Middle east & caucasus
A Magnificent Saudi Dagger Daharia From Hejaz / Asir with Important Provenance
Origin: Saudi Arabia
Date: Mid 19 C.
A magnificent jambiya dagger from south Saudi Arabia from Hejaz or Asir regions. This type of daggers where worn mounted horizontally or semi horizontally on the belt and they are mistakenly attributed to Wahhabi religious movement, but there is no real link to this connection. These were the common type of long daggers in the Hejaz and Asir regions in Saudi Arabia located in the west part of the Arabian peninsula along the coast of the Red Sea. Elgood in his book The Arms and Armor of Arabia mention that there were few types for these daggers. The better examples of Asir / Hejaz daggers, according to Elgood, have a curved silver scabbard that has a large bulbous decorative knob at the end. In the Northern parts of the Hejaz these daggers also known under the name Daharia.
The example exhibited here has a very good blade with a central rib and of a quality much better than the blades produced locally in the Arabian peninsula. It is forged from fine sham style watered steel. Most probably of Turkish origin and may be earlier to the dagger. The blade is densely inscribed in gold koftgari work and Arabic letters but probably in Turkish, on both sides of the blade and dated to 1122 (1710). Handle and scabbard are silver set with pierced and gilded silver panels and silver granulation work. This Daharia comes with its original leather belt decorated with silver and brass panels and leather cut patterns on blue velvet background.
Blade 11 1/2 inches (28cm). Total length 21 inches (54 cm). very good plus condition. An exceptional example, must have been made as a special order for a royalty / person of rank.
A note for the dating: Although dated to 1122 (1710 in the Gregorian calendar) we think it is a mid 19 C. item of quality.
Provenance: On loan to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, inv. no. 54-262.
For a similar dagger in shape Elgood the arms and Armor of arabia in the 18-19 and 20th centuries (1994) Pages 78-79
Price: On request
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