword ...but that brings the story full circle so, with your permission Sir, I will stop.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 18th July 2014 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 18th July 2014, 08:35 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams Jim, Thank you for your timely comments ... In explaining the phenomena of unrecorded unwritten traditions in this way you underline the difficulty of researching in that vacuum... when in fact Omani people not so much tell you what they think you want to hear ...(thus sidestepping the deliberate lie) but are guarded in letting go of the unwritten almost secretive passed down tradition that really only flows from parent to child...Which is why all of the half dozen or so visitors to Oman in the early 19th C were wrong footed on swords.

People, I think, have realised that the added shock of Oman suddenly creaking open the door to modern civilisation in 1970 before which it was absolutely archaic, needs to be considered. There were no museums before that..in fact it was mediaeval in most respects. No schools to speak of other than two small units in Muscat and one in the South but no colleges or Universities or hospitals, clinics, tarmac roads or any sort of infrastructure... Nothing! You got sick ~ you got better ...or you died. Being born alive was down to chance.

The unwritten traditions of the Funun stretch back centuries to the start of the religious structure here in 751.AD . Not only is there evidence that the Sword and Shield were honoured but also Khanjars. The main two sword genres are in the Razha and the Yalhaa but there is another for the Khanjar called the Baraa ..

People simply baulk at the idea of in-use weapons or systems lasting nearly 2,000 years but it is well recorded by the late Anthony North in the first line of his introduction to Islamic Arms (V. and A. publication) ;

Quote''Unlike Western Arms the styles and shapes of Islamic arms did not continually change. Once an Islamic armourer had found a satisfactory design, it was often retained for many centuries." Unquote.


I think it throws people who still cannot perceive that the Old Omani Battle Sword which I have compared with the Abasiid weapon of the 9th C. can have been used as a weapon until very recently. Since the dancing sword owes its very existence to the Old Battle Sword it is crucial to understand its place and I urge readers to view the details ...Please see

The problem is that attempting to find the written word on the Old Omani Battle Sword which must have been used in Battle and traditional dancing in its early days is impossible, except by reverse engineering the entire concept...and where people demand proof ~ a bit of writing perhaps or a body in a grave holding the sword...You are aware that swords were not buried in the Islamic time with bodies... it was ruled against. Since hardly a man could read and write nor was it needed for the traditions where then can the facts be obtained other than reverse engineering and common sense?

The vital ingredients provided by the Funun need to be analysed carefully for clues..My analysis commenced ...in Zanzibar with the secretary to the Rulers Office "H. Ingrams" who pointed my research in the Funun direction noting that it was only the Omani contingent in Zanzibar that used the flexible saif at the pageants... The Manga(Omanis)...in the Funun not the native Africans.

Dancing with swords is as you point out universal but in Oman it has this peculiar link to the current dynasty which commenced in about 1744... but getting to the "silver bullet" section...; When and who ordered the sword to become the heraldic, dynasty, dancing and pageantry sword? That is the elusive point which may never be found...

The indicators are with Said bin Sultan since he instigated other dynastic key issues ... and he had a long balanced rule time of more than a half century.

My impulses seem to be drawn toward Zanzibar for many reasons..Said bin Sultan was the ideas man behind developing Zanzibar as the Omani capital and the slavers sword must have originated if not "from there" certainly "through there" as a hub for slavery. Enter Tippu Tip. The great slave merchant whose slave captains all wore the long hilted Kattara probably a sword developed from the Manding...and with a European single edge and heavy backblade... The Omani Kattara. From this someone devised the design leap onto the Omani Dancing Sword.. The question is who and when?

Tantalizing is the fact that Burton proposed that there were three swords of Zanzibar two of which were certainly not...and one other... The Omani Dancer. Was its first appearance in Zanzibar under Said Bin Sultan... Was Burton right; one out of three??

Unrelated to this is the Shamshiir ... a purebred ... with wootz blade etc and of the Persian style...worn by VVIP and Royalty though as you point out in photographs it was often artistic licence and swords could be switched around..The point is the Shamshiir though it was a great fighting sword blade was dripping in silver and gold on a superb scabbard and hugely expensive; was only a badge of office..These weren't issued en masse to troops of the line...Too expensive thus simply not a chance of that. But badge of Office ...yes.... though in fact all the swords had that attachment...as did the Khanjar. They could all be carried as a Badge of Office. They could not, however, all be carried as weapons.

Amidst all the hooplah on swords in the early 19th C Oman was fairly awash with two other weapons... which announced the demise of blades... The Abu Futtila and the Cannon... i.e. Gunpowder weapons. The first to fall by the wayside was the spear... I believe the next to decline was the old Omani battle Sword but clinging on as a royal hilted weapon well into the present day...I show the present Ruler with one on the site; The Old Omani Battle Sword.

Against this backdrop of blade decline is the concept of the dancing sword ...but that brings the story full circle so, with your permission Sir, I will stop.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Sorry but I fail to see what this has to do with the subject of this thread..........................
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Old 18th July 2014, 09:50 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Sorry but I fail to see what this has to do with the subject of this thread..........................



Salaams Khanjar 1~ It is a post in reply to the post above it... I take it as belonging to the batch of Arabian threads most of which are contentious in part ... and this was where it was placed... personally I was honoured to answer it.

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Old 18th July 2014, 04:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Sorry but I fail to see what this has to do with the subject of this thread..........................


Let's please leave moderation duties to the moderation team.
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Old 18th July 2014, 04:14 PM   #21
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Thank you very much Ibrahiim, and for astutely realizing that my comments were indeed directed at the group of threads which have run concurrently and all addressing various scope of Arabian history and arms. As you note I was actually reiterating what my own opinion was concerning aspects of these, and I did not actually address the kahnjhar matter specifically because that particular segment is still clouded to me.

My main objective here was primarily to address collectively the profoundly present 'contention' which has constantly plagued these otherwise fascinating threads. My hope is that all participants in these will ascend to the higher goal of focus on subject matter without personal rancor. The great thread on Omani forts and cannon already has fallen victim to this and we have too much vested here to lose another.

Since the participants I intended to address have been engaged in all the threads I refer to in my post, and was prompted by the most current 'interactions' , it simply fell into this thread.

Thank you everybody for your consideration in the matter.
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Old 18th July 2014, 07:37 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thank you very much Ibrahiim, and for astutely realizing that my comments were indeed directed at the group of threads which have run concurrently and all addressing various scope of Arabian history and arms. As you note I was actually reiterating what my own opinion was concerning aspects of these, and I did not actually address the kahnjhar matter specifically because that particular segment is still clouded to me.

My main objective here was primarily to address collectively the profoundly present 'contention' which has constantly plagued these otherwise fascinating threads. My hope is that all participants in these will ascend to the higher goal of focus on subject matter without personal rancor. The great thread on Omani forts and cannon already has fallen victim to this and we have too much vested here to lose another.

Since the participants I intended to address have been engaged in all the threads I refer to in my post, and was prompted by the most current 'interactions' , it simply fell into this thread.

Thank you everybody for your consideration in the matter.


Salaams Jim, It is always a pleasure to see you write and as an example to the standard we all aspire to... It was indeed sad to see the Forts thread closed and I can only hope that it reopens since there is a lot of detail to add there ...and from the viewpoint of the excellent additions made by authors like Fernando and who put such a lot of expensive time and effort into their posts I feel most sad...The canon museum in the great fort at Rostaq was on my agenda and as you know I spent months traveling hundreds of kilometres and getting ministry permission etc I was able to compile the lead in to what I hoped would be a key thread...There are over 1000 old forts in Oman and we were in the process of delivering them onto a readable compendium not yet seen and with the Sohar fort unfrocked so to speak... A phenomena that may not be seen for another 100 years..

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 21st July 2014, 02:47 PM   #23
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If the Asir region is so isolated, I wonder how these khanjars found their way to western collections. Perhaps the people there trade with people from more acessible regions, and from there they end up in our hands.
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Old 22nd July 2014, 05:27 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by blue lander
If the Asir region is so isolated, I wonder how these khanjars found their way to western collections. Perhaps the people there trade with people from more acessible regions, and from there they end up in our hands.


Its more to do with visitors getting in... rather than stuff getting out.
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Old 22nd January 2016, 05:21 PM   #25
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Default Al Wusta ....Habaabi. Transition. Sur to Jazan.

Salaams all. Please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...78&page=7&pp=30 where the appearance of a new website at http://khanjar.om/Parts.html introduces my reasoned link between Sur and the Red Sea regions ...
The Flower Tribe/ Asir / Habaabi style of Khanjar and the Omani Al Wusta type.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 24th January 2016, 02:24 PM   #26
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Default The Al Wusta/ Asir link.

I repeat here a post I have placed at The Omani Khanjar...

Salaams All~ One burning question is...Regarding the Al Wusta khanjar and its almost identical like ness to the weapon in the Asir (The flower tribe khanjar...also known as Habaabi...of Abha ...which I note only differs in that the Asir style often carries a floral stamp and or a signature on the reverse. (Potentially an owners signature)

Was this weapon faithfully copied by artesans who may have migrated from Al Wusta /perhaps blood relatives...Silversmiths that simply moved to the Asir from Oman ...or is it simply the result of weapons being shipped from Al Wusta and stamped/signed in the Asir...i.e. traded in ?

Regards,
Ibrahim al Balooshi.
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Old 25th February 2016, 01:52 AM   #27
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Default Khanjar/Jambiya from the Asir?

Hello fellow members,

I obtained this jambiya/khanjar in Vancouver more than 10 years ago. On my recent trip to Gulf States and Oman I hoped to learn more about it and confir that it was Omani. Also I hoped to obtain an older belt for it. Unfortunately my tablet computer ceased to work so I could not show photos of it to anyone. I did manage to find similar 7-ring knives in the Nizwa souq which the vendors identified as Al Saidi (Sa´idiyyah).

After reading this interesting thread it seems most likely that it is from the Asir region rather than Oman. Adding credence to this is the emblem on the back of the hilt. It is very similar to the Saudi coat of arms: crossed swords below a palm tree. The coat of arms was adopted in 1950, which would indicate the knife was not made before that date. I do not know, however, if the coat of arms was designed in 1950 or if it were a symbol in use before then and officially adopted only in 1950. Anyone know?

I would be interested in your thoughts about this jambiya/khanjar, including whether the hilt is bone or wood, and if the writing on the chape is decipherable.

Regards
Chris
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Old 25th February 2016, 09:54 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by cpkaway2
Hello fellow members,

I obtained this jambiya/khanjar in Vancouver more than 10 years ago. On my recent trip to Gulf States and Oman I hoped to learn more about it and confir that it was Omani. Also I hoped to obtain an older belt for it. Unfortunately my tablet computer ceased to work so I could not show photos of it to anyone. I did manage to find similar 7-ring knives in the Nizwa souq which the vendors identified as Al Saidi (Sa´idiyyah).

After reading this interesting thread it seems most likely that it is from the Asir region rather than Oman. Adding credence to this is the emblem on the back of the hilt. It is very similar to the Saudi coat of arms: crossed swords below a palm tree. The coat of arms was adopted in 1950, which would indicate the knife was not made before that date. I do not know, however, if the coat of arms was designed in 1950 or if it were a symbol in use before then and officially adopted only in 1950. Anyone know?

I would be interested in your thoughts about this jambiya/khanjar, including whether the hilt is bone or wood, and if the writing on the chape is decipherable.

Regards
Chris



Salaams cpkaway2 ~ You are right. This is an Habaabi khanjar or Jambia from the Asir. It came into the region by sea from Oman(where it is called the al Wusta Khanjar) It appeared in about 1850 we suggest, at the time of Said the Great and looks similar to the Royal Khanjar called in Oman the Saaidiyyah...or the Muscat Khanjar. Yours carries on the reverse the Saudia emblem of crossed swords and palm tree.

The area was Yemen til about 1920 when it was absorbed into Saudia Arabia. Often the detail on the reverse is of the flower men tribal style consisting a bunch of flowers..This weapon is known in Oman as the Habaabi ...from Abha which you will find on the map in this post....(Abha aspirated sounds like Habaabi meaning of Abha.)

This is a peculiar adjunct to the regions daggers as it has been incorporated into the weaponry having come directly (by sea) from Oman (the seaport probably Sur) to the region fed by the major sea port of Jazzan and was a link port on the way to and from Zanzibar. The item was made after 1950 in the Abha region.

See below ; Saudia Arabian Emblem.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 25th February 2016, 02:10 PM   #29
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Interesting, thanks! I've been always thinking that this knid of daggers comes from Eastern Arabia, where Yemen borders with Oman, however it appears it comes from the West of peninsula!
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Old 25th February 2016, 02:34 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Rashka Vatnik
Interesting, thanks! I've been always thinking that this knid of daggers comes from Eastern Arabia, where Yemen borders with Oman, however it appears it comes from the West of peninsula!



Salaams Rashka Vatnik, Yes and no. #26 refers. The origin of species comes from Oman and is called the al Wusta but it somehow got transported in...on the sea route to Zanzibar where it took root in the mid 19th C....becoming a style adopted by the famous Flower Tribe of Asir... and it is made there . In Oman there is still the origin of species we call the Al Wusta khanjar ....and we even have a name for the exported item(THAT IS THE ITEM COPIED BY ABHA ARTESANS) ... Habaabi ..meaning of Abha the regional city in the Asir...see map. Imported by sea from Sur...to Jazzan...mid 19th C....and adopted there.


see also http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=omani+khanjar

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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