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OMANI JAMBIYA

Place of Origin: OMAN

Date: Late 19th - Early 20th Century

Overall: 340mm (13 ½ inches)

Reference: 312

Status: Reserved

Full Description:

The hilt of the dagger is encased in sheet silver and features a typical two-pronged pommel, each of the two protrusions fitted with beaded dome caps and the pommel attached at its centre on one face with a stud framed by concentric beaded circles as well as a circular series of twice-lobed silver pieces perhaps intended to resemble flower petals (a pattern repeated over the grip of the hilt), this arrangement reappearing on the other face but furthermore set within a beaded raindrop frame.

Further lines of twisted silver wire wrap around the body of the scabbard, first used to create a panel of concentric squares, at the centre of which is a spirally fluted stud. The central section of the scabbard’s surface, however, is covered with tightly woven lines of thread in gold, red, and orange. Five silver rings positioned over the scabbard’s threaded surface are then interconnected with woven silver wire which further links to larger rings for attachment to the scabbard’s belt. Comprised of the same thread as that which covers the scabbard, the belt depicts a central band containing geometric designs typically found on other examples of Omani jambiya, bordered on each side by more densely woven rows of brown chevrons. The scabbard’s chape is decorated with further geometric silverwork comprising a central panel of silver studs set at the angles of a kite-shaped frame and concentric trapezoid panels with silver beaded edges. The hilt is fitted with a curved steel blade of typical form, with a pronounced medial ridge along its full length.

A similar example is published in Gracie’s important work on the subject of Arabian daggers,[1] and a striking image in Elgood’s slightly broader book on the various weapon types and styles of Arabia features a striking and instructive image of Omani jambiyas.[2]


[1] Stephen Gracie, Daggers from the Ancient Souqs of Yemen, 2010, pp. 164-165.

[2] Robert Elgood, Arms and Armour of Arabia in the 18th-19th and 20th Centuries, Scolar Press, 1994, p. 81.