Inscribed Silver-Clad Jambiya with Bone Hilt with Gold Decoration
dated 1280 hijra (1863AD)
length: 33cm, width: 18cm, weight: 724g
This fine Yemeni jambiya dagger has a long, highly-curved scabbard profusely decorated with numerous bands of silver applique work. The hilt is of bone and is decorated with a band of silver with more decoration, and several embossed gold plaques. The back of the scabbard is lined with red leather. The blade is double-edged and of steel.
The blade and hilt fit well in the scabbard but not tightly. Hales (2013, p. 110) observes that in Yemen, silver scabbards were traded as a form of currency. Owners would retain the blade and hilt but if they needed funds they would sell of trade their scabbards, and acquire new or recycled scabbards when they were feeling more prosperous. Consequently, Yemeni daggers rarely seem to have their original scabbards.
The scabbard here is unusual for its Arabic inscription which includes a date of 1280 hijra or 1863AD.
Hales, R., Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime’s Passion, Robert Hale CI Ltd, 2013.Provenance:
UK art market
Inventory no.: 3103