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Old 10th January 2018, 03:17 AM   #1
Bryce
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Default Wootz Jambiya

G'day Guys,

I was wondering if anyone could tell me more about the origins of this jambiya. It has a 24cm blade made from dark wootz with a heavy ivory grip. The back of the grip is covered in a light coloured metal. The scabbard appears to be wood covered with fabric and looks to have a bit of age.

To me it appears that neither this scabbard or the metal plate covering the back of the grip, would have been original to the jambiya. They don't seem to be the same quality as the blade or ivory grip. I was wondering if the metal may have been put on the grip by a later owner to cover damage to the ivory?

Cheers,

Bryce
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Old 10th January 2018, 01:31 PM   #2
mariusgmioc
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Hello Bryce,

The blade is unmistakeably Persian (18th century, my guess), and of highest quality Kara Taban wootz. Wow!

The mountings, I don't know... maybe Kurdish?!
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Old 10th January 2018, 10:28 PM   #3
Battara
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I totally agree that the beautiful blade is Persian. The grip though looks more Indian to me and not Kurdish.
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Old 11th January 2018, 10:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I totally agree that the beautiful blade is Persian. The grip though looks more Indian to me and not Kurdish.


Yes, you nailed it, the hilt and the scabbard (with coloured cloth - I have Tulwar with somehow similar scabbard) look quite Indian.
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Old 11th January 2018, 11:54 AM   #5
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Sorry guys

I don' like to be pessimistic but
the sheat / scabbard is Indian and not very old;
the hilt with the silver at the back is classic from South Arabian jambiya or khanjar;
in an Indian context, I'll say that it's a Jewish hilt from India or Yemen;
the blade is recent fake or printed wootz (if you scratch it'll disapear).
To me it's a recent fake Indian jambiya...made of different marts
the hilt is good & old, the blade is recent
Sorry

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Old 11th January 2018, 01:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Sorry guys

I don' like to be pessimistic but
the sheat / scabbard is Indian and not very old;
the hilt with the silver at the back is classic from South Arabian jambiya or khanjar;
in an Indian context, I'll say that it's a Jewish hilt from India or Yemen;
the blade is recent fake or printed wootz (if you scratch it'll disapear).
To me it's a recent fake Indian jambiya...made of different marts
the hilt is good & old, the blade is recent
Sorry



Hello Kubur,

While you may be right about the hilt and the sheath, I am certain you are wrong, very wrong, about the blade.


I have many wootz blades, many etched myself, that show exactly the same type of local fading you highlighted on this blade.

The blade is Wootz all right in its finest form!

Moreover, the lobed pommel doesn't look very Arabic to me but much more Indian, as I saw several Tiger Tooth Daggers with pommels somehow similar to this one.

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 11th January 2018 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 11th January 2018, 03:40 PM   #7
Ian
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Good to see the divergent and spirited discussion on this interesting piece. Perhaps a few more of our Indo-Persian experts might like to comment on this one.

Ian
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Old 11th January 2018, 08:15 PM   #8
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G'day Guys,

Thanks for your comments.

Kubur, when you have the jambiya in hand you can see the wootz is definitely real and the scabbard is old.

The hilt does have three lobes similar to tiger tooth jambiyas, but the overall form is different. The guy I bought this from said he associates this type of hilt with Kalimantan, Indonesia. Can anyone else back this up?

Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 12th January 2018, 02:06 AM   #9
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Nothing new about this piece. The blade is definitely wootz. The spots where the pattern is gone is where the edges were probably heat treated and not perfectly controlled causing the pattern to burn out. The contrast and depth of pattern rules out any artificial method. The scabbard shows extensive wear on the side worn against the body and the fabric exhibits a good bit of fading. I would call the hilt style Indo-Arab, maybe Hyderabad, with a funky replaced side. The ivory has a nice mellow patina and is old. The white metal mounts were probably a late 19th to early 20th century “fix” for a missing grip slab. Whether done in its working life or in a late 19th, early 20th century bazaar is anyone’s guess.
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Old 12th January 2018, 04:07 AM   #10
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Agree about the blade: first class!
Also agree on the metal repair of the handle.

The scabbard is obviously not original: too poor for the dagger. But it is this jambiya’s fourth or fifths one.

Overall, very good and old piece with many attempts to preserve it for actual use.
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Old 12th January 2018, 11:27 AM   #11
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never too late to learn!
I was really convinced that this blade was too good to be true...

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Old 12th January 2018, 05:21 PM   #12
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Bryce,

Seems as though you have an excellent older piece here. Congratulations!

Ian
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Old 12th January 2018, 06:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryce
The guy I bought this from said he associates this type of hilt with Kalimantan, Indonesia. Can anyone else back this up?


Hello Bryce,

there are jambiyas found on Muslim parts of Borneo but frankly said I've never seen one from there with wootz.

One word regarding the fading, it's located at the sharp bend from the blade and at the edge and I believe that this caused by strong and heavy beating by the forging process.

And do you know from which sort of ivory the handle is carved? I don't think that it's elephant ivory.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 12th January 2018, 07:32 PM   #14
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Sometimes these are made of hippo ivory.

Last edited by Battara : 12th January 2018 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 12th January 2018, 07:56 PM   #15
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Look more like walrus ivory to my eyes but I am unsure and ask Bryce.
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Old 13th January 2018, 04:00 AM   #16
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G'day Guys,

Unfortunately I am no expert on ivory. I had always assumed it was elephant. I am curious as to what it is that you guys have seen that makes you think it isn't elephant.

After a quick internet swat I think it is elephant as it has schreger lines. They are easy to see with the naked eye, but very difficult to photograph. You can just about see them on the lower lobe in the photo below. From the angles produced it almost looks like mammoth ivory?

With the help of the torch, I can see that the ivory behind the metal plate, although fractured appears to be all there.

Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 13th January 2018, 06:34 AM   #17
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Hi Bryce,

Sounds like you have elephant ivory. I don't know how experienced you are as a photographer, but your picture seems to have too bright a light source to see anything in cross section. Looks like you took it in direct sunlight. I would suggest that you take a picture in even light and without a flash. Then use an image editing program such as Photoshop (or even Preview if you have a Mac) to adjust the exposure, contrast, saturation, etc. until you have an image that shows the lines to your satisfaction. I've found the "sharpen" feature in these programs can be very helpful for displaying Schreger lines and other fine details.

Ian.
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Old 13th January 2018, 09:10 PM   #18
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G'day Ian,

I am a hopeless photographer, so all advice is gratefully accepted.

Here are a few more shots of the hilt.

Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 13th January 2018, 09:12 PM   #19
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I agree, these new pictures look like elephant (not mammoth) ivory.
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Old 13th January 2018, 09:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I agree, these new pictures look like elephant (not mammoth) ivory.


Yes, I agree as well!
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