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Old 30th December 2016, 04:27 PM   #1
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Default Abu Futila

Here I place the pictures and endeavor to follow up with a comprehensive history ~

The Omani Abu Futilla...The one with the Match.

Sometimes referred to as the long leaf ...an old term for the spear favoured in Arabia..The Rumi...or Roomi. A weapon named after the Roman Spear.

Placed by the owner quite nicely so they are easy to admire and get ones hands on...

There is a good section on these on Omanisilver.com and incidentally Icoman consider that a lot of these barrels are in fact German.

Food for thought ...and your comments are requested.
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Old 30th December 2016, 09:44 PM   #2
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Translating these pictures and adding the ethnographic atmosphere...Actually the tribal treatment on an Abu Futilla was to wrap wolf-skin around the Butt thereby adding talismanic effect to the weapon. Gunpowder was produced locally with a mixture of roasted wood from the Sodoms Apple bush and saltpeter. This highly toxic bush grows wild in Oman. Saltpeter was mined extensively along the Abu Dhabi coastline ..in the hills.

Incredibly little changed in the technology which typically once it was shown to work kept the Abu Futilla operational for centuries when other weapons were on the world stage and only really changed with the advent of the Martini Henry. They were still used up to the late 20th C for hunting.
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Old 31st December 2016, 04:13 AM   #3
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Thanks for posting these, they look like you could take them down and shoot them with no problems.
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Old 31st December 2016, 10:36 AM   #4
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Ibrahiim, these are fascinating guns!
Can you say more on the wrapping of the butt with wolf skin? These kinds of applications on ethnographic weapons are most interesting, and I am wondering more on the origins of such talismanic beliefs.
Thank you for posting these.
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Old 31st December 2016, 02:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Ibrahiim, these are fascinating guns!
Can you say more on the wrapping of the butt with wolf skin? These kinds of applications on ethnographic weapons are most interesting, and I am wondering more on the origins of such talismanic beliefs.
Thank you for posting these.



Salaams Jim ~ I think it is by co incidence that wolf skin was used for this Talismanic powering up of the Abu Futilla but that when the running wolf appeared on swords it must have been to the delight of swordsmen .. Thus I suspect the wolf skin wrap in giving Talismanic credibility to the firer fitted in nicely with the tradition. The Arabian wolf is certainly feared and respected by the tribes people.

Some Bedu are superstitious, putting great stock in amulets and charms, lucky numbers (odd numbers are usually considered lucky), and spirits. Stones and designs in jewelry are believed to have magical qualities. Triangles, which represent hands, called khamsa , ward off the evil eye, as do blue stones such as turquoise or lapis lazuli; red stones will stop bleeding or reduce inflammation. Children, especially boys, are protected by charms hung around their necks or ankles and with ear studs containing what they believe are magical stones. Animals that prey on the Bedu's herds (such as wolves and wildcats) are considered the embodiment of evil, and in southern Arabia the camel is believed to be the direct descendant of the spirits of the desert. I have also read that the Butt was wrapped in animal skin to stop the Butt catching fire...I prefer the wolf talismanic form.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 31st December 2016, 03:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machinist
Thanks for posting these, they look like you could take them down and shoot them with no problems.



I am sure that would be interesting ...As an expert you would probably not want to be holding such an old barrel when it went off; Please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=OMANI+GUNS for some pictures of barrels that have parted company ... They tend to blow either at the first join or worse! at the breach. At the same reference are other items of abu futila equipment...etc Certainly well displayed and easy to handle ..

See the soddoms apple gunpowder plant in my garden ...below and a picture of the abu futilla being carried by Omani Slave Captain near Zanzibar.
Also on view are 3 powder flasks probably copied from the European style and 3 rare brass pre filled charges worn on a belt ..plus a few barrels.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 31st December 2016, 04:52 PM   #7
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Please see http://www.omanisilver.com/contents..._Matchlock.html for a reasonable background on the weapon.

See also https://books.google.com.om/books?i...tchlock&f=false where Elgood discusses the more than likely appearance of Barrels other than European as well as from red sea sources as the pentagonal shape was preferred in Arabia.

The reference is further enhanced since Elgood worked and consulted on his fantastic book with the Tareq Rajeb Museum in Quwait which if you get the chance do go and see their amazing collections.

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Old 31st December 2016, 07:23 PM   #8
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Hi Ibrahiim.

Thank you for posting those two great looking Omani matchlocks. This also gave me the opportunity to re-read your earlier Threads. I find these guns interesting in so many ways. And, I'm probably not alone in finding the barrels the most interesting aspect. With all the decoration, chiseling, and relief work, I can't imagine how long it would take to complete one barrel. I too believe in the Persian heritage vs the German. Although I have seen photos of some of the early to mid 16th Century European matchlock barrels with similar work.

It seems the Omani barrels were made on mandrels, similar to the Indian Torador barrels. With the Omani barrels made in at least two sections. While the two barrels generally look different, they both have large outside diameter breeches and muzzles. I wonder if the interior bores of the Omani barrels follow a similar design of the Torador barrels ? Would be intereswting to know.

Rick
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Old 1st January 2017, 01:23 PM   #9
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Rick,

An interesting point has cometo light, via a good pal in N-Z. He told me that some of Tipu Sultan's guns had these very same barrels fitted! I did not know this.
Tipu's guns were normally flintlock and more modern/western, but his matchlocks have these very same "Omani" barrels fitted, And (!) the poincons are missing from these as well! This tells us that in all likelihood ours (with missing poincons) have had them removed a Very long time ago!

Salaams Ibrahiim, Thank you for these photos and for jogging my memory!

Richard.
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Old 1st January 2017, 03:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Ibrahiim.

Thank you for posting those two great looking Omani matchlocks. This also gave me the opportunity to re-read your earlier Threads. I find these guns interesting in so many ways. And, I'm probably not alone in finding the barrels the most interesting aspect. With all the decoration, chiseling, and relief work, I can't imagine how long it would take to complete one barrel. I too believe in the Persian heritage vs the German. Although I have seen photos of some of the early to mid 16th Century European matchlock barrels with similar work.

It seems the Omani barrels were made on mandrels, similar to the Indian Torador barrels. With the Omani barrels made in at least two sections. While the two barrels generally look different, they both have large outside diameter breeches and muzzles. I wonder if the interior bores of the Omani barrels follow a similar design of the Torador barrels ? Would be intereswting to know.

Rick



The barrels are made up of a number of sections 3 or 4 and blistered together in rudimentary weld style...thus when they part...it must be dramatic. The other technique not generally seen in Oman was wound barrels ..twisted around a core. It is interesting that Elgood outlines the preference for pentagonal barrels from Red Sea sources for imported work for Arabia. I suppose the internal bores are different since the technique for creating the barrels is different but I will have a look at some of my own tomorrow...
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Old 1st January 2017, 03:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
Rick,

An interesting point has cometo light, via a good pal in N-Z. He told me that some of Tipu Sultan's guns had these very same barrels fitted! I did not know this.
Tipu's guns were normally flintlock and more modern/western, but his matchlocks have these very same "Omani" barrels fitted, And (!) the poincons are missing from these as well! This tells us that in all likelihood ours (with missing poincons) have had them removed a Very long time ago!

Salaams Ibrahiim, Thank you for these photos and for jogging my memory!

Richard.



Salaams Pukka Bundook ~ What is a poincon? Some sort of punch? I never heard that name before...Tipu Sultan traded with Arabia extensively thus barrels would have flowed into his logistics.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 1st January 2017, 04:20 PM   #12
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Now for some fine tuning on the Abu Futilla.(literally The Father of the Match) meaning "The One with the Match".

I reach back to 2008 for a great thread on accessories~ Please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=futilla

See below some additions both physical and ethnographic...variously...
1. Ready made up charges with ball and powder corked with cloth and probably carried in a bag rather than on a belt.
2. One of several types of fire striker ..
3. Single bullet mold pliers style.
4. Multiple bullet mold.
5. Sketch of tribals with Abu Futilla.
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Old 1st January 2017, 08:58 PM   #13
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It may be worth a note in clarification about the two styles of gunpowder flask used in Oman. Not withstanding the pre prepared charge styles shown above the two flasks have a different role... The wooden box type is for the main charge down the barrel. The more delicate silvered item shaped like a new moon is for the pan. Influence from Portugal or Germany may be included in the wooden box form whereas Ottoman style appears to reflect in the silver item. I also placed items on the Miscellaneous Forum in this regard.
See http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15083 at #15
and 16...the latter which may be Omani or Ottoman.

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Old 2nd January 2017, 10:16 AM   #14
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Default MY ABU FUTILLA

HERE IS MINE,MISSING THE MATCH AND FEW PARTS,STILL LOVE THIS GUN
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Old 2nd January 2017, 02:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
The barrels are made up of a number of sections 3 or 4 and blistered together in rudimentary weld style...thus when they part...it must be dramatic. The other technique not generally seen in Oman was wound barrels ..twisted around a core. It is interesting that Elgood outlines the preference for pentagonal barrels from Red Sea sources for imported work for Arabia. I suppose the internal bores are different since the technique for creating the barrels is different but I will have a look at some of my own tomorrow...

Hi Ibrahiim.
Thanks for the information. So it does in fact appear that these Omani barrels were made using a different process than the Torador barrels. One day, I might be able to locate one of these Omani barrels that I can purchase or trade for study. Thanks for your comments.

Rick.
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Old 2nd January 2017, 02:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams Pukka Bundook ~ What is a poincon? Some sort of punch? I never heard that name before...Tipu Sultan traded with Arabia extensively thus barrels would have flowed into his logistics.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Hi Richard.

Thanks for your input here. VERY interesting. But I too am at a loss for the definition of poincon ?? Please elaborate. LOL.

Rick.
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Old 2nd January 2017, 02:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
It may be worth a note in clarification about the two styles of gunpowder flask used in Oman. Not withstanding the pre prepared charge styles shown above the two flasks have a different role... The wooden box type is for the main charge down the barrel. The more delicate silvered item shaped like a new moon is for the pan. Influence from Portugal or Germany may be included in the wooden box form whereas Ottoman style appears to reflect in the silver item. I also placed items on the Miscellaneous Forum in this regard.
See http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15083 at #15
and 16...the latter which may be Omani or Ottoman.

Hi Ibrahiim.

Thank you so much for all this additional information on these guns - and accessories. Most appreciative. Super interesting.

Rick
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Old 2nd January 2017, 02:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANDOOK
HERE IS MINE,MISSING THE MATCH AND FEW PARTS,STILL LOVE THIS GUN

Hi Bandook.

That is a nice long barrel on that one. Very neat.

Rick.
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Old 2nd January 2017, 02:40 PM   #19
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Poinçon= Puncture, Punch ... the term used by the French, in the context, for inspection or maker marks .
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Old 2nd January 2017, 07:37 PM   #20
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Another way of spooning in a charge of powder to the barrel was with a powder measure.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 09:36 PM   #21
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A peculiar fact has emerged from ICOMAN in a report a while ago where it stated ~

Quote" Going into the history of small firearms, Dr Roads of Icoman said that no flintlock guns of any description seem to have been found in Oman. Documentary sources endorse the view that most tribes went from matchlock muskets (abu futilla) straight to breechloading rifled arms, usually the Martini Henry, though in some cases it may have been a quantum leap from matchlock to the .303 Lee Enfield.

“No pistols have been recorded except the Mauser (C96) 7.63 at the Bait al Zubair Museum and which belonged to the father of H E Mohammed al Zubair, although many were offered for sale in Muscat.

"For example the Mauser C96 was on sale for R74 (537bz) with 400 rounds thrown in - there were no fewer than 500 of these for sale. Personal armament was the musket or rifle plus sword and khanjar. Distribution of types today reflects, as one might expect, trading routes and trading ports and a strong conservatism.”

Turning to the matchlock abu futilla, he said it is hard to pinpoint the origin of these deeply fluted barrels with prominent poinçons (proofmarks). “Our quest for Portuguese examples of these early matchlocks has failed both in specimens and illustrations. So the legend that their very distinctive fluted barrels demonstrate a Portuguese origin remains exactly that.”

However, he added that the most striking fact is that these matchlocks with side plates resemble quite markedly some matchlocks from the Scinde, (the British spelling for the province of Sindh when they ruled it during 1850s). “With the Sea of Oman connections to Gwadar going back many centuries, it seems more likely that Scinde designs would be found on the Omani coast.”Unquote.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 3rd January 2017, 10:08 PM   #22
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See https://books.google.com.om/books?i...%20oman&f=false since you may have wondered what was the make up of the Match material where it is described as Quote"soaked in saltpetre found in bat droppings.''Unquote.

Showing below for interest Two blown barrels at the breach...with about 10 inches of barrel left...and another type of powder flask made of Gazelle horn with silver mounts.From the Richardson and Dorr Omani Heritage publication.
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Old 4th January 2017, 02:08 AM   #23
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What came out of the barrel when the gun went off is not what was put in there when it was loaded... Such was the pressure in ramming the bullet that it transformed more into a long solid pipe shaped bullet more like a modern bullet today...about half an inch long +.

In a further anecdote Burton spoke about the tell tale give away when using these weapons in an ambush such was the smoke generated as the match smouldered ....

These weapons gave a hefty kick and it follows that wolf was used both as a Talismanic and as a guard against the Butt catching fire and also used at the Butts end to absorb the recoil.
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Old 4th January 2017, 03:59 PM   #24
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Cool No anecdote

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
... In a further anecdote Burton spoke about the tell tale give away when using these weapons in an ambush such was the smoke generated as the match smouldered ....

As i already posted some time ago in a thread i don't recall, it was a fact that match cord smoke denounced contenders position; in such a way that determined local forces found it a strategy to keep loose match cord burning in a diverted place to drive the enemy in the wrong direction. The old article from where i have read this, had all signs of integrity.

FOUND IT :


.

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Old 4th January 2017, 05:11 PM   #25
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Pretty fascinating perspectives on warfare, as most anecdotal stories are typically from firsthand information rather than empirically gleaned material. It is always interesting to hear the often unique and innovative use of diversionary tricks used in warfare. This gives us the dimension to better imagine what these situations were like in the actual use of these weapons.
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Old 4th January 2017, 08:28 PM   #26
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I may inject this reference also onto my Martini Henry thread since it is very relevant to the more modern arms which were about to flood into the Arabian Peninsula in the late 19thC through regional ports like Muscat. It is however a corner stone marker of what happened and why to the old Matchlocks favoured for a hundred or more years were at last being superceded.

What the author suggests is extremely interesting in that his thoughts focus upon the slave trade having been a smokescreen to some extent for the vast numbers of guns being moved around for onward transmission to Afghanistan and for bringing pressure on Gulf countries....either way and although it is a hefty document it is well worth viewing for students involved in ethnographic weapons here...

Please therefor see http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/c...pen_access_etds

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 6th January 2017, 09:06 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Bandook.

That is a nice long barrel on that one. Very neat.

Rick.

tnx rick,appreciate ur comments,cheers rajesh
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Old 6th January 2017, 03:00 PM   #28
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Ibrahiim:

Thanks for that scholarly reference. A well researched thesis and good historical perspective.

Ian.
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Old 7th January 2017, 03:49 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Ibrahiim:

Thanks for that scholarly reference. A well researched thesis and good historical perspective.

Ian.

YES!! Thank you Ibrahiim for starting this Thread. Most interesting reading. One take away is that there still seems to be no firm confirmation as to the origins of the barrels on the abu futilla. It's simply amazing how long these guns continued in use by the locals.

Curious that there seems to be a number of barrel specimens that had burst. I wonder the reason(s) for this ? But I'm sure a whole new Thread could be started discussing the possibilities. LOL

Rick
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Old 8th January 2017, 03:55 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Bandook.

That is a nice long barrel on that one. Very neat.

Rick.

THANKS RICK,MISSING THE THREAD ,FEW BITS AND PIECES OF THE MATCH,CHEERS
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