Mecca jambiya
Overall length

Sheathed 33.2 cm

Dagger 31.2 cm

Blade length

19.2 cm

Weight without scabbard

270 grams

Origin

Arabian Peninsula

Probably Medina or Mecca

Dating

Early 20th century

Materials

Brass, silver, wood, velvet, leather

Provenance

From a German collector

Price €650, -

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Introduction

Jambiya in this style are often associated with the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Defining features of the genre are the T-shaped hilt, a deeply curved scabbard with a large bud-shaped finial, and a diagonal plate on the front of the scabbard that holds suspension rings on either side. The rings are placed closer to the hilt on the right for a diagonal suspension.

But is it from Mecca? The only example that I know of that has a place of manufacture on it is from Medina, Metropolitan Museum accession number 31.35.1a–c. Many Muslims would have passed by Medina on their way to Mecca, and Medina itself is a holy city as well. We can at least safely say that these were and are made on the western side of the Arabian peninsula.

Lawrence of Arabia famously wore this style of jambiya as well. One of his daggers got auctioned by Christie's for £122,500. It was purchased by The National Army Museum which houses it today.

 

Lawrence of Arabia 1917

Lawrence of Arabia with his dagger in 1917.

 

This example

A Mecca style Jambiya of the early 20th century with characteristic T-shaped hilt. The wide, curved blade with a pronounced rounded "spine" that runs through the middle of the blade from base to tip.

Scabbard and hilt are covered with silver plated brass. The hilt is decorated with applied silver wire and beads. The scabbard with different bands of braided wire, beads and a series of applied squares at the mouth. The  main scabbard has a pronounced center ridge with pierced borders. At the end is a large bud-shaped finial.

 

Condition

A dent to the side of the T-shaped pommel. Silver plating mostly worn on scabbard, some soldered repairs. Leather at the back in comparatively good shape, probably replaced at some point. 

Mecca style jambiya
Mecca style jambiya
Mecca style jambiya
Mecca style jambiya
Mecca style jambiya
Mecca style jambiya
Mecca style jambiya

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