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Old 28th August 2016, 11:29 PM   #1
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Default THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MOROCCAN AND A ZANZIBARI NIMCHA.

What is the difference between a Weazle and a Stoat?

"The Weazle is (W)easily distinguishable from a Stoat which is (S)toatally different".

Regarding Nimcha of Morocco and Zanzibar it isn't so easy... They look the same and often have virtually identical Hilts.....The blades are difficult to separate...The hilts are both often made of Rhino...So what is the difference?

It occured to me that we often look at the wrong parts to decide which is what?...

My description of the Moroccan style would be; Hilt often Rhino with quillons ending in bud form Ring at base of Hilt sometimes enamel. Blade European sometimes locally struck with a cross stamp and with other marks including moon / moons and other German strikes...Blade sometimes clipped. Scabbard if present ornate sometimes completely decorated in Arabesque and occasionally enamel.. And one more thing... on top of the pommel a stud holding the hilt secure on the blade...a rounded stud usually.

The Zanzibari Nimcha with Nimcha hilt and blade which are almost identical though blade tips are not clipped. Base ring usually not ornately decorated in enamel or arabesques . The Quillons usually ending in open mouthed Yali or serpents..The scabbard if present usually plain and often in the Omani leather style with sworls designed onto the leather.... Occasionally with a Dee Ring. Some, but not all, quillons decorated with rows of dots and back to back R shapes... and on top of the pommels a Turtle!!

Now its your turn... Sort out this lot below !!
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Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi; 28th August 2016 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 29th August 2016, 05:45 AM   #2
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Salaams Ibrahiim,
Well it's quiz time so here are my answers, right or wrong.....
Before I give my 2 cents worth there is another feature which (generally) appears on the Zanzibari Nimcha, and that is the down turned hilt. The Moroccan version is usually straight in my experience.
OK so to the answers......
From the top as the pics appear:
Zanzibar
Next 4 pics Moroccan except #023 which I am not sure about.
Zanzibar
Morocco
Zanzibar
Morocco
Last 3 pics Zanzibar
Hope I have the answers in the right order.
Will be interesting top see what others think..........................
Stu
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Old 29th August 2016, 09:09 AM   #3
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Good Morning ,

this nimcha is from Algeria,
18 century, perhaps even earlier.

Kurt
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Old 29th August 2016, 08:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt
Good Morning ,

this nimcha is from Algeria,
18 century, perhaps even earlier.

Kurt
Is he correct?

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Old 30th August 2016, 09:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Is he correct?
See Anthony North "Islamic Arms"
Figure 20 + 22b
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Old 30th August 2016, 01:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt
Good Morning ,

this nimcha is from Algeria,
18 century, perhaps even earlier.

Kurt
I think so, too. This kind is likely to be a corsair sword (according to length and blade shape), minding that most of that region economy at that era was based upon piracy.
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Old 30th August 2016, 11:22 PM   #7
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Yes the Tobias Blose as well as the Nimcha taken in an encounter in the Mediterranean are both recorded by me in earlier threads. In terms of the Algerian Nimcha I also threw that one in and you are right Algerian though I actually wanted to find a clossonne example which I know I put on Library..or saw in Library...but it doesnt work... Engineers trying to access...
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Old 31st August 2016, 01:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadaxe
I think so, too. This kind is likely to be a corsair sword (according to length and blade shape), minding that most of that region economy at that era was based upon piracy.
Yes I recall doing that as a post earlier and I think he ran the opponent through and took his sword...Swashbuckling stuff!! The local economy certainly benefited from piracy although much of it was done on land I understand..
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Old 31st August 2016, 02:18 AM   #9
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There are 3 good charts from Butin; It can be seen that the charts are somewhat confusing since some Omani sword weapons are mixed with the wrong chart and the author calls one chart ARABIE...and another MAROC....but the displayed weapons argue with that nomenclature...ie they are bit mixed up . Having said that it is easy to unscramble and Butin takes his place at the top of the Ethnographic weapons specialty where he is greatly admired.

There is a separate chart(Diverse Oriental Armes) for what are almost odd men out including Sri Lankan and Yatagan styles and also in the same chart are those Ivory Hilts of Oman and Zanzibar with gold round and leaf shaped decorations. Another key appears however, in the shape of the Omani Scabbard with round sworls crafted into the leather.

Regarding the astute observation by Stu earlier ; It can be seen that the Moroccan form does indeed have a more upright facing pommel and the Zanzibar form more points downward.

Members have noted privately that the Zanzibar type has a ring guard whereas the Moroccan does not... This is not the case; Some Zanzibar Nimcha do have the ring guard but there are those that have none whereas I have never seen a ring guard on Moroccan Nimchas.

As a connected thread see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...zanzibar+yemen which makes the position clearer.
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Old 29th August 2016, 09:13 PM   #10
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any more??
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Old 30th August 2016, 09:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
any more??
See Robert Hales " Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armer
Figure 584
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Old 29th August 2016, 09:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Salaams Ibrahiim,
Well it's quiz time so here are my answers, right or wrong.....
Before I give my 2 cents worth there is another feature which (generally) appears on the Zanzibari Nimcha, and that is the down turned hilt. The Moroccan version is usually straight in my experience.
OK so to the answers......
From the top as the pics appear:
Zanzibar
Next 4 pics Moroccan except #023 which I am not sure about.
Zanzibar
Morocco
Zanzibar
Morocco
Last 3 pics Zanzibar
Hope I have the answers in the right order.
Will be interesting top see what others think..........................
Stu
Here is a proposal that the hilt on Moroccan Nimcha is not so pronounced a turn down in shape...Excellent point well placed...
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Old 29th August 2016, 09:54 PM   #13
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As a quick warm up simply place the following pictures as to where are they from...and on viewing the big coloured Sri Lasnkan picture of 3 Kastane comment if you think they may be relevant to Nimcha style...
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Old 29th August 2016, 01:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Moroccan style ... on top of the pommel a stud holding the hilt secure on the blade...a rounded stud usually.

The Zanzibari Nimcha ... and on top of the pommels a Turtle!!
Consistent with my examples.
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Old 29th August 2016, 09:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
Consistent with my examples.
Is this right?? Any comments?

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi; 29th August 2016 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 30th August 2016, 09:22 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Is this right?? Any comments?

See Anthony North "Islamic Arms"
Figure 20 + 22b
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Old 16th February 2024, 12:39 AM   #17
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Default Design movement across the Indian Ocean.

I wanted to bump this thread so it can be easily refered to on looking at design features and with detail on sword style movement across the Indian Ocean and beyond...

And as a gentle bump to bring this thread into focuss with details being looked at in other related work including Nimcha, Moplah, Karabela, Kasthane, as well as Moroccan, North African and Ottoman variants etc...

It should be noted that "The Pirate Coast" by Sir Charles Belgrave (1966) on page 189 reminds us that it was the Pirate situation in and around The Indian Ocean which was vitally important to controlling the waves in the region 150 years before he published his book The Pirate Coast in the mid 1960s... thus it is reasonable to assume that Piracy was an important influence on sword design style across the region. ADDED To that it is likely that Slavery was a root cause in turbo charging sword design and movement to and from the great entre ports such as Zanzibar thus the reign of Oman over that part of the globe through Saaid The Great is instrumental in our understanding in that regard...

One specific style that hardly seemed to exist prior to his rule is what we know as the Nimcha...however this is not what the local people called it. In Oman for example this was and is still known as Habashi or Hibashi... and is well illustrated by Butin (but incorrectly named) in his charts of swords in this thread. Butin does however draw very accurately the broader end section of about 12 inches to the tip which closely resembles the Moplah form from the Malibar Coast.. The chart showing this broader Yelman is at thread top right and left of his chart at xxx1
...
As a conundrum the similarity with the Moroccan Nimcha is quite uncanny... and in the case of the link to swords of the Great Bands of London and from a book I read by the late Anthony North and carried on the waist of Thomas Blose ...A Captain of that era... (this seems to be related to the Moroccan form) further amazing is the likeness in hilt form and quillons to an Ottoman style however what the link is between African and Arabian forms is a little foggy to say the least except to say somewhat blandly that the styles are essentially related across frontiers loosely by trade, exploration and war to which I would add religion and slavery...

My aim in this post is to commence the launch of a series of thoughts by taking the Zanzibari Nimcha design feature one by one to see where influence from whatever source can be identified...

Thus I will open with the Scabbard... which is identified as Omani Style with distinctive leather sworls in a circular design seen on Omani Sayf and Kittara scabbards... identical and not seen on other nations scabbards.

Post 16 above and other pictures dotted around on this thread show many similarities in Nimcha design both types given a sort of grouping by Butin into African and Arabian types with charts again shown at thread and interestingly showing the broader Yelaman on Chart xxx11.Top right and Left. It is suggested and in support of Jims research that this is Moplah influence from across the Indian Ocean on the Malibar Coast..

Who gave the name Nimcha to this weapon? Butin seems to have taken the view that these were all Nimcha types but we know that none of the local peoples called them Nimcha...a term perhaps coined after the short coat ...or waist coat of the Baluchi mercenaries working for Saaiid The Great in the Indian Ocean. Omanis call the type Habashi. Nimcha seems to be a collectors name.

The main hilt shape appears to be very similar to the Turkish Palash style including the general format of the grip pommel and cross guard knuckle guard and turned down quillons but with a much less broad blade which in the Turkish type is a massive cleaver like blade. See thread for examples.

Hilt design also includes a more lavish expertise known to have been iused by artesans in Zanzibar in the art of Ivory adornment usually seen on hand held mirrors and illustrated on the hilt seen here at post. The style is also shown on thread of a mirror from Zanzibar in that style. I wouild expect this to adorn a VIP or rulers sword or an important trader or sea captain. See also how this hilt has spread to places in the Indian Ocean by viewing a similar hilt from the New Caledonia Islands...
at Thread. Post 64.....
From gravure tirée de l'Illustration, 1891,
le sultan Said Athmann, chef des rebelles d'Anjoun,
interné en Nouvelle-Calédonie.


Atop the Zanzibar pommel is a turtle which is the same type as lives around the tropical Island of Zanzibar...thus is a signature design feature of the location...and suggests something related to Oceans and or Sailing?and related to Zanzibar.

A Royal Insignia...!!!! Next is a quite remarkable signature feature representing the signature of HM Saaiid The Great himself ...See picture below for exact example and details of the entire hilt... On thread is the signature of the ruler and further there is an Omani sword hilt with this kriss cross format which is what I suggest also a basic signature
using silver stiching ofdten seen on Omani Sayf and Kittara swords hilts...and repeated on Khanjar belts....... and view the sword makers effort in reproducing a follow the dots style of design. This is accurate insofar as down to the minute blemishes seemingly tiny floral decoration possibly inspired by the herbs growing on Zanzibar...between the letters which are of course in Arabic... read from right to left and done geometrically on each quillon ...The quillon of the edged cutting blade under the knuckle guard is the correct one to read and at thread is an almost exact perfect example of the Rulers signature at least in part..

For the reasons above I place this post proving the Zanzibari Oman nature of this weapon and underpin its Zanzibari origin because of the design style including the Turtle format above the Pommel,the lavish Ivory Zanzibar adornment on some Nimcha and the Omani Origin of the leather scabbard...on I suggest a formal, regimental sword probably Omani Zanzibari Naval by definition and a weapon made up primarily through influence across the Indian Ocean...and Oman and carrying the Rulers signature on the Quillons..My initial thoughts on these words were that they spelled BAHR...which means SEA...but having looked at the rulers signature I would switch to that construct..

Peter Hudson.
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Old 16th February 2024, 01:03 PM   #18
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Peter thank you for bumping this thread here so perhaps it can coincide with the interesting results with the 'Arab Nimchas of the Pirate Coast' thread.
It seems there has been notable progress in advancing the general awareness and identification of these swords thanks to the valuable input from everyone who has contributed.

Thank you as well for itemizing the various elements, as these might be discussed and reviewed singly with the possible influences involved.
There are so many subtle symbolic religious and sometimes talismanic devices often incorporated with decoration that perhaps might provide support for more specific identifications.
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Old 16th February 2024, 08:03 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
Peter thank you for bumping this thread here so perhaps it can coincide with the interesting results with the 'Arab Nimchas of the Pirate Coast' thread.
It seems there has been notable progress in advancing the general awareness and identification of these swords thanks to the valuable input from everyone who has contributed.

Thank you as well for itemizing the various elements, as these might be discussed and reviewed singly with the possible influences involved.
There are so many subtle symbolic religious and sometimes talismanic devices often incorporated with decoration that perhaps might provide support for more specific identifications.
Thanks Jim, I note the book "The Pirate Coast" by Sir Charles Belgrave (1966) you first quoted is also available as a free electronic read on the web and it has much detail of the region. Being all about ocean and seagoing in the Indian Ocean I found it very informative. The thrust of sword style and design transfer was driven by all the usual factors and enhanced by Piracy. Regards, Peter Hudson.
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Old 22nd February 2024, 12:27 AM   #20
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Posts 19 and 24 and several others with partial details on the likely linkages across the Nimcha range including Butins charts (displaying nearly 50 Variants) are here on this thread...The Pallasch style of weapon is central to linking all Nimcha both Arabian and African to likely Ottoman origins particularly in hilt forms.
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Old 22nd February 2024, 12:59 PM   #21
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I wanted to bring together the strengths of both this thread and the thread close to its content Arab Cutlasses of the Pirate Coast ... thus bringing into focus the cross pollination in sword design in a region which developed its Lingua Franka as spoken arabic thus the many items and ways of life that were virtually the same and as well as of a very similar faith...In other words the CULTURAL aspects. In choosing just one additional technology ...that of the Lanteen Sail it states ...Arabs Used Lateen Sails for Muslim-led Fleets
The Arabs used the lateen sail thru the Copts, mostly the crewmen for Muslim-led fleets for centuries. It was the Arabs who developed the lateen sail. Later on, sailors used it in the Mediterranean. Only after the 14th century did the Atlantic and Baltic vessels switch to using the lateen sail. Northern Europe adapted to using the lateen sail in the Late Middle Ages.

Peter Hudson

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