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Old 10th September 2006, 09:35 PM   #1
TVV
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Default Omani Kattara for dicussion

First, let me start by expressing my thanks to Tim Simmons, without whose help I would have probably never acquired this sword. I won it on eBay and had some problems with the seller in Great Britain, but Tim helped to solve them.
Finally it arrived yesterday and after a lot of cleaning here are some pictures. I believe the blade is European, as the fullering is too smooth and uniform for a native made blade and as there is some foliage engraving on both sides at the base of the blade, of which traces remain. Unfortubately someone has overpolished the blade and most of the engravings are now gone, making it probably impossible to pinpoint its origin and age.
The hilt and scabbard I think are quite recent, or at least so is the leather covering them. The scabbard does not have any suspension fittings on it, and I guess they were lost when its leather was replaced. My guess is that the blade is 19th century and the rest late 20th century.
Would love to hear your opinions on this one.

Regards,

Teodor
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Old 10th September 2006, 09:59 PM   #2
S.Al-Anizi
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Congratulations TV, a nice sword indeed. I have a few comments on the blade, firstly, these tri-fullered blades are very common locally, and most newly made swords over here (quality ones, not the junk made in syria), are tri-fullered, with engravings such as snakes, stars, and half moons, no doubt copies of old blades. As for a sabre kattara, I would agree with you, this is most likely an imported blade, as local blades were/are made straight, and double edged, all sabre kattaras ive seen have imported blades.

Hilt and scabbard leather covering was/is often replaced if too damaged, a straight kattara ive been eyeing for a few months now has a very old blade, with excellent patina, yet with new leather covering, which in turn lost it its suspension rings. The only way to know how old the scabbard and hilt truly are, is by looking at the wood. Take a peek inside the scabbard, or under the hilt leather and see how the wood looks like.
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Old 10th September 2006, 10:21 PM   #3
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Saqr, thanks a lot for your comments. I cannot really see inside the scabbard, but the hilt is constructed of two pieces of wood, with leather lining between them and the tang, and then bound together with wire, over which the leather has been stretched and sewn with a seam on the back. I have no doubt that the cover leather is quite new, and as for the wood, it looks old and patinated, so it might be the original hilt with new leather.
Do you know (or perhaps you wonder just as I do, looking at your thread about Omani seifs), when was the switch in preferences made from broadswords to sabre blades? And why did Omanis import sabre blades all the way from Central Europe, instead of Persia or India for example?
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Old 10th September 2006, 10:39 PM   #4
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As far as I know, quite a lot of the curved ones are Indian. Elgood mentions that in the second half of the 19th century there was a massive influx of Caucasian shashka blades. I wonder whether "European" incisions are in fact Caucasian .
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Old 10th September 2006, 11:08 PM   #5
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The change from broadswords to sabres in arab swords began in the 14th century. Although that didnt seem to affect Oman and Yemen, which only began to switch in the late 18th century.
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Old 10th September 2006, 11:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
As far as I know, quite a lot of the curved ones are Indian. Elgood mentions that in the second half of the 19th century there was a massive influx of Caucasian shashka blades. I wonder whether "European" incisions are in fact Caucasian .


Ariel,

Elgood says, and I totally agree with him, that most curved blades on Kaskara's were caucasian imports.

EDIT: Where did I get kaskara's from, probably from lack of sleep. I meant kattara's.

Last edited by S.Al-Anizi : 11th September 2006 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 10th September 2006, 11:51 PM   #7
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Viery nice, I've seen many photos of these blades on Kattara from Zanzibar. There are also Nimcha with similar blades and I once had Yemeni saif with a blade like this.
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