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Old 6th June 2017, 08:02 PM   #1
AKay
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Smile Koummya for comment

Hi All,

I am new to the forum.
Just bought my first Koummya and first piece in my collection!

I believe it is a real deal and not a tourist piece.
That is what i would like to confirm here please.
The blade is 9"
Hilt is 6"
Scabbard is 11"

I cannot see any hall markings on the scabbard, nor can i see any marking/ stamps on the blade....
However there are some numbers possibly dates?


I have been trawling through the archive forums and can see that there is real wealth of knowledge on here and a great bunch of people.
Look forward to your comments.
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Old 7th June 2017, 05:27 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to this forum. My knowledge of koummiyas is limited, so you will have to wait for the real experts. However, it is clear that this is a very high quality work. Too good to be a tourist item. The silver engraving is esthetically very nice and of high quality. The blade is good. Lack of marks is not a problem because in most cases, engraving on the blade would mean Europeanblade or post 1900 blade, probably for tourists.
There are two questions that will determine if this is a very good piece or an excellent and rare piece. First, the material of the hilt. It appears to be rhinoceros horn, but the color is much darker that in most koummyia. A close-up photo could help, but only microscopic examination could provide definitive answer. Rhino horn was used only in the very best pieces.
Second, there a number on the scabbard which could be a date. The number is 1144, where the first 1 is stylized. 1144 is 1731/2. I have never seen a koummiya from the 1700', so I doubt this, but if correct, it would make your koummiya a truely outstanding piece. Anyway, this particular type has been imitated and reproduced by the thousands, so you must have a keen eye, a lot of luck, or both to choose this particular one.
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Old 7th June 2017, 06:15 AM   #3
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Hi,

It's an excellent koummiya, probably from the end of 19th c.
With a silver proof mark (the numbers).
Never worn, of course.
Despite a good blade, this dagger was never used.

Good catch
Kubur
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Old 7th June 2017, 01:56 PM   #4
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Thanks both for your reply and info.
I think it is a wooden as the guy i bought it from stated it was.
He did have a Rhino hilted Koummya but was very expensive and i liked the piece i bought better...

Was thinking of cleaning the blade, what are peoples thoughts on doing that?
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Old 7th June 2017, 06:06 PM   #5
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Akay, welcome to our forum!!! It is always exciting when someone who has been visiting a long time finally comes in, and especially nice entrance with this beautifully done koummya.
While I certainly cannot claim any special knowledge on these, I have learned a bit from those who frequent here that do, and Motan has made excellent observations most helpfully explained.

As Kubur has noted, the number seen in the scabbard is probably a proof mark, which if I understand correctly warrants the silver content rather than a hall mark which provides maker and year of make.

The blade on this seems to have some age, contrary to these fine mounts, and is of the traditional koummya profile and features. I agree this is too finely executed to be a souk item, and seems more likely made for a person of standing or means. While perhaps not worn, at least not much, these remain traditional accoutrements much as with the khanjhar in other Arab contexts. Actually it seems these are regarded as a Maghrebi form of khanjhar from what I have understood in some discussions.

Again, I agree with Motan, you do seem to have a most discerning eye!
Thank you for sharing this with us.

Best regards
Jim
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Old 7th June 2017, 10:20 PM   #6
Oliver Pinchot
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The numerals on the scabbard are a dating peculiar to Morocco.
They reflect a hijri date, but expressed in European digits:
133[0] 1330 = 1911/12
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Old 8th June 2017, 12:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot
The numerals on the scabbard are a dating peculiar to Morocco.
They reflect a hijri date, but expressed in European digits:
133[0] 1330 = 1911/12


Thank you Oliver!
I am wondering, given this is a date system rather than a silver proof mark, perhaps this may have been a significant year/date, for the furbishing of this koummya.
Without going into a great deal of complexity, in 1911, there was a rebellion in Morocco against the Sultan Abdelhafid, apparently involving certain geopolitical conflicts involving France and Germany. Ultimately, the Sultan abdicated in 1912, also giving de facto control of Morocco to France.

This may be an item commemorating events in these events in 1911/12, I believe historically referred to as the Agadir Crisis.
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Old 8th June 2017, 05:40 AM   #8
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Thanks Oliver for your interpretation of the date. Surely makes more sense than 1732. But still, it is strange to write a date and ommit the last digit, ins't it?
There are different traditions of writing dates and in Israel/Palestine and Jordan, the Gregorian date (after WW1) is used and it is written in Arabic numericals-exactly the opposite.
Anyway, I have also bought a koummiya recently of a quite common type and no special merrit, but I beleive it to be old and genuine. I was wondering if anybody knows, or can reffer me to a source about the regional attribution of koummiya styles.
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Old 8th June 2017, 06:30 AM   #9
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Hi Guys,

Well, normaly I don't fight to push my ideas. I think that's a waste of time (especally because some members are a bit stuborn).
Nevertheless here we have a silver proof mark. You have hundred of examples in North Africa from Morocco to Algeria... On guns too...
For the koummya look at the big hilted koummya called khanjer...

Kubur
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Old 8th June 2017, 04:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi Guys,

Well, normaly I don't fight to push my ideas. I think that's a waste of time (especally because some members are a bit stuborn).
Nevertheless here we have a silver proof mark. You have hundred of examples in North Africa from Morocco to Algeria... On guns too...
For the koummya look at the big hilted koummya called khanjer...

Kubur



Kubur, it would seem this is more than an idea, and presenting support as you have is not a fight, but constructive effort for a correct resolution to a matter.
As I have little particular knowledge on reading Islamic dates or hallmarks, I would like to know, when did the convention of hallmarks (proof) begin in the Maghreb? The only material I could find concerned Egypt, where it was describing the practice since 1916.
Apparently the standard grades are 600, 800, and 900 (with 925 regarded as Sterling).
The data I read says that the Arabic numerals/letters are written left to right in the case of Egypt, but only one zero is used, thus 800 would read as 80.
It seems that the 800 denominator is seen most commonly as found on many commercial or tourist/souk items.

There is also the dilemma of how metal which is amalgamated from various melted down sources and varying purity grades is measured and stamped with such proof marks.

Are proof marks (hallmarks) which gauge silver purity used differently in the Maghreb (or Morocco in particular) , than from Egypt?

It does seem that hallmarks are often filtered into the field of motif, so that seems somewhat compelling here. However, if the numbers seen do not comply with standard measures, then perhaps they might be a date. It is clear this is not an early mounting, certainly not 18th century, but if read as Oliver has described, might be that significant date I have noted.

The events I have suggested were most certainly controversial, so would it be plausible that the date recognizing them might be subtly imbued in this manner?
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Old 8th June 2017, 06:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot
The numerals on the scabbard are a dating peculiar to Morocco.
They reflect a hijri date, but expressed in European digits:
133[0] 1330 = 1911/12


Hi Oliver

i looked into the numerals and actually the "European numerals" are actually arabic numerals and originate from the maghrib region, see link below very interesting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numerals
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Old 8th June 2017, 08:17 PM   #12
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If a Hijri date terminates in a zero, it is typically left off.
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Old 8th June 2017, 08:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
.
Anyway, I have also bought a koummiya recently of a quite common type and no special merrit, but I beleive it to be old and genuine. I was wondering if anybody knows, or can reffer me to a source about the regional attribution of koummiya styles.


Nice Koummya, like the Hilt and Blade.
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Old 8th June 2017, 11:08 PM   #14
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Thanks Oliver. Always good to learn something. So, most probably it is a date as you mentioned -1911/2- and not a silver mark. This date conforms better with the style. Wooden hilt, 1911, but still above avarage and beatiful piece ..
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Old 8th June 2017, 11:15 PM   #15
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Actually, it's part of the silver mark
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Old 9th June 2017, 05:32 AM   #16
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Hmmm. this is not going well for me. It is not the first mistake I have made in this thread. I can see the whole silver mark now. The marks in this thread are all very different and there appears to be little standartization. Can you actually interpret them?
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Old 9th June 2017, 06:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
Hmmm. this is not going well for me. It is not the first mistake I have made in this thread. I can see the whole silver mark now. The marks in this thread are all very different and there appears to be little standartization. Can you actually interpret them?


Easy,some objects, the pistol and the powder flask are from Algeria with a different system from Morocco... Algeria was controlled by the Ottomans. Morocco has a different system...
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Old 9th June 2017, 07:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
Hmmm. this is not going well for me. It is not the first mistake I have made in this thread. I can see the whole silver mark now. The marks in this thread are all very different and there appears to be little standartization. Can you actually interpret them?


Motan, I don't think you've made any mistakes, but at least you have certain knowledge on these and have posed tangible questions. It would appear my speculations however,were indeed a mistake, and not relevant to the identification of the marking here, which remains unclear. Like you, I'd like to learn more on the koummya, whether there are regional or period forms and how to identify them, but more so, the example of the OP.

As you note, there is clearly disparity in the markings but unless I have missed something, there is still no finite answer to the markings on the example originally posted. Can they be interpreted?
Is this a date? or a combination of silver proof and date (as in some hallmarks as suggested by 1911/12)?
If a proof....is Morocco different than others such as I mentioned with Egypt , who uses 600,800,900?
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Old 9th June 2017, 08:12 PM   #19
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As already noted, the Koumiya of the topic starter has a silver mark.
It is a silver mark from Marrakech from the 1918. Since the scabbard is oval, the visible mark is incomplete, the date should be 1337 with Arabic writing.
Several towns in Morocco has used each its own silver marks which changed over the time. In the reference book I have used (Bijoux du Maroc by Marie-Rose Rabate) there are several pages with the Moroccan silver marks.
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Old 9th June 2017, 09:50 PM   #20
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Bravo, Tatyana!
I just bought it online, very reasonably priced.
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Old 9th June 2017, 10:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana Dianova
As already noted, the Koumiya of the topic starter has a silver mark.
It is a silver mark from Marrakech from the 1918. Since the scabbard is oval, the visible mark is incomplete, the date should be 1337 with Arabic writing.
Several towns in Morocco has used each its own silver marks which changed over the time. In the reference book I have used (Bijoux du Maroc by Marie-Rose Rabate) there are several pages with the Moroccan silver marks.



At last!!!! Thank you so much Tatyana!!
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Old 9th June 2017, 10:58 PM   #22
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Default Tatyana

Hi,
I would really like to accept your answer and see this thread conclude with real explanation, but I don't see on the koummiya what you mean. I don't see a 7 anywhere or where it could be hidden, the number could either read 133 in "normal" numerals or equally as 441 in Arabic numerals (if you turn it 180 degrees). There seem to be some letters (three dots could belong to a Thaa), but they are stylized and I can't read them, or possibly, they are abstract symbols. If you say it is a Marakesh mark, then I believe it, but what about the year? In the silver marks I know, there is no year in the mark, but some code denoting the year, like a letter or letter-number combination (also in many European marks).
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Old 10th June 2017, 11:56 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana Dianova
As already noted, the Koumiya of the topic starter has a silver mark.
It is a silver mark from Marrakech from the 1918. Since the scabbard is oval, the visible mark is incomplete, the date should be 1337 with Arabic writing.
Several towns in Morocco has used each its own silver marks which changed over the time. In the reference book I have used (Bijoux du Maroc by Marie-Rose Rabate) there are several pages with the Moroccan silver marks.


Thank you Tatyana!

It is very interesting what you said about the hallmark being from Marrakesh, i have uploaded a closeup pic from the back of the scabbard. There is clearly written in arabic "Kesh" and stylized Mara i think. It makes sense.

Would you be willing to attach a pic of the page from your book please?
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Old 10th June 2017, 12:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana Dianova
As already noted, the Koumiya of the topic starter has a silver mark.
It is a silver mark from Marrakech from the 1918. Since the scabbard is oval, the visible mark is incomplete, the date should be 1337 with Arabic writing.
Several towns in Morocco has used each its own silver marks which changed over the time. In the reference book I have used (Bijoux du Maroc by Marie-Rose Rabate) there are several pages with the Moroccan silver marks.



Reference;
A. http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/koummya/index.html
B. http://nimcha.fr/koummya.htm

Well spotted Tatyana Dianova~ I must get that book... Quite normal for silver marks to be either missing one digit or a digit rubbed out in polishing...or an unclear strike caused by in this case an oval scabbard.

I found it a fascinating but at times somewhat weird: It is entirely normal in Morocco to be asked the same thing in Arabic and French in the same sentence "Kayf Haalak, quesque tu fait, tu va bien? "

In addition I have to say that it is a wonderful place and probably the closest to its past than any other Arabic country...What I mean is the Talismanic and superstitious aspect of rural life is very much apparent with Marabouts (Magic Men) wandering about openly and a real close belief in an ancient occult-like system very much still part of Moroccan rural society.

I had been playing with the idea that this could have been a mark applied by a French artesan but I have given up on that ... For Moroccan work we need an in country member dedicated to wandering the bazaars cataloging the wonderful artefacts ... I'm up for that !!! ..

It is great to see impressive support and back up from Oliver and Jim and others ...

Regards.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 10th June 2017, 07:34 PM   #25
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It looks like the back of scabbard has the lower part of the silver stamp!
The silver marks are in the second volume of the series: Bijoux du Maroc Du Haut Atlas a la Mediterranee, and this book is difficult to find and it is very expensive. The smart priced one is a second edition of the first volume Bijoux du Maroc Du Haut Atlas à la vallée du Draa. My first edition of this book has no silver marks in it.
Here is the picture:
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Old 10th June 2017, 07:50 PM   #26
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Thank you Tatyana,

You have nailed it!
Thanks for uploading the pic!!

Thanks to all for the info and replys and kind words.
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Old 11th June 2017, 09:14 AM   #27
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Thank you Tatyana and Ibrahiim, excellent information. I have nothing to add.
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