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Old 14th August 2015, 10:33 AM   #1
Belgian1
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Default Arabo-Ottoman sword

Hello to all members.

Can you help me to learn more about this "nice" saber that i've find 1 month weeks ago in a flea market in " La Louvière / Belgium ".
The flexible blade is marked (European mark may be). The handle appears to be rhino horn and silver. Traces of red lacquer in the etched silver patterns. the scabbard is in wood covered with skin. I seem to be in good condition. The rope is faded but it was red and blue.
93 cm long for all
68,8 cm long for the blade

Thank you for your help and see you soon
Fabrice
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Old 14th August 2015, 05:09 PM   #2
Ian
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Thumbs up Good find

Belgian1:

Welcome to the Forum.

That is a nice looking nimcha that you have shown--a nice find at a flea market.

Would you also post a picture of the complete sword outside of the scabbard. That will help the experts on this Forum to better identify its origins and style.

Ian.
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Old 14th August 2015, 05:32 PM   #3
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Hi Fabrice
It's a very beautiful so-called sword from Zanzibar...
Really cool
Best,
Kubur
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Old 14th August 2015, 07:08 PM   #4
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Hi Fabrice, and welcome to the Forum.
A VERY nice NIMCHA sword. Not necessarily from Zanzibar. The so called "Zanzibar" Nimcha usually has a D shaped "guard" as shown here.
Stu
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Old 14th August 2015, 07:13 PM   #5
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Hello to all, from Belgium :-)

I hope that this pictures can help you

Merci beaucoup Ian and Kubur :-)
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Old 14th August 2015, 07:53 PM   #6
Battara
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I was thinking your wonderful example comes from Morocco.
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Old 14th August 2015, 08:45 PM   #7
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Arab / Zanzibar
You have two kind of guards with ring or the Persian style.
More important are the grip and scabbard...
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...hlight=zanzibar
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Old 14th August 2015, 10:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I was thinking your wonderful example comes from Morocco.


I too believe this is from the northern African Coast through to Tunisia.

The variation of the hilt shape, the type of quillons and the presence of coral all point to Tunisia for me.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showp...523&postcount=1

Gavin
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Old 15th August 2015, 08:05 AM   #9
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Hello to all members.
Thank you very much for your comments and link.

Is there a rapprochement with the Zanzibar type swords.
Do you have any idea why this handle rhinoceros horn and silver.
Rhino horn was it not for a fortunate elite?

see you soon
Fabrice
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Old 15th August 2015, 02:38 PM   #10
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a lovely and complete example. The silverwork is very similar to Omani style, thus makes me lean towards the Zanzibar suggestion.

Gav, that photo seems very orientalist in style... makes you wonder if its not made up :-)
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Old 15th August 2015, 03:33 PM   #11
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The cord makes me think of North Africa.
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Old 15th August 2015, 04:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordsAntiqueWeapons
I too believe this is from the northern African Coast through to Tunisia.

The variation of the hilt shape, the type of quillons and the presence of coral all point to Tunisia for me.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showp...523&postcount=1

Gavin


Hi Gavin,
Your photograph is an Orientalist photograph not an ethnographic photo.
Orientalist photos and paintings are useful to see the weapons but not really to seek their origins. This photo is a classic Palace or Harem guard. Some guards have Zanzibari saif with Caucasian pistol and Algerian flyssa... Have a look at the Orientalist painting that I posted in your inquiry for Syrian silver work, it's the same, a huge mix.... Best, Kubur
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Old 15th August 2015, 04:13 PM   #13
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Fabrice:

Can you say a little more about why you think this hilt is made from rhino horn?

Ian

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belgian1
Hello to all members.
Thank you very much for your comments and link.

Is there a rapprochement with the Zanzibar type swords.
Do you have any idea why this handle rhinoceros horn and silver.
Rhino horn was it not for a fortunate elite?

see you soon
Fabrice
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Old 15th August 2015, 04:15 PM   #14
Gavin Nugent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi Gavin,
Your photograph is an Orientalist photograph not an ethnographic photo.
Orientalist photos and paintings are useful to see the weapons but not really to seek their origins. This photo is a classic Palace or Harem guard. Some guards have Zanzibari saif with Caucasian pistol and Algerian flyssa... Have a look at the Orientalist painting that I posted in your inquiry for Syrian silver work, it's the same, a huge mix.... Best, Kubur


So little is actually known about the photo...of course it is "staged" as photos of the day where not largely instant as they are today but staged with what accuracy is not fully known. All aspects of the image may actually be true and within context under the Orientalists lens rather than brush. I cannot locate a series of photos of the sword and subject matter noted as being from else where so it is likely, based on the historical references of the photo archives I see no reason to doubt it.

http://www.spaarnestadphoto.nl/comp...esultRecord,12/

Gavin
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Old 15th August 2015, 06:42 PM   #15
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belgian1
Hello to all members.

Can you help me to learn more about this "nice" saber that i've find 1 month weeks ago in a flea market in " La Louvière / Belgium ".
The flexible blade is marked (European mark may be). The handle appears to be rhino horn and silver. Traces of red lacquer in the etched silver patterns. the scabbard is in wood covered with skin. I seem to be in good condition. The rope is faded but it was red and blue.
93 cm long for all
68,8 cm long for the blade

Thank you for your help and see you soon
Fabrice

Hi Belgian
Wellcome Great item I am most envious. I have a Kaskara with what looks like the same makers mark that is on the blade of your Nimcha. I have been trying to discover who used this mark without success to date. There are some that are close but not quite the same, I wonder if any of the forum members can help in identifying it ? Thanks for sharing it with us.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 15th August 2015, 09:36 PM   #16
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North African, possibely Algeria or Tunisia. Note a similar one (fitted with an earlier cutlass blade, and a plain guard), from the captured weapon section in the Palace Armoury of Malta.
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Old 16th August 2015, 04:08 PM   #17
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Salaams all, The question sometimes arises where is this sword from ...and to answer that Kubur illustrates a great reference...see #7 of http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...hlight=zanzibar The decoration to the African Comb and that of the Hilt are very similar...pointing to Zanzibar as the point of decoration.

For BUTINS CHART view #26 at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...+zanzibar+yemen

Butin indicates that not all Zanzibari hilts had the D guard ...but that when a D guard appears it can be assumed that it is Zanzibari....Readers should see Butins chart at my reference above as there are many Zanzibari varieties and close cousins including Saudia and Yemeni variants.


Having said that there are obvious indicators of North African in the project sword ...The Cord and the coral indicate that region ...and the examples of the Maltese Museum are well received.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 17th August 2015 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 17th August 2015, 08:16 AM   #18
Belgian1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Fabrice:

Can you say a little more about why you think this hilt is made from rhino horn?

Ian


Hello Ian, Hello to all members and a big thank you for your comments and your interest about this "enigmatic" sword :-)

The handle seems rhinoceros horn because its fiber had the characteristics of this very special material (fortunately the species is protected today).

I'm "almost sure" that it is rhino horn. Do you think it is not possible for this type of sword or have you another suposition ?
Thank you for your interest.

Have a good day and see you soon
Fabrice
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Old 17th August 2015, 08:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams all, The question sometimes arises where is this sword from ...and to answer that Kubur illustrates a great reference...see #7 of http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...hlight=zanzibar The decoration to the African Comb and that of the Hilt are very similar...pointing to Zanzibar as the point of decoration.

For BUTINS CHART view #26 at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...+zanzibar+yemen

Butin indicates that not all Zanzibari hilts had the D guard ...but that when a D guard appears it can be assumed that it is Zanzibari....Readers should see Butins chart at my reference above as there are many Zanzibari varieties and close cousins including Saudia and Yemeni variants.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.


Good morning Mr al Balooshi.
Thank you to send me back to the Buttin illustration which I think recognizing the No. 1004 with its similar scabbard.
Thank you again for your intervention.
See you soon
Fabrice
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Old 19th August 2015, 06:56 PM   #20
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Actually these fascinating sabres with this characteristic type hilt and the guard system with downturned quillons are of an apparently broadly represented form which are from 'Arab' regions and cannot be classified to a specific one aside from based on individual merits of each example.

The plates in Buttin (1933) illustrate numerous examples of this spectrum of examples of these sabres, which are invariably captioned as Arab swords, sa'if, by him in his text. He has identified them with date ranges as early as end of 16th century and through 18th, but no specific identification toward a 'Zanzibar' attribution is made, and particularly not with reference to the noted 'ring' projection from the guard. This in my opinion is a European influenced element which appears to have derived from developing rapier guards in Italy, and has been added to the guard system which had already evolved from other Italian forms earlier (16th century as noted) .

In my opinion, the 'Zanzibar' attribution derived from probable misassociation from individuals who read text in the Buttin reference regarding actually items numbered 1032 and 1033 (plate XXXI). These were pogniards which had been classified in error by Burton (1884) to Zanzibar, following an earlier error by Demmin (1877). In actuality these were s'boula daggers from Morocco (as well known by Buttin from his many years there), and he well footnoted detail in his 1933 catalog. Unfortunately this detail toward the 'Zanzibar' issue with these daggers was footnoted on the same page as sa'if #1034 (plate XXXI) which coincidentally HAD the noted ring on the guard.....and directly below the text.

While such a simple and unfortunate proximity error could result in such a broadly noted assumption seems almost bizarre, but as can be seen, this is how arms lore becomes legion.

I think Ibrahiim well illustrated how one example with apparently distinct decorative motif can isolate in degree, and by singular merit, at least one of these sabres to likely Zanzibar provenance by using the comb's motif compared to the grip on the example.

As far as the broader spectrum of these hilts, I think that the Arab denominator and sa'if works best, and that examples should be classified based on specific qualifiers such as motif or any other distinguishing elements attributable to certain areas or cultures.

With note to the related etymological dispute over the term 'nimcha' which has become standard collectors nomenclature for these sabres as Moroccan, this has been well explained by Louis-Pierre some years ago as a dialectic variation essentially meaning 'small' or 'half' sword. This apparently may have come from, once again, association with the shorter, flared tip examples with these kinds of hilts (993.994.995, plate XXX) which were indeed of cutlass form, but are classified only as Arabian sa'if. While it is tempting of course to associate these with nautical weapons by the size and form of blade, this can only be a presumption unless otherwise proven (such as examples from Malta shown by Broadaxe in #16, which are of course likely from maritime use).

The 'dragonhead' terminals are traditionally regarded as of Ottoman influence. As noted the cord is typically associated with North African mounting affectation (i.e koummya and others).
The mark at blade forte seems to be more of a 'chop' mark which may emulate the well known European 'twig' type marks often seen on Italian and Styrian blades.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 19th August 2015 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 26th August 2015, 06:41 PM   #21
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Salaams Jim, Thank you for the excellent precis and update on these Nimchas...and for showing in detail the mistakes perpetrated by the various authors on these and associated weapons... Indeed it is a shock to discover in Burton the S'boula and the Omani dancing saif on the same page and noted by Burton in his "Book of Swords" as Zanzibari..!!

As you point out the gold and Ivory worked comb clue looks reasonable as pointing to Zanzibar on the subject of the fancy hilt at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...&highlight=comb

I am sure that the original source of this style of sword is somewhere in the Mediterranean and its influence on Algerian and Moroccan variants is huge. Its style in the Malta museum is very much a ships cutlass style and it would be easy to see how a weapon like that became favoured in other Island situations such as Zanzibar.

The transition from Morocco / Mediterranean shores to Zanzibar is understandable either via Spanish or Portuguese explorers though I have not as yet seen a precise proof other than the fact of the sword itself !!...Certainly the Omani/Zanzibari VIP tradition of wearing the Ivory and Gold hilted style is known and seen at the same reference in the typical Omani Scabbard. It occurred to me that the more plain hilt was some sort of military issue probably Navy...but I still have no proof yet.
The story continues.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 29th August 2015, 09:05 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belgian1
Hello to all members.

Can you help me to learn more about this "nice" saber that i've find 1 month weeks ago in a flea market in " La Louvière / Belgium ".
The flexible blade is marked (European mark may be). The handle appears to be rhino horn and silver. Traces of red lacquer in the etched silver patterns. the scabbard is in wood covered with skin. I seem to be in good condition. The rope is faded but it was red and blue.
93 cm long for all
68,8 cm long for the blade

Thank you for your help and see you soon
Fabrice



Salaams Belgian 1 The mark on the blade... Oddly enough this is a very similar mark to the Omani Emblem but is in my opinion not related at all...since it is ...I believe ....the fly mark (or twig mark) seen on European blades and seen at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=anthony+North

I recall this mark being attributable to Peter Cull... Wheres Jim?.... although a lot of marks were also copied or used by a lot of different craftsmen ..

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 30th August 2015 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 30th August 2015, 02:09 PM   #23
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For interest see http://www.egyptsearch.com/forums/u...=8;t=008949;p=1 for further examples of the Moroccan/North African weapon for comparison...
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Old 31st August 2015, 09:30 PM   #24
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See Library for another important linkage on these weapons at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...&highlight=noth The details on Nimcha cuts in at #57 but there are important other associated details all over that thread...
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Old 2nd September 2015, 08:40 AM   #25
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The Nimcha style was certainly popular ..Here is Tobias Blose from Islamic Arms by the late Anthony North. Blose was an officer in the Trained Bands Of London ..
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Old 2nd September 2015, 05:36 PM   #26
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Lovely sword Belgian, and fabulous info everyone
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